Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The most recent poll I took on this blog asked, "Do you know how to walk through a DCF in an interview?". The results are as follows:

  • 13 People or 39% of you responded: YES

  • 7 People or 21% of you responded: KIND OF

  • 13 People or 39% of you responded: NOT AT ALL

If you are one of the 13 people who DO know how, that's awesome! Keep up the good work! For those of you who responded 'KIND OF' or 'NOT AT ALL', this is the blog post for you. Walking through a DCF or Discounted Cash Flow valuation should be second nature by the time you sit down in an investment bank to interview for a position with them. Below, I have written an easy outline to use that covers how to walk through a DCF in an interview. MEMORIZE THIS OUTLINE! Memorize every bullet point, every question, every formula, and know what everything means!!!

A trick to interviewing is to not tell the interviewer on the first try everything you know about a DCF. When you are initially asked this question, answer by giving the bullet points 1-4. This is your first level of knowledge. Now, the interviewer will ask you some follow up questions about the DCF and you will have more information to give them.

**It is important to note that if you had told the interviewer all you knew to begin with, then when they ask a follow up question it will be more technical and you will most likely not know the answer, which will increase the likelihood that you make a less than favorable impression and don't get the job.**

Next, you should notice the bullet points under each of the 4 sections. These are possible follow up questions you will be asked. Memorize these questions and the answers and you will be 'Golden' in your interview.

  • Walk me through a Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) valuation.

    1. Project out the Free Cash Flows (FCF) for a given period of time

      • How long should your project out the FCFs?
        • Typically is 5 to 10 years

      • Why would you choose 5 years vs. 10 years?
        • 5 years for more volatile companies, such as technology companies
        • 10 years for less volatile companies, such as industrial companies

      • How do you derive FCF?
        • FCF =
        • EBIT x (1 – Tax Rate)
        • + Depreciation and Amortization
        • - Capital Expenditures
        • - Net Increase in Working Capital: (Current Assets – Current Liabilities)

    2. Use a Terminal Value (TV) calculation on your final year FCF 5 or 10

      • Gordon Growth Model (also known as the Perpetual Growth Model)
        • (FCF,year 5 or 10)(1+g)
          (Discount rate (WACC) - g)

      • Multiples Method
        • (FCF, year 5 or 10) * Multiple
        • Multiple will vary based on each deal, industry, timing, etc...

    3. Discount the FCFs at some required rate of return

      • Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC)
        • WACC = [E /(D + E)]*CAPM + [D /(D + E)]*DebtInterestRate*(1 - T)
          • E = Equity Value
          • D = Debt Value
          • CAPM = Capital Asset Pricing Model
          • T = Tax Rate

      • Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM)
        • CAPM = rf + Beta*(rm - rf)
          • rf = Risk free interest rate (T-Bill rate)
          • Beta = stock volatility
          • rm - rf = excess market return

    4. Sum these discounted FCFs to get the Net Present Value (NPV)

    Pros of DCF
    • Produces the closest thing to intrinsic stock value
    • Relies on FCF, which are trustworthy because FCF cut through reported earning "guesstimates" and tracks the money left over for investors
    • Identifies where companies value is coming from and if current stock price is justified

    Cons of DCF
    • If assumptions are wrong/incorrect then the output will be inaccurate
    • Terminal Value calculation projects the FCF into the future at the same rate, which will clearly never happen
    • The debt to equity ratio is held constant in the WACC

    Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    Investment Banking Reference Guide - Downloadable!

    This is a great reference to have when looking for jobs. This document was sent to me by Shaurya. Thanks for sharing this Shaurya! There are a lot of great sample resumes in this document you should take a look at. It also contains sample interview questions, tips on preparing for your interviews. This pdf is downloadable from the Scribd website. The link is found here: Investment Banking Reference Guide

    Read this doc on Scribd: Investment Banking Reference Guide

    Friday, May 16, 2008


    Another important topic to know and understand is related to EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization).

    Interview Question: 'How do you calculate EBITDA?'

    First Way

    EBITDA = Revenue - Expenses (excluding interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization)


    Second Way

    - CoGs
    Gross Margins
    - Operating Expenses
    + DA (Depreciation & Amortization)

    Both of these calculations are done using the information provided on the Income Statement.

    Interview Question: 'Why is this number important?'

