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How To Prepare For A Phone Screen Interview

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Consider Possible Interview Questions

How to prepare for a phone interview

Research common interview questions so you know what you might be expected to answer. Many interview questions fall into the same categoriesadaptability, leadership, collaboration, culture fit, prioritization and development. Determining the questions they might ask can help you gain confidence since youll know what to expect. Reviewing highly anticipated questions will ease any nerves going into the interview.

Related: 125 Common Interview Questions and Answers

Ask About The Next Steps

Asking your interviewer about the next steps in the interview process is a good way to express your continued interest in the role and the company. While some employers might be ready to offer you a job, others might have you come in for an in-person interview as they narrow down their candidate search. Knowing the answer to this question will give you an idea of what to expect so you can prepare for the next steps.

Phone Interview Tip #1: Its Ok If You Need A Little Time To Answerbut Dont Take Forever

  • Thanks for that question. Give me just a minute to consider it before I share.
  • I have a few ideas on how to answer. Let me take a minute to gather my thoughts.
  • Im not totally clear on what you mean by XYZ. Could you explain it another way?
  • Before I answer, can you confirm youre referring to XYZ?

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Best Practices For Making It Past The Phone Screen Interview

Anyone searching for a job knows that to get an actual interview, you usually have to make it past the phone screen first. Whether the recruiter is calling or youre starting it off with a hiring manager, the phone interview is the gateway, and how you perform will determine whether or not you get to go through those gates .

Phone screen interviews are interesting because they can sometimes feel a little less formal, especially when talking to a friendly recruiter and not the actual hiring manager for the position. Because of this, its easy to slip into the mindset that you can show up less prepared or let your guard down a little bit, but that would be a mistake. Every interview is equally important for getting a job, and if you dont take the phone screen seriously, you could spoil your chances of landing a job before you even get your foot in the door.

So, when a recruiter gets in touch with you to schedule a phone screen, the best thing you can do is do your research, get prepared, and show up ready to rock it and move forward in the process.

Planning The Phone Screening Interview

Learn how you can use phone screen interview questions to get valuable ...

You may choose to plan for shorter or longer calls, but many employers find that it typically takes 15 to 30 minutes to ask all pertinent phone interview questions. Make a list of your questions and be consistent with what you ask each candidate so you make fair comparisons.

Be willing to offer phone interviews outside of normal business hours for the job candidates convenience, particularly if theyre a currently employed passive job seeker.

Prepare to closely listen for critical thinking, soft skills and fit with your company culture. Listen for negative attitude, low energy, lack of preparedness and discrepancies between what they say and whats in their resume.

Many of the same interview tips for face-to-face meetings can be used for phone interviews. But, in general, youll have fewer phone interview questions to ask and save more in-depth questions for the in-person interview, when you have more time to spend with the candidate and can use body language to help interpret and evaluate their responses.

Here are some bonus phone interview questions to ask, in case youd like more examples:

  • What is a typical day like at your current job?
  • How do you see yourself contributing in this position?
  • What would you hope to get out of this job?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What questions do you have for me?

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Importance Of Phone Interviews

Companies use phone interviews to screen candidates and narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited for in-person interviews. Phone interviews are a great way for recruiters to determine organizational fit and differentiate between candidates who appear similar on paper.

Phone interviews are to be taken as seriously as an on-site interview. If you perform poorly on the phone interview questions, you will almost certainly not be invited to the onsite interview. Lack of knowledge about the company, dropped calls, background noise, and other factors that reveal your unpreparedness can negatively impact the interview and your chances of working for Amazon.

Answer The Call Professionally

When you answer the call for your phone interview, try to avoid simply saying Hello? Instead, try:

  • Good afternoon, speaking.
  • Hello, this is .
  • speaking.

These greetings all eliminate the need for the interviewer to make sure theyre talking to the right person and make you sound like youre used to speaking professionally on the phone.

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How To Conduct A Phone Screen Interview To Identify Top Talent

Youâve taken the steps needed to gather a talent pool full of great candidates for your open position. Your job ads are well-written and laser-focused on your target market, and youâre using the perfect recruitment sources for the position. As a result, you now have a giant list of highly qualified candidates to choose from. Now what? How do you start to sort through this embarrassment of riches? One great place to start is the good old phone screen interview.

Phone screen interviews are a tried and tested recruitment technique that is a great first step in parsing through your applicants to find the top candidates. But, like everything in recruitment, it needs to be done properly to get results.

In this article, weâll walk you through how to conduct a screening interview over the phone that will set you up for success, explain what happens after the phone interview, and provide examples of questions you should be asking candidates. But first, letâs talk briefly about what a screening interview is, and what it is not.

