We’ve written on more than one occasion about the face-to-face interview. However, what about the phone screen (or phone interview) that typically happens prior to the on-site interview? Isn’t that just as important?
The answer to that question is yes! It IS just as important and the reason for that is simple. In the vast majority of cases, you won’t be invited for a face-to-face interview until you’ve performed well during a phone screening.
While it’s true that you might not have a phone screening before being invited for a face-to-face interview, it’s always a good idea to be prepared. After all, it’s better to be prepared for a phone screening and not have one than to not be prepared for a phone screening and then have to participate in one.
Before we get to the tips, though, keep this one important thing in mind. The goal of the phone screening is to receive an invitation for a face-to-face interview. As a result, your approach should be the same as it would be for an on-site interview. You should be able to convey the value that you can bring to the organization if you were hired. If you are able to convey that value, then the hiring manager will have no choice but to investigate your candidacy further with a face-to-face interview. Remember: it all comes down to value.
Since that’s out of the way, below are five tips for acing the phone screen:
Tip #1—Find a quiet place for the interview.
The last thing you want is to be in a noisy room or a place that has a lot of distractions. Ideally, find a room that is unoccupied and not likely to be affected by noise of any kind (traffic, construction, etc.). You want to be able to hear the person conducting the phone screening and you want the other person to be able to hear you, as well.
Tip #2—Speak clearly into the phone.
This is very important. If the hiring manager has trouble understanding what you’re saying, that will not bode well for your candidacy. In other words, it reduces the chances that you’ll get a face-to-face interview. To that end, do NOT smoke or chew gum during the conversation. If you have a penchant for mumbling or speaking in a low tone of voice, do your best to avoid those pitfalls.
Tip #3—Be enthusiastic and energetic.
It’s easier to convey enthusiasm in person than it is over the phone. That’s why you should “go above and beyond” in your efforts to do so during the phone screening. If possible, smile while you’re speaking. Of course, the other person won’t be able to see you, but smiling can help you to exude energy. The key is to appear as though you’re excited about the job and the opportunity. (You are excited, aren’t you?)
Tip #4—Have a copy of your resume handy.
It may be a phone screening, but it’s still an interview. The person conducting the screening is still going to ask questions, many of which pertain to your skills and experience. So don’t be caught empty-handed. Make sure your resume is in front of you, along with your list of references, should they be needed for some reason. Once again, it’s better to prepared for all contingencies.
Tip #5—Send a follow-up email.
After the phone screening is over, send a follow-up email to the person who conducted it. Much like an email sent following a face-to-face interview, thank the person for their time and express your excitement for the position. In addition, indicate that you’re eager to continue with the next step of the process and that you look forward to hearing from them.
While the phone screening is not quite as glamorous or prestigious as the on-site interview, you need to give it as much attention. It could hold the key to unlocking your next great career opportunity!
The Doepker Group has experience placing professionals in the Information Technology and Engineering fields, and we can place YOU, as well.