    "EBITDA can be used to analyze and compare profitability between companies and industries because it eliminates the effects of financing and accounting decisions. However, this is a non-GAAP measure that allows a greater amount of discretion as to what is (and is not) included in the calculation. This also means that companies often change the items included in their EBITDA calculation from one reporting period to the next." Source: Investopdedia

    This number is often confused with cash flow, but there are some very important differences. Thus, the key to remember is that EBITDA does not represent cash flow, but rather the profitability of a company. Read the following article found on Investopedia's website to get a more in-depth look at this calculation and some of its potential shortcomings: Challenging the Calculation

    Here is another source found on Wikipedia:
    Wikipedia: EBITDA


    Another important related interview question that is likely to follow is to 'Suggest a multiple you would use when valuing a company.' A great multiple to use is EV/EBITDA because it represents the cash a company has that is available to both debt and equity holders.

    Interview Question: What is EV and how do you calculate it?

    EV = Enterprise Value

    Enterprise Value = Market Cap + net debt (net debt = total debt - cash & equivalents)

    Check out this link to find out more about this important multiple: Wikipedia: EV/EBITDA

    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    Headhunters - Not Helpful For Undergrads

    Since I started this blog back in February, I have had a long list of headhunters for your reference on the front page of this blog. It has been determined after a lot of feedback from users, that this list of headhunters and headhunters in general, are more after experienced hires. They typically do not help recent college grads, especially since the credit crunch has forced the the layoffs of more than 40,000 people. (Related Article) The market is flooded with experienced hires that are worth more to their business.

    This blog is not aimed towards experienced hires, but towards college students (Undergrad and Grad), so I have taken down the list from the main page. But if you are still interested in having the list for future reference, here it is for your taking:

    NYC Headhunter Spreadsheet

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    The Treasury Stock Method

    Here is another interview question I was asked in my last interview: 'How do you calculate equity value using the Treasury Stock Method (TSM)?'


    Let's go over the answer to this question.

    This question relates specifically to one of the first steps of performing a Public Comparable Analysis. In this type of analysis the banker needs to Calculate Equity Value. There are typically two ways to do this.

    • Equity value = Share price x Shares outstanding

    • Treasury Stock Method, which also includes calculating options and their equivalents

    Note: Only in-the-money options are used when performing the TSM calculation. For an option to be in-the-money, the option's strike price must be less than the current stock price. When performing this calculation you are also assuming that a rational investor will exercise their in-the-money option, allowing them to make the 'spread'.

    Another assumption of the TSM is that the money the company makes by all holders exercising their in-the-money options will be used to buy back stock.

    So how do you perform the actual calculation?

    Steps to Calculate Equity Value Using the TSM

    STEP 1 ) Options proceeds = Exercise price x Options outstanding

    STEP 2 ) Shares repurchased = Options proceeds / Current stock price

    STEP 3 ) Diluted shares outstanding = Basic shares + In-the-money options - Shares repurchased under TSM

    STEP 4 ) Equity value = Diluted shares outstanding x Current stock price

    Memorize these 4 basic steps to perform this calculation, know and understand the assumptions, and you will be a star in your interview when you are asked this question.

    Here are some more links on this topic for your reference:

    Wikipedia: Treasury Stock Explained

    Investopedia: Treasury Stock Method

    Tuesday, May 13, 2008

    Investment Banking Interview Case Questions

    Here is a sample of case questions I was asked in an interview with a leading middle market full-service investment bank. In these case interviews you are asked to assume the role of an investment banker. What do you advise each client to do?

    1. Case 1: A client of yours owns 100% of his own business. It is worth $500M and would like to get some liquidity out of his company, but still wants to continue working. How do you advise your client to get the maximum valuation, while still retaining some ownership?

    2. Case 2: A public company is currently trading at it's 52 week low. The companies current quarterly reporting is on schedule with analyst's and management's predictions. The management team is looking to raise money to fund a project, which they believe will double the companies EBITDA. What options do you advise the company to pursue in order to raise the necessary capital?

    3. Case 3: Your client has a company, which manufactures and sells propellers and is preparing to sell the entire company. The company is comprised of three divisions: boat, air, and windmill propellers. The boat and air divisions comprise 80% of the company, while the windmill division makes up only 20%. The boat and air divisions are losing money, while the windmill division is making money, so the net effect of the company is to break even. What do you advise your client to do in order to help them sell their company at the best price (ie. best valuation)?