Tell Me What You Know About The Role

How Should I Prepare for the Amazon Phone Screen Interview?

Employers may ask this question to get a starting line for how much they need to tell you about the basics of the position youre applying for. It might also tell them whether or not youve taken the time to carefully read the job description and research as much as possible before.

Example answer:From the job description, I understand that you are looking for a bookkeeper to provide support to the departments financial activities primarily related to Accounts Payable and Procurement. I also understand that you require HIPAA compliance training, for which I am certified. It sounds like many of the daily tasks include processing vendor creation, journals, check requests, wire transfers and invoice for payments. Can you tell me more about why this position is open and what needs the team needs?

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Amazon Phone Interview Rounds

The recruitment process at Amazon varies for each position and sometimes also depends on the candidate’s work experience. Knowing about the entire can be beneficial as it can help you prepare accordingly. The basic Amazon phone interview has 1-2 rounds in total.

The phone screen interview at Amazon lasts about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Typically, the recruiter will assess your interest and fit for the role. They will also ask basic questions about your background and work experience.

The recruiter will then help schedule the first interview, which will be conducted over the phone.

The next phone screen will typically be with your hiring manager and senior members of the product team.

Things Employers Listen For In A Phone Screen Interview

What is one thing you listen for in a phone screen interview?

To help job seekers understand what employers are looking for in a phone interview, we asked CEOs and hiring professionals this question for their best insights. From the ability to communicate clearly to assessing how a person thinks, there are several things that employers are listening for that may help you better prepare for your next interview.

Here are nine things employers listen for in a phone screen interview:

  • Discerning Candidates Personality
  • Assess How a Person Thinks
  • Potential Fit into Companys Culture
  • Attending for a Sense of Humor
  • Listening for Active Listening

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Here Are The Secrets To Acing A Phone Interview

If youre looking for a job these days, youre probably going to find that a lot of employers want to interview you on the phone before asking you to come in for a more in-depth, in-person interview. Phone interviews are increasingly a key part of the hiring process, and doing well at this stage can

Listen And Dont Dominate The Conversation

6 Steps for a Successful Phone Interview

Yes, this is an interview which means theyre going to be asking you questions, but its also an opportunity to show your potential employer that youre good at listening too.

Talk, but dont dominate the conversation. Let the interviewer guide the conversation.

Answer the questions, but dont turn it into a one sided monologue. This is as much about you getting to know them as it is about them getting to know you.

Keep a pencil and paper nearby so you can jot down questions and notes and save them for the end.

Ask a few follow up questions but dont flip the interview onto the interviewer. It helps to reinforce to the interviewer that youre truly interested in the company and the job and that youve paid attention during the interview.

Have a copy of your resume with you so you can reference it at any time. Keep your answers honest, thoughtful and reflective.

Make sure you breathe and speak clearly.

Most importantly, smile! Sure, they might not be able to see it, but your tone of voice will reflect it.

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Questions Asking For More Information Or Clarification

The last group of telephone interview questions you should ask are specific to the individual candidate youâre talking to. If you noticed any red flags or question marks in the resume, such as long gaps in employment or lots of jumping between companies, then this is the time to ask the candidate about it. The goal is to get a full and clear picture of the candidateâs background that you can use to guide your evaluation.

How Many Years Of Experience Do You Have With Software

If they are a mechanical engineer you may want to know how many years they have with a CAD system such as SolidWorks. If they are a software developer have many years of Java experience do they have.

Once you have established the number of years of experience using the software. Dive into how they have used the software for the past few years.

Make sure they have a good understanding of what you want them to accomplish with it.

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Show Sincere Interest And Strong Cultural Fit

Recruiters and interviewers love it when a candidate’s skill set is a strong match for the job opening. However, having good technical expertise alone isn’t enough for you to land the job. Recruiters want to hire candidates who are enthusiastic about the job and excited to learn new things. Instead of making the interview all about your skill set, also talk about your genuine interest in the particular field and why you think you can contribute to the company. Make it clear that you are serious about landing this job and not just so-so interested. If something excites you, share the excitement! You’ll be sure to stand out for your honesty.

Additionally, keep in mind that companies want to hire candidates that can fit well with their working company culture and team. If you don’t know much about the company to begin with, be sure to go through their social media platforms, such as their Facebook page and Twitter feed. Scrolling through the company’s social media posts will give you a better idea of its brand personality and tone. During the phone call, make it clear that you can fit in well in the company with your personality and adaptability.

Using these tips, you put yourself in a good position to get called in for a face-to-face interview and one step closer to landing the job!

