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 Did You Leave/are You Leaving Your Last Position
While it might feel like the interviewer is digging for dirt, theres actually a larger purpose to this question: Why you left a previous job can say a lot about your work ethic and attitude.
This should not stop you from being honest if you were terminated for whatever reason. Being laid off or fired isnt something to be ashamed about, nor is it always entirely your fault. And overcoming it professionally and proactively only impresses an interviewer more.
Skip The Money Conversation
To put it bluntly, itâs simply too early in the process for you to be the one who brings up salary expectations. âChances are if a candidate is participating in a phone interview, this is the first time they have talked with the company, and the first call isn’t the appropriate time to talk about âwhat’s in it for you,ââ says Justina Strnad, the Talent Acquisition Manager for Shiftgig. âTrust me, if you are a great candidate and make it to next steps, the hiring team is going to be very transparent about what’s in it for you later on!â
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So Here’s Some Advice On What To Say To Start Your Call:
- If you are expecting to do a job interview by phone, don’t answer with an empty “hello” followed by silence and crickets.
- Answer using your first name. Keep it professional. After years in business, when answering the phone I always say “Good afternoon, this is Bob.”
- Try saying it out loud: “Good afternoon, this is _______________.”
Sorry if I’m insulting your intelligence here! … but you wouldn’t believe the number of qualified-seeming candidates that start out on the wrong foot on the first call. Don’t be one of those people.
Again, you are making a first impression. Saying a couple more syllables when you answer the phone for your interview gives the caller a better sense of your vibe, right off the bat. It makes THEM more comfortable. Use your first name when you answer, and be upbeat. Set the tone.
“Hi, this is Alan Smithee calling from XYZ corp. We got your resume and I wanted to ask you a couple questions. Is this a good time?”
You: “Oh great, thanks so much for calling! Yes, please, go ahead. How can I help you?”
Or: “Fantastic. I’m glad you called. Yes it’s a great time to talk! What can I do for you?”
Or: “Oh hi Alan, I’m so glad you called! I’ve been really excited to speak with you guys but I’m in the middle right now. Can I shift gears then call you back in about 10? … What number should I ring you at? Ok, 10 minutes. Thanks! bye bye.”
Do Prepare And Practice Your Teaser Trailer
Any interview is a chance to convince a potential employer that youre awesome, but in a phone interview, theres just not much time. The last thing you want is to hang up the phone without convincing the interviewer that youre amazing and would be a great fit for their company!
With your prepared talking points at hand, your interview will be a lot more successful than if you were just winging it.
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Use Proper Phone Interview Etiquette
Answer the phone yourself, let family members and/or roommates know you are expecting a call. When you answer the phone, answer with your name i.e. Jane Doe so the interviewer knows they have reached the right person.
Use the interviewers title during the conversation . Only use a first name if they ask you to. Otherwise, use the formal title.
Listen to the interviewer and dont interrupt. If you have something you want to say, jot it down on your note pad and mention it when its your turn to talk.
If you need a few seconds to gather your thoughts, dont worry, but dont leave too much dead air. If you need the interviewer to repeat the question, ask.
Avoid Reciting From Paper
Some candidates use phone screens as an opportunity to script their answers and read them word for word. This takes away from having an authentic conversation, and most interviewers can sense when you are reciting from a script. Instead, you can have a few bullet points written out that you want to make sure you cover in the conversation and also have your resume handy so you can speak to specifics when asked.
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Interviews Can Be Nerve
- Some of the most common mistakes job candidates make are not following up, following up too much and arriving late to the interview.
- Hiring managers mess up by not remaining objective, allowing social media to influence their decisions or talking too much.
- If you do mess up, the best thing you can do is acknowledge it quickly and rectify your mistake.
The interview is the toughest part of the job application process it can be nerve-wracking and intense, and it’s often difficult to prepare for. Mistakes are easy to make when you’re nervous, and the unfortunate truth is that sometimes one mistake is enough to take you out of the running.
It’s not just job candidates under pressure, either. Interviewers are just as prone to making pressure-induced mistakes.