    Please post your comments to these case questions.

    Friday, May 9, 2008

    Networking 101

    In this post, I have put together some great articles I found online relating to networking. As you read through these articles focus on taking away one or two ideas to practice or start doing this week. The only way to get better is by practicing, so find ways to practice your networking skills.

    10 Tips for Successful Business Networking

    by Stephanie Speisman

    Effective business networking is the linking together of individuals who, through trust and relationship building, become walking, talking advertisements for one another.

    1. Keep in mind that networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships, and seeing how you can help others.

    2. Ask yourself what your goals are in participating in networking meetings so that you will pick groups that will help you get what you are looking for. Some meetings are based more on learning, making contacts, and/or volunteering rather than on strictly making business connections.

    3. Visit as many groups as possible that spark your interest. Notice the tone and attitude of the group. Do the people sound supportive of one another? Does the leadership appear competent? Many groups will allow you to visit two times before joining.

    4. Hold volunteer positions in organizations. This is a great way to stay visible and give back to groups that have helped you.

    5. Ask open-ended questions in networking conversations. This means questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how as opposed to those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. This form of questioning opens up the discussion and shows listeners that you are interested in them.

    6. Become known as a powerful resource for others. When you are known as a strong resource, people remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, etc. This keeps you visible to them.

    7. Have a clear understanding of what you do and why, for whom, and what makes your doing it special or different from others doing the same thing. In order to get referrals, you must first have a clear understanding of what you do that you can easily articulate to others.

    8. Be able to articulate what you are looking for and how others may help you. Too often people in conversations ask, "How may I help you?" and no immediate answer comes to mind.

    9. Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. When people give you referrals, your actions are a reflection on them. Respect and honor that and your referrals will grow.

    10. Call those you meet who may benefit from what you do and vice versa. Express that you enjoyed meeting them, and ask if you could get together and share ideas.


    Networking Tips: How to Work a Room

    UC Berkley Career Center

    Networking can serve as a valuable strategy for getting a lead on a job, gathering intelligence, or catching the special attention of a company recruiter. Read on to find out more about the art of schmoozing.

    Most of us are not born minglers. Practice and preparation will help you develop the skills it takes to be effective at an Employer Info Session, a Career Fair, or other serendipitous opportunities. As difficult or awkward as it may feel at first, the ability to meet and make a positive, professional impression on people will become ever more important as your career advances and develops. Here are some tips to get you started.

    Check your attitude to improve your yield

    Many of us are shy or reluctant to approach strangers in new social situations, so understandably it's not always easy to muster the energy to try and connect with people at networking events. That's why it's key to get mentally geared up before you even show up. Because your attitude often guides your behavior, you must overcome any negative self-talk that could hinder you from reaching out to others. Do these outlooks sound familiar?

    • "Why should I bother trying to impress this person? I'm only one of a hundred students this recruiter is going to see today"

    • "I don't think I know enough to engage the company reps in an intelligent conversation"

    • "I've never really been good at meeting people. That's just my personality"

    Such negative thoughts prevent you from pushing past any social roadblocks standing in your way. The truth is that many, if not most, people have similar thoughts in group situations and are just as hesitant to initiate conversations. But if you change your attitude from negative to positive, you can instead take the lead. Remember:

    • People enjoy talking about themselves. Ask them questions to get them started

    • People feel flattered when you show an interest in them and their work/organization and they will reciprocate your demonstrations of sincere interest

    • You have more to offer others than you might think; just believe it

    Redefine what it means to interact with "strangers"

    When you join a new student organization or club, you share certain interests with the members. When you go to a party, you run into people you've seen in class or around your dorm. A networking event is not really all that different if you view it as an occasion to find what you have in common with other people there. Commonalities help "strangers" connect more easily.

    • Take the initiative to approach others, introduce yourself, and share a piece of information that could reveal the common thread you share with them.

    • During conversations, listen carefully to discover shared interests or goals.

    • Use your shared background or interests as the basis for sustaining conversations.