Are your phone interviews turning into missed opportunities? Don’t fret! Our professional interview coaches and career experts can help.

The Purpose Of Phone Interviews

Phone Interview Tips – How to Prepare for a Phone Interview

Its no secret that people under the age of 35 tend to dislike talking on the phone. So, why do some employers and colleges insist on conducting phone interviews?

It mostly comes down to convenience and necessity. Some employers may end up having far more qualified applicants than they can realistically interview. To narrow down their pool of applicants, theyll use phone interviews to identify the top finalists.

During a phone interview, most employers have the following objectives:

  • To confirm the applicants interest in the position.
  • To make sure that you have the required skills they need.
  • To assess cultural fit.
  • To get a better idea of your expectations, especially on salary and benefits.

In college admissions, phone interviews are typically conducted by college representatives and former students. These interviews are slightly lower stakes in that your phone interview likely wont make or break your chances of admission. Still, you should come into the interview with an idea of what college interview questions will be asked and how you want to answer them.

The main objectives of a college interview include:

  • To get to know the applicant a little better, beyond their test scores and grades.
  • To confirm the applicants interest in the college.
  • To discuss the students educational and career goals.
  • To answer questions about the college.

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How To Conduct A Phone Screen Interview

Once youre ready to start conducting phone screening interviews, the process is relatively straightforward. Follow these steps:

Step 1. Prepare your questions: Draw on what is most important for this role, then base your questions around these factors.

Step 2. Schedule the interview: Reach out to each applicant you wish to screen and ask them to schedule an interview session. To make this easier, use scheduling software such as Calendly, Acuity Scheduling, or HubSpot Meetings.

Step 3. Start with a polite and brief introduction: Introduce yourself to the candidate, including your role within the company and hiring process, then begin with your interview questions, starting with the easier questions and leading to the more technical or in-depth questions.

Step 4. Ask the same main questions for each candidate: This helps you to assess each candidate on a level playing field and makes a comparison between interviews much easier. By sticking to a group of core questions, you can branch-off with related follow-up questions, if necessary.

Step 5. Take notes: During the phone screen interviews, take notes of any notable responses or information that will later help you determine if the candidate is worthy of a follow-up interview for the role.

Step 6. Ask the candidate if they have any questions: This is one of the last, vital steps in the phone interview process and allows a candidate to clarify any information or showcase further knowledge about the company or role.

Prepare Your Own Cheat Sheet

Like all good interviews, its not just about answering questions, but asking the right ones as well.

The right questions not only help you get information you might need to make an informed decision regarding the job, but it also helps confirm your qualifications as the ideal candidate for the position.

Ask about the different aspects of the job and express genuine interest and excitement in the opportunity.

Take the time to make sure that this is the organization you want to work foritll save you a ton of heartache and headaches in the long run.

Dont be afraid to dig for more details about the position and the company.

Ask questions about the job that werent covered in the job postingask about specifics and get details.

You need to know exactly what youre getting into before you say yes to the job

Make sure you prepare your own list of questions before you start. Make sure your questions are thoughtful and have a purpose.

Need some examples to use or ideas to kick start your own list? Check out our Top 14 Questions to Ask In An Interview blog post.

Remember though to keep these questions short and sweet. Again, remember, Its not about you, its about them. How can you fulfill their needs?

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Purpose Of Virtual Interviews

This type of interview has become increasingly popular. Companies can interview candidates who are far away and save money on travel costs. It is better than phone interview because the interviewer can see the candidates clothing and both can see each others body language and facial expressions which contribute to the communication process.

Prepare With Questions Of Your Own

Preparing for a Phone Screen Interview

Heres a hint from a hiring managers perspective: its not a good sign when the candidate hasnt preparedquestions of their own.

In addition to demonstrating and articulating technical skills and general professionalism, prepare for your technical phone screening by learning everything you can about the company, the role, and your own ambitions. Prepare some questions based on what you discover.

The company: Yes, you are hoping to be a fit for the company. But is the company is a fit for you? Find out everything you can about its history, mission statement and values, and HR policies. Do your own research first and dont be afraid to take it further with questions. Consider asking your interviewer about their own experience with the company.

The role: Is this a new position? Is it an existing one that has seen frequent turnover? Is it part of a bigger team? Who will you be collaborating with and/or reporting to? What resources are available when you need support? Are there opportunities for professional development, education, and growth? What technologies, frameworks, and tools are they currently using?

About the Author

Chris Polonchek

Chris Polonchek is a software development manager at an energy investment company in Palo Alto. He has a degree in computer engineering. Outside of work, he enjoys cycling, surfing, cooking, and spending time with his family.

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