How to Master the Phone Screening

How to Master the Phone Screening

The phone screening is a part of the interview process that can loosely be called the “first round of job interviews.” At times, an online application leads to a phone screening invitation. Other times, recruiters may get on a phone to screen a job candidate for opportunities they have on their plate.

In general, phone screenings are used to make sure the job candidate should be called for an in-person job interview. Read how to master the phone screening. Make sure you are always asked to have an in-person job interview!

1. Make sure you are in the right place

We live in a world where our phones are with us at all times. It does not give you, the job candidate, permission to treat the phone screening like it is just a distraction from your daily routine.

What does this mean? It means:

  • Do not do phone screenings while driving, waiting in line at a restaurant, or getting your haircut.
  • Give the phone screening 100% attention in a nice quiet place without distracting background noises.

Doing this will also help your demeanor during the call. You will sound relaxed, and the interviewer will appreciate you making this phone call a #1 priority.

2. Make sure the connection is perfect

Phones services are still imperfect. People lose signals while talking on the phone. If you know your cell phone typically has problems, go to a more reliable phone for the call. Try using a landline if you do not trust your cell service.

3. Have your resume out in front of you and take notes

They will be asking questions about your resume. It only makes sense that you have your resume in front of you for the phone screening.

Take notes during the interview, too. If this phone screening turns into an in-person interview, you will have plenty of notes to look over and questions to ask. It will surely make you look well-prepared for the job interview with an employer.

4. Be an amazing listener

The phone screening is happening to find out if they should bring you in. Let them ask you interview questions. Give them the answers they asked for, and you encourage them to call you in.

It is not the time to tell boring stories or hammer the interviewer over the head with your knowledge. Use hints that show you are listening. For example:

  • “Okay”
  • “Interesting!”
  • “I see”

No rants or speeches are necessary. Keep it simple and just listen for when to respond. Say nothing more than what they need to hear.

5. Nail down the deal breaker interview questions

Questions like these are designed to eliminate you from the hiring process:

They want to see if you answer aligned with what they are looking for, or in some cases if they can afford you. Each of these job interview questions helps employers find out on the phone if interviewing you further is a waste of time.

6. Avoid verbal pauses and “upspeak”

You may use them all the time in your daily life. But during a phone interview verbal pauses can either put an employer to sleep or make the employer think you are ill-prepared for the phone screening.

Over-usage of these verbal pauses include the following:

  • “You know like”
  • “Actually”
  • “Basically”
  • “Ummm”
  • “Uhhhh”

“Upspeak” is a way of talking in which every spoken sentence has the same vocal pitches of someone asking a question. For example:

  • “I worked at this company for five years? And I have lots of job skills?”

Speaking this way can be viewed as a sign someone is not confident or lacks professional experience.

7. Express appreciation and set up the next steps

Simply put, let the interviewer know you appreciate the phone call. Then, ask what steps are required to meet in-person. Even if you bombed the phone screening, asking about the next steps may lead to an employer calling you in for a job interview. Try this out:

  • “I appreciate your time today on the call. Perhaps we can set up a time to meet in-person?”

If the employer declines while on the phone, there is nothing you can do about it. However, if they set up a time and date, it will be your chance to make up for the failed phone screening. They may just bring you in because you had a positive mindset on the phone and they want to know more about you!

  • Closing the Deal in Your Job Interviews

    Closing the Deal in Your Job Interviews

    The hiring manager says, “Do you have any questions for me?” You reply, “Yes, I do. I am interested in learning where I stand compared to other candidates. Do you see any reason why I should not move forward in the interview process?” If this question sounds a bit too direct, perhaps it explains why you never seem to close the deal in your job interviews.

    Find My Profession by The FMP Contributor
    Read On
  • 3 Interview Tips to Show You Deserve the Job

    3 Interview Tips to Show You Deserve the Job

    You passed the phone screening after the lengthy online job application. Now, you have been called in for the job interview to meet in-person. If you think you only need to prepare for the interview with a nice outfit and great resume, the interview will not go well. Read these easy interview tips to the show the company you deserve the job!

    Find My Profession by The FMP Contributor
    Read On
  • How to Master the STAR Method: Use RATS Stories

    How to Master the STAR Method: Use RATS Stories

    Coaches and advisors in career transition today will tell you to develop your “STAR” stories to have the best results in interviewing.  Well, I am here to tell you the key to mastering this method is to use “RATS” stories instead.

    Kathy Goodin-Mitchell by Kathy Goodin-Mitchell
    Read On
See All Articles