    Prepare and practice your self-introduction

    To avoid being tongue-tied when you try to start a conversation with someone you don't know, prepare a self-introduction that is clear, interesting, and well delivered. What you say about yourself will depend on the nature of the event, but in any case, it shouldn't take longer than 8-10 seconds. Although practicing your introduction might at first seem silly and artificial, it will eventually help you make an introduction that sounds natural, confident, and smooth. Here are a few examples:

    • "Hi, my name is Catherine Lee. I'm glad to have this chance to meet you and learn how a psychology major can break into the pharmaceutical industry." [Employer Information Session]

    • Good morning, I'm Bryan Sampson, a former summer intern at your Los Angeles branch." [Career Fair]

    • "Hello, my name is Jessica Garcia. I'm a junior rhetoric major looking to find out what it's like working in public relations and marketing." [Communications Career Night]

    Risk rejection - it's not the end of the world

    It happens. Some individuals may not respond to your introduction in the way you would like. If that takes place, don't take it personally and just move on. As long as you maintain an outgoing and friendly attitude, you can plan for continued networking success by:

    • Identifying the goals you want to achieve at the networking event before you go (e.g., to learn more about a career, to develop internship leads, etc.)

    • Keeping a healthy sense of humor.

    • Treating everyone as you would want to be treated. Aside from being the courteous thing to do, you don't know who might be helpful to you in the future.

    And last, but not least, don't forget how important it is for you to physically move around and about when you're at a networking event. You can't work a room when you're sitting down! So get in there and show them what you've got.

    For more suggestions, check out Susan RoAne's "How to Work a Room: The Ultimate Guide to Savvy Socializing in Person and Online" or go to


    The Four Most Common Networking Mistakes

    By Caroline Levchuck

    Take a tip from Miss Manners: Etiquette is important.

    And perhaps nowhere more so than at networking events.

    You may already know that networking events are one of the best ways to find job leads and expand your Rolodex. But attending events is only half the battle. You also need to know how to behave at them.

    If you talk too much, say too little or arrive unprepared, you can ruin your chances to leave with a job lead.

    This Ain't No Party: Remember why you're here.

    The purpose of a networking event is to help you advance professionally. It's a social event -- but a professional one. Think of it as a conference social or a business dinner.

    The cardinal rule of networking events: Never get drunk. We all remember what happened to Melanie Griffith in "Working Girl." (If not, watch the movie)

    You want the people you meet to remember you as capable, competent and polished -- not as the guy or gal who was wearing a lampshade on their head at the end of the evening.

    Dress appropriately. Err on the side of conservative and choose an outfit you could wear to a job interview. Your attire should say, "I'm a professional," not "I'm a party girl (or boy)."

    After all, you're not at a party.

    Do Your Homework

    Don't arrive at a networking event without a plan of attack.

    First, find out which person or organization is sponsoring the event. Next, see if there will be speakers, presenters or any special guests in attendance. Last, make a list of people you expect to be there and want to meet.

    Do a little research on each of them. A little knowledge goes a long way. If you know something about the people you approach, it's much easier to start a conversation -- and keep it going.

    Pitch In

    Don't forget to prepare your elevator pitch.

    You'll need it to introduce yourself to people at a networking event.

    An elevator pitch is brief -- brief enough to share during an elevator ride. In your pitch, give a three-minute summary of who you are, your experience and abilities.

    Practice your pitch before the networking event so that it'll sound natural. Be confident, but not pushy. Remember, a networking event isn't a formal interview. And don't forget to smile.

    Quality, Not Quantity

    Focus on the quality, not quantity, of your connections at networking events. You'll get better results by making a few good connections than by handing out dozens of business cards indiscriminately.

    And first impressions matter, so mind your manners.

    Always stay focused on the person you are talking to and maintain eye contact. Don't scan the room trying to decide whom you'll talk to next.

    Also, show interest in the people you meet. You can make a great impression by asking a few thoughtful questions. Above all, be genuine and sincere.

    A strong professional network is based on relationships, and it takes time to build a relationship.


    Tips to Take Networking Online

    By Caroline Levchuck

    Is e-mail an effective way to meet new people? Probably not, says a recent study.

    Via e-mail, researchers tested the theory that only six degrees of separation exist between any two people in the world. While the theory holds true in real life, they found that that wasn't the case in virtual reality. Only one in 50 e-mail chains reached their intended recipients, reported "The New York Times."

    But, despite disappointing results, there ARE effective ways to network electronically. Job Tip of the Day shares ideas on how to build your professional network without leaving your computer.

    Go Back to School

    Most colleges and even some high schools have online communities specifically for alumni. Made up of people in a wide range of industries and occupations, these communities encourage fellow alums to reconnect and network.

