The telephone interview is the initial candidate screening method. The goal of a telephone screen is to be invited for a face-to-face interview. Phone screens can range from short and simple to long and in-depth, but either way, it is imperative to be prepared!
- Ask how long the Phone Screen will take. This can give you some insight on what type of interview to expect. If you’re told it’ll take 10 to 15 minutes, it’s more than likely a basic introduction call, to ensure your skill set aligns with the job. On the other hand, if you’re told to set aside 45 minutes to an hour, expect a much more thorough call where you may be questioned on past accomplishments and work ethic.
- Build Rapport: Establishing good rapport with your interviewer will help you feel at ease during the interview and increase the likelihood that you will advance to the next step.
- Have your resume and the job description in front of you. Be prepared with any necessary information that may arise during the phone interview.
- Do your homework. Prior to the phone interview you need to know about the organization you are interviewing with. Check out their website, study the job description and reach out to colleagues you may know that work for the organization currently. They may ask you questions, and you need to know what products they are selling, informed on latest press releases, income statements, financial reports and their competitors.
- Make sure you’re in a quiet place with a good connection where you won’t be interrupted. Use a landline if possible. The last thing you want during the phone screen is a dropped call, kids screaming or dogs barking in the background.
- State and relate your qualifications: It’s critical to show the hiring manager not just that you have the qualifications, but that you can apply your qualifications and skills to the job.
- Follow Directions: If the interviewer asks you to take 10 minutes and walk them through your resume they are timing you. You need to stay within or under the time limit. They want to hear your communication skills, and your thought process on why you changed positions. This helps them to determine your motivation and what makes you tick. Are you running away from something or are you running to something?
- Ask Questions: Keep in mind, this is a sales call, so you need to sell yourself! However, it is also important to ask great questions and understand what the hiring manager is looking for. What is their plan? What type of person will work well in this position? What skill set or character traits are they looking for? By asking good thought provoking business questions you can uncover their needs. This gives you the opportunity to highlight your skills.
- Smile! It may sound silly, but there is a noticeable difference when a person smiles as they speak. Smiling during a phone screen, will not only make you sound excited, it can also calm your nerves, making you feel more comfortable.
- Ask about the next step in the process. Before the conclusion of the phone screen, express that you’re excited about the opportunity, and close them for the face to face interview, by asking what the next step in the process will be. Employers want to see candidates who are passionate about the role and want to work for their organization, so don’t be afraid to tell them you’re that person!
Remember, if you have prepared for the phone screen- you are READY! Be yourself and put your best professional foot forward- your confidence will be heard!
P.S. Once you have finished your phone screen, don’t forget to send a professionally written Thank you note!