How To Prepare For And Crack Phone Screen Interviews At Faang
Your resume has passed the complicated application tracking system of FAANG, and you have received an email from the recruiter for an initial phone screen interview.
What is a phone screen interview, and what role does it play in the hiring process?
A phone screening interview is a brief job interview to determine whether you’re a qualified applicant. In most cases, it includes a quick review of your background and a few questions around your qualifications, skills, interests, and projects. In some cases, the interviewer may also want to know your salary expectations and how soon you can join them.
Sounds simple enough?
But donât take them for granted! Phone screen interviews are just as important as onsite or in-person interviews â adequately preparing for them and doing well can have a positive impact on your success.
However, before you start preparing, you must understand what to expect at FAANG phone screen interviews.
Resist The Urge To Multitask
It might be tempting to cross something off your to-do list while on a phone interview, but recruiters and hiring managers can easily tell if your attention is elsewhere. âMy number one pet peeve is people who decide to multitask while on the phone interview,â says Dan Krupansky, Talent Acquisition Manager at PrimePay. âI have heard candidates washing dishes, making lunch in the microwave, going for walks, letting their dog out, and grocery shopping during the interview. I even had one person use the bathroom and flush the toilet while speaking with me.â Needless to say, this doesnât reflect well on your level of interest in the position youâre interviewing for.
During The Phone Interview
Without the advantage of having visual cues during a phone interview, you may want to tweak the usual interview procedures so that things run smoothly.
Ask questions just as you would in an in-person interview. Before hanging up, reiterate your interest in the job and ask about the next steps in the hiring process.
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Questions To Reveal Organizational Skills
Finding an employee who can stay on task and organized is crucial in picking the right candidate. You want to find someone dedicated to completing their responsibilities on time, without having to be micromanaged.
It can be challenging to determine a persons organizational skills through a simple phone call, but if you are video chatting, you can use the time to take in the persons appearance and the area around them.
A disheveled appearance or a cluttered work area can signify someone who doesnt put much thought into organization.
Try asking these pre-screening questions for your candidates to determine their opinions on organization and time management:
- Do you have experience working on more than one project at a time?
- How do you prioritize tasks?
- What tools do you use to manage projects, so theyre completed by the due date?
Are You Interviewing With Other Companies
You might be asked to explain where you are in the hiring process with other companies in a phone interview. This can be helpful for recruiters to understand how quickly they should move you through the process. If you are already interviewing for other positions, for example, you might be a higher-risk candidate than those simply in the searching phase. To answer this question, be honest about your current situation but dont feel the need to go into detail.
Example answer:While I feel this role is the better fit for what Im looking for, I am in discussions with three other employers.
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Questions To Ask Prior To The Interview
If you’re lucky enough to have a phone interview that is scheduled in advance, get in touch with the recruiter to figure out what to prepare. For instance, it would be really helpful to know the name of who will be interviewing you. If it’s the hiring manager, then you should read up about their scope of work and areas of interest.
Additionally, you should also try to discern what type of interview this will be. If it’s a behavioral interview, you’ll need to prepare for questions about your experiences at your previous positions, such as Describe a decision you made that was unpopular and how you handled implementing it. If it’s a product-focused interview, you might be asked questions like Have you consistently met your sales goals?. Knowing what type of interview it’ll be will help your preparation tremendously.
Another good strategy is to ask the recruiter if there’s anything in particular that you should focus your preparation on. For example, some recruiters might want to discuss more of your technical expertise, and in such a case, it’s always better to prepare points and examples ahead of time on the topic.
Describe A Time You Were Instructed To Change Your Actions To Meet The Needs Of Another Person Do You Feel That Demand Was Fair
The recruiters perpsective: When they ask if the demand was fair, they can suss out if has resentment theyre going to carry into whatever they do. With startups, you need somebody who can come in and modify their actions. So, you want to evaluate how they handle that situation. All of that information will help you decide if they fit into the company culture.
The answer: First, I would recommend look at the top three bullets in the roles job requirements. Then come up with a story you can give in 90 seconds or less about an experience in your own work life that is applicable. Try to include metrics, whether its the amount of money involved or the timeline of the experience. That way, the recruiter can start to visualize what youve accomplished.
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Confirm The Scheduled Time
Before the day of your interview, confirm the date and time so youre sure to pick up when the call comes in. Writing down the scheduled time, adding it to your calendar or setting it as a reminder on your phone are great ways to make sure you are ready for the scheduled interview. Your punctuality can help make a good impression on your prospective employer.
The Importance Of Phone Interviews
Phone interviews can make or break your candidacy for a job. While they are a good means for an employer to save the time and costs required to interview candidates in person, they are by their very nature impersonal.
In some cases, you wont even be talking to a hiring managera human resources staffer or an administrative assistant may simply ask you a preset list of questions and record your answers for later review by their superior.
These types of interviews thus come with their own special challenges. For one thing, a phone interview is likely the first time youll speak directly with a representative from the employer, and you wont be able to rely upon body language to build rapport. And, unlike emailing back and forth, a phone interview offers no chance to re-read and re-formulate your thoughts.
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What Are You Passionate About
Understanding what you are passionate about or what motivates you might help employers decide whether you might be a good fit for the position. If you are passionate about helping people, for example, and are interviewing for a largely independent role with little interaction with others, the position might not be a good fit for you. To answer this question, think of broad ways you are motivated both in and out of work. Consider how your passions might align with the role.
Example answer:Im driven every day by the ability to create beautiful, innovative experiences for users all over the world. There is so much helpful, valuable digital information on the web. Designing it in a way that is easy for people to consume makes me feel like Im truly making a difference for people to access whatever it is that helps them live to their true potentialeven if only in a small way.