    Online alumni groups are a great way to test the waters if you're new to virtual communities. Since members have a shared experience -- their alma mater -- it's easier to join in the discussions.

    If your college doesn't have an online alumni community, or you'd rather not join one, you may want to consider taking an online class.

    Many schools offer online continuing education and conduct classes in everything from advertising to business to technology. You'll not only enhance your knowledge and build your resume, but you'll also meet other students with similar professional interests.

    Find Communities With Common Interests

    No matter what your interest, there's likely an online community dedicated to it.

    From astronomy to genealogy to '80s music, online communities cover every subject imaginable. Choose a topic you want to learn more about, or one that you're passionate about, and do a keyword search for a community related to it. Or, go to a Web site like Yahoo! Groups and browse their list of communities here:

    To expand not just your personal but your professional network, join a community tailored to a specific industry or occupation.

    Online communities are a great way to learn more about a profession. Once you find a group that has potential for networking, browse the messages to learn more about the industry and its career options. When you feel comfortable in the community, start posting your own messages. Then let the networking being!

    You can visit one of HotJobs' 34 industry communities here:

    Join Groups Designed to 'Meet and Greet'

    Some online communities are expressly for the purpose of meeting other professional colleagues. And those are perfect for networking.

    To expand your professional network -- and help your job search -- join a community designed for people in your industry to meet one another. If you've recently relocated for a job or are planning to do so, you can even network in communities created specifically for people new to a city to get acquainted with one another.

    One of the best aspects of online communities specifically designed for networking: All members are ready and willing to meet new people. What could be an easier way to build your professional network?

    Thursday, May 8, 2008

    The X's and O's of Capital Markets: Buy Side vs. Sell Side

    A very common question when interviewing for investment banking positions is 'Do you want to be on the Buy Side or Sell Side?' This is a basic question that you should not get wrong. If you want to be an investment banker then you want to be on the Sell Side.

    Investment Banking Analyst/Associate = Sell Side

    Sell Side

    • In general, they are not investors, but rather they give advice to the buy side, who are the investors. The sell side is trying to make a sale and drum up business. They are salesmen and they are selling financial products, ie. stocks, M&A, IPOs, etc...

    • Investment Bankers in the Investment Banking Division

    • Brokers

    • Stock Analysts (ie. make recommendations of "strong buy", "outperform", "neutral", or "sell")

    Buy Side

    • In general, they are money managers in some form or another. They have huge funds of money that they are investing in order to try and make a big return.

    • Venture Capital / Private Equity

    • Hedge Funds

    • Mutual Funds

    • Pension Funds

    Not knowing this type of basic information can be compared to a guy that wants to play professional football but doesn't know each position and their responsibilities.

    You could also easily relate each side to Offense vs. Defense. They are both on the field playing, but they each have different goals, positions, and responsibilities. Hopefully you get the idea, but the point being that if you want to be an investment banker, like a football player who wants to play pro football, you too need to know your stuff!

    Here are some links to a few great sources to help you learn more.

    Vault Article: The Buy Side vs. Sell Side

    Motley Fool: Buy Side vs. Sell Side

    Investopedia: Definitions of Buy Side and Sell Side

    Wednesday, May 7, 2008

    The Phone Interview: Not As Easy As You Think

    Another common interview concern comes in the form of the phone interview. Right now I am interviewing for many jobs outside of Salt Lake City, Utah where I currently live. The first interview, after the resume screen, always comes in the form of the phone interview. This gives both the employer and job candidate a chance to "feel each other out" without spending any money to get the candidate in the office. As I have been interviewing over the phone for the last few months, it has reminded me how important these calls are when landing a job outside of your local area. Here are a few phone interview tips to consider when preparing for this type of interview.

    Phone Interviewing Do's and Don'ts

    by Maureen Crawford Hentz with commentary by David Bonnemort

    Here are the keys to successful phone interviewing. Follow these simple rules and you should achieve success in this important phase of job-hunting.

    • Do give accurate and detailed contact information in your cover letter so your interviewers can easily connect with you.

    • When in job-hunting mode, don't have a disproportionately silly or long greeting on your answering machine or voicemail.

      In your message you should state your name, so people know they dialed the correct number, and have a short message stating for the caller to leave their contact information so you can give them a call back.

    • Do ensure that household members understand the importance of phone messages in your job search.

