Getting Past the Phone Screen

Getting Past the Phone Screen

Phone screens are the new first step in the interviewing process for many companies. While you may never have been faced with one before, it’s critical that you approach the conversation right. Here are tips to ensure you make the cut:

Treat it like a face-to-face interview. 

As one of today’s leading recruitment agencies, Peoplelink sees job seekers make the mistake of treating the phone screen too casually. They think the hiring manager will ask them a few questions and make a quick decision as to whether to move them forward in the hiring process.

But today, that’s not the case. Phone screens are your first interview. So you need to treat them just as seriously as if you were driving to the company’s office and interviewing in person with the hiring manager.

Select an appropriate time and place.

A good time would be when you’re home alone, in an office or quiet space and free from distractions. A bad time would be when your kids are just getting off the bus from school and you only have an hour before you need to leave for swim practice. There’s a lot on the line so make sure you pick a time and place that is most conducive to a productive, focused conversation.

Prepare ahead of time. 

Before your phone screen, research the company online so you’re familiar with what they do. Review the job posting and make a list of your skills, strengths and accomplishments that are most relevant to the position. (The upside of phone screens is that you can keep a cheat sheet of these points, along with your resume, right in front of you.) And practice your answers to common interview questions.

Set the scene.

Besides keeping your resume nearby, have a notebook and pen on hand so you can take notes during the screen or write down a question that pops into your head.

Also, if your cell phone service provider is less-than-reliable, use a landline instead. Just be sure to turn off call waiting, or if your other line does ring, ignore it. And of course, clear the room of any distractions, such as pets.

A few more do’s and don’ts for your next phone screen:

  • Don’t chew gum, eat, drink, or smoke. However, do keep a glass of water nearby just in case your throat gets dry.
  • Don’t interrupt the hiring manager when they’re talking.
  • Don’t wear your PJs during the screen, even if it’s first thing in the morning. Get dressed in professional clothing.
  • Do speak slowly and clearly and address the hiring manager by name.
  • Do smile while you’re talking, which will change your tone and help you to project a more positive image.
  • Do ask about next steps at the end of the phone screen.

If you’d like more help finding a new job, call Peoplelink. As one of today’s leading recruitment agencies, we have the expertise and network to connect you with top opportunities that are the best fit for you. Search our jobs now to get started!