7 Steps to a Successful Phone Screen Interview

Posted by Rob Riggins

phone screen interviewWhat’s the best advice for a successful phone screen interview? Treat it as you would a “real” interview.

The purpose of a phone screen is for you and the employer to do an initial review to see if it makes sense to have more in-depth discussions. Some companies have somewhat short initial screens, while others will be much more comprehensive. Be prepared for either option.

  1. Reschedule If You’re Caught Off Guard

If a recruiter calls you for the first time and you’re not prepared to do anything more than schedule a future call, don’t be afraid to say so. You need to be at your best and if you’re caught at a bad time, simply say so and ask to reschedule. You don’t need to provide elaborate excuses or over explain why it’s not a good time for you. Simply reschedule.

  1. Think of Your Environment for the Call

Try to be in a quiet location where you can have your reference materials available if you need them. You’ll want the ability to take notes, so have paper and pen handy. Some people prefer to type their notes, but that keyboard noise is distracting for the other person. A copy of your resume, notes about the company, and questions you plan to ask are also helpful to have at hand. You may think driving in your car is a quiet location, but it’s not. Plus you’re not giving your full attention to your future.

  1. Prepare Your Voice and Your Attitude

At the beginning of the day some of us have morning voice, so be sure you’ve warmed up a bit before your call. At the end of the day we often sound tired or stressed. Some say it helps to smile as you talk. Also slow down. Too often when we’re nervous we talk fast and don’t stop to listen. Listening to what the interviewer is asking and responding thoughtfully is paramount.

Consider you’re talking to someone you’ve never met about your future. Your tone of voice and attitude are important, so prepare yourself mentally before the call. This is your first impression, so make the most of it.

  1. Do Your Homework

If it’s a cleared position you applied for, revisit your research about the company and the position before the call. If the phone interview is from a recruiter proactively contacting you about a cleared job you haven’t yet researched, do that homework and determine if this is a good fit for you before the call.

Contact anyone you know with the Employer and try to gather more information to help you prepare. Check LinkedIn, Facebook or other social networks to see if you know someone who can provide you with information about the company, the position, the department, hiring manager, and so on. Those contacts could be a source of good information to help you prepare, or even the source of a referral or recommendation.

  1. Ask Questions

Prepare a few questions to ask the recruiter. Be positive and energetic. Just as with an in-person interview, a phone-screen interview is a two-way street. You have evaluating to do and information to uncover, just as the employer does.

  1. Be Prepared to Talk about Salary

In the defense and intelligence contracting community, salary ranges are quite often discussed up front. There are a variety of strategies for how this is handled, and many cleared job seekers have strong opinions on the subject.

From the recruiters’ perspective, they are trying to screen acceptable candidates to pass on to a hiring manager. Hiring managers like nothing worse than being handed job seekers who have unrealistic salary requirements….meaning salary requirements that the contractor cannot pay due to the constraints of the contract.

  1. If This Isn’t the Job for You, Say So

If from the limited information you have you’re sure this isn’t a good fit for you, let the recruiter know. Do you know anyone who would be interested and qualified for the position? Pass along their information. The recruiter will appreciate the referral.

A phone-screen interview may be your first exposure to a recruiter who can be your internal champion in the job search process. Or it might be a second step after you met a company rep at a job fair. Either way, make a good impression and be prepared.



This entry was posted on Monday, June 19, 2017 8:35 am

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