      This shouldn't be a major problem since most people have a personal cell phone, but if you don't then explain to family, friends, and roommates the importance of these calls so if you get one they take a message.

    • Do know what job you are interviewing for.

      This is a no brainer - investment banking.

    • Do practice, if possible. Have a friend call you to do a mock phone interview so you get the feel of being interviewed over the phone.

      A little practice never hurts.

    • When being interviewed by phone, do make sure you are in a place where you can read notes, take notes, and concentrate.

      Great advice. In some ways phone interviews can be more difficult because you are talking on the phone and not face-to-face. Some interviewers also find this as an excuse to ask you more involved questions, that you would have most likely not have received if interviewing in person.

    • If you cannot devote enough time to a phone interview, do suggest a specific alternate time to the recruiter. It's often best to be the one who calls back so you can be mentally prepared.

    • Do consider keeping some note cards or an outline in front of you to remind yourself of key points you want to cover with the interviewer. You don't want your responses to sound scripted, but you don't want to fumble for important points either.

      If there are any questions or subjects you are a little shaky on, make sure you practice answering them out loud multiple times, it's okay to have some notes in front of you to help remind you. This is a definite advantage if you are prepared and don't have to rely completely on your notes.

    • Do also have your resume in front of you so you can remember highlights of your experience and accomplishments.

      Everyone should have their resume memorized. If not, then memorize it. No excuses!

    • Do ensure that you can hear and are being clearly heard.

      Sometimes there can be static on the line, especially if you are on your cell phone and you are sitting in your house where you get bad reception. Make sure that you handle this situation, if necessary, prior to the interview. No where your dead spots are in your apartment or house.

    • Do consider standing when being interviewed on the phone. Some experts say you'll sound more professional than if you're slouching in an easy chair.

      I took a sales class and they recommend standing and smiling like a cheese ball when you make your phone calls. Standing and smiling makes you come across more exciting on the phone. Example: We all have or are that friend who is really exciting and fun to hang out and talk with in person, but when you call them on the phone they are monotone and boring. It's like they are a different person! This is what you want to avoid. Don't be monotone and boring on the phone. Since the interviewer cannot see your facial expressions, the best way to show your enthusiasm is through your voice. For more info on voice expression, please refer to my March 22, 2008 blog post, "Be Impressive! Make a Strong First Impression".

    • Do consider dressing nicely for the phone interview. It may sound silly since the interviewer can't see you, but you really will project a more professional image if you're dressed for the part instead of wearing, for example, a ratty bathrobe.

      This has to do with the way you sound and project yourself over the phone. Don't roll out of bed a half an hour before bed and stay in your pj's. Wake up, go for a run, eat breakfast, take a shower, get dressed (either in business casual or casual), and be engaging on the phone. Don't take these interviews lightly. If you are not prepared, someone else will be and they will get the job. Remember the 7 P's (Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance).

    • Don't feel you have to fill in the silences. If you've completed a response, but the interviewer hasn't asked his or her next question, don't start babbling just to fill in airtime. Instead, ask a question of your own related to your last response.

      Be prepared for your interview. If you are prepared, you should know the first 5 questions they will ask you: Walk me through your resume, Why our company?, Why this position?, and some valuation and accounting questions. Answer the questions directly. Be short and to the point. Don't go on and on and on. Know your stuff and prove it through the content and delivery of your answer.

    • Do create a strong finish to your phone interview with thoughtful questions.

      As with every interview, over the phone or in person, have thoughtful questions prepared. If you are having trouble coming up with good questions, read the rest of my blog, read other blogs, read the WSJ, read anything and everything you can get your hands on that relates to the job and company you are applying for.

    • Don't panic if you have special needs. If you are hearing-impaired, for example, phone interviews are still possible.

    • Don't snuffle, sneeze or cough. If you can't avoid these behaviors, say excuse me.

      Sometimes you can't help it because you are sick or have allergies. If you do sneeze or cough, ensure that you say "excuse me". This is just common courtesy. Your mom, dad, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc... should have taught you this by now. If not, then now you know.

    • Don't chew gum or food, or drink anything noisy.

      Being at home can sometimes cause you to be too relaxed for an interview. Definitely DO NOT CHEW GUM or eat food or drink while you are on the phone if you can at all avoid it. Remember, it's all about the presentation you give your future employer. You are a sales man and you are selling your skills.