Tell Me What You Know About The Role
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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Questions About The New Job And The Company
One of the best ways to rise above your competition in a phone interview is to show that youve taken the time to research the employers company, history, culture, and mission statement. Explain how your experience could help the company if you were to be hired, and share what you’ve learned about the organization.
- Why do you want this job? – Best Answers
- What experience do you have? – Best Answers
- What can you do for this company? – Best Answers
- What do you know about this company? – Best Answers
- What challenges are you looking for in a position? – Best Answers
- What can you contribute to this company? – Best Answers
Things To Never Do During A Phone Interview
These days, phone interviews are an unavoidable part of the job interview process, and for good reason: They save everyone involved time and effort. But that doesnât mean that phoners require zero energy on the part of the candidate. Yes, you should spend more time preparing for an in-person interview, but many companies treat phone screens as the official first round of the hiring process. That means candidates are expected to go into them prepared with as much information about the company, position, and their own skills and strengths as possible.
We asked HR pros about their top phone interview pet peeves, they had no shortage of advice to offer. Apparently, itâs quite easy to mess up your phone interview. But hereâs the thing itâs also not hard to come across well if you keep some key things in mind.
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The Bottom Line With Phone Screen Interviews
Phone screen interviews are typically the first hurdle in the interview process used by employers to quickly separate the qualified from the unqualified job candidates. Follow these 12 steps to succeed in your next phone screen interview, and youll be invited to continue the interviewing process. These steps will guide you successfully through the telephone interview. Remember, do not leave this interview to chance prepare now for success!
Why Are You Applying For This Position
Another common question, Why are you applying for this position? or What about this job interests you? tells employers whether or not you are serious and have a genuine interest in pursuing the position. To answer this question, use details listed in the job description that made you want to apply. This can be duties listed in the job description, details about the company or something about the job that aligns with your career goals.
Example answer:Ive been working for several years on gaining skills in your industry. I feel I have the knowledge, skills and qualifications youre looking for, along with a unique perspective coming from a different industry. I am passionate about working in the environmental protection space, and it is time for me to make a change. I feel your company is the perfect place for me to do that.
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Phone Screen The Common Mistakes
Phone screens are the great unknowns in the job interview process. I believe the phone interview is the easiest interview to prepare for and the intent of this post is provide reasons why and confidence. My goal is to change your view and potential fears of the phone interview.
Most candidates fear the phone screen because we dont know what to expect with this first call. If we do well in the phone interview and land the coveted in-person interview, we have an indication of what to expect based on the initial phone screen. When it comes to in-person interviews, recruiters will often give the candidates some insight into what to expect and the names of the folks conducting the interviews. On the flip side, the phone interview is first contact and we dont know what to expect or prepare for.
If you are having a tough time moving past the phone screen, then you are probably missing something important on this call and hopefully, this post will help.
First and foremost, we need to be positive about the phone interview. Thinking about failure will become a self fulfilling prophecy and recruiters can sense interview insecurity. It doesnt smell or wear well. Remember, preparation is the best way to project confidence.
HRNastys reasons on why you should NOT be fearful of the phone screen
If you landed a phone interview then you can assume the hiring manager feels you are qualified.
How To Handle Unexpected & Unscheduled Phone Screen Interviews
When the unexpected call happens, you can take one of two approaches accept the call, or ask to reschedule because you are unable to talk at that moment.
The best approach is to ask for a better time when you are in a quiet, safe environment, have your notes in front of you, and are mentally prepared for the interview.
Good interviewers usually schedule the interview in advance.
Sometimes the calls come out of the blue when you answer your phone!
If you currently have a job, do NOT take this call in your workplace! Your boss or a co-worker may interrupt and may also discover your job search, putting your job at risk!
Most recruiters and employers will understand that their timing may not be right and be willing to reschedule. Dont ask to reschedule to a date in the distant future. Choose some time within the next few hours or next day, if possible.
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What Kind Of Role Are You Looking For
The recruiters perspective: We want people who are going to be in a role that they will enjoy and that theyre going to stay in for a long time. Being really specific about what you like and dislike and the role you see yourself in is better for everybody in the long run. It also gives the recruiter an area to focus on to give you your next steps.
The answer: Ive had people who will go through the job description bullet by bullet, but thats not what were looking for. The answers that impress me are when a candidate goes the extra mile and shows that they know a lot about our company. They might reference a quote from an interview our CEO did and why it piqued their interest in the role, or reference a company value. Its impressive when people can share an example of how they embody a company value and why it speaks to them.
Send A Thank You Email After Phone Interview
No, this isnt a good enough thank you note!
Remember, this stage is about making good first impressions and the fact that youre doing this all via phone makes the follow up even more critical.
Make sure you not only end your phone call on a positive note, but follow up in a timely manner with a thoughtful thank you email after your interview.
Let the interviewer know you appreciated them taking time to talk to you and that you enjoyed it and that you are invested in the process.
It will help you stand out and reinforce that youre truly interested in the position. Above all remember that the focus here is on how you add value to the company, not just what your past experiences are and what youre good at.
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Potential Fit Into Companys Culture
I look for candidates that have a variety of experience, specifically if they have community and leadership experience in addition to professional work experience. I look for candidates that give back outside of their day-to-day roles, by getting involved and giving back in some capacity. In an initial phone screen, I want to learn a succinct background on the individual, I want them to be prepared, confident, polite, professional, and have good communication skills. A thank you email or card afterward is always a great sign too.
Typical Phone Interview Questions
Phone interviews are conducted just like in-person interviews. They are used by hiring managers and recruiters as a tool for screening candidates for employment.
Its important to take time to review the typical phone interview questions youll be asked and to prepare answers. In addition, plan on being prepared for a phone conversation about your background and skills.
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