Business News Daily spoke to hiring experts to learn the most common mistakes job candidates and interviewers make during the interviewing process, as well as how you can recover if you do slip up.
Job Interview By Phone
10 years later, in 1993, I finally realized the mistake I had made. It wasn’t until I noticed a pattern in some of the weaker candidates I was interviewing that I realized I had been making the same mistake myself.
If you know me, I’m a pretty chipper person. Usually a pretty positive guy. And throughout my career I’ve generally kept a great attitude and I’ve been able to recover gracefully from the inevitable disappointments that happen.
But back then I was in a slump. I was de-motivated because I was at a company selling an uncompetitive product I didn’t really believe in. I started to feel really beat down. If you’ve ever been on the job hunt for an extended period of time, then you know what I mean.
So I started looking around and interviewing for a new position. And in those days the “screener” interview by phone was the absolute first point of contact after you sent in your paper resume. There was no social media for employers to use to pre-screen you like they do today.
So I was getting nibbles on my resume and some initial calls from employers, but I after my first round of phone interviews I got absolutely zero callbacks. I would do another phoner. No callback. Then another. Silence. I knew I must be doing something wrong, but I wasn’t sure what. Here’s what I learned the hard way:
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I Enjoyed Learning About Your Company Through My Research
Researching the company in addition to understanding the job qualifications shows your interest in the organization’s culture, history, and overall approach to business practices. You can also gain insight into how your values connect with the company’s mission and ethics, which is beneficial for assessing your interest in the job. Letting the interviewer know you’re excited about the company builds a positive impression of your fit for the role and addition to the company’s culture.
I Enjoyed Visiting With Staff Members
When you arrive at your interview, greet receptionists and other staff members and introduce yourself. This can help you make a positive impression on other staff members of the organization. Mentioning that you introduced yourself and are excited about working with other team members in the company can further demonstrate your motivation, professionalism, and outgoing approaches to building relationships at work.
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What You Need To Say In Phone Interviews
February 6, 2013 By Teena Rose, Interview Coach | 325-2149
Partaking in phone interviews seems like it would take some pressure off the entire interviewing process but sadly, no. Phone interviews are perceived as being an informal means of securing a job, and yet job seekers make some of the most critical mistakes during this so-called easy interview.
Its important to recognize why phone interviews are becoming popular.
Time is one of the biggest factors. As hiring managers take on more responsibilities, theyre also looking for find time-saving techniques too.
Fitting into busy schedules, the interviewer can discuss matters with a potential candidate prior to an official meeting thats a big plus. Phone interviews are quick means for clarifying discrepancies within a candidates background or conduct an informal introduction discuss the position and/or, ask for additional career information.
Although a phone interview caters to employers, it sometimes doesnt have the same affect for interviewees.
Without an outline or list of potential answers, these types of discussions can get casual so the goal is to stay on point and avoid talking about unrelated and untargeted subjects.
An example of an outline that might look like this:
Management Sales Personnel Managed upwards of 28 engineers at each position handled personnel budget Continuously restructure the corporate training program, which reduces staff turnover by 2%-3% per year
Thank You For Meeting With Me
Showing your appreciation for the interviewer’s time after you introduce yourself demonstrates your consideration of others’ schedules and priorities. It’s also important to be prompt to your interview, further showcasing your time management skills and ability to meet deadlines. Expressing your gratitude to your interviewer personally shows you’re aware of their role in the company and that you’re considerate of their time.
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These Buzzwords And Phrases Are Music To Any Hiring Managers Ears
Prepare what you want to say in your job interview.
Sweaty palms. Nervous laughter. Fidgeting. Welcome to the job interview! Unless youre made of titanium, the question-and-answer process is likely to rattle your nerves no matter how many years youve been working a job.
Thing is, the key to acing your next job interview is pretty simple: Say the things that hiring managers want to hear. Thats not meant to be a joke! The core goal of every job interview is to impressing a hiring manager. Granted, all jobs demand different skills, but there are a few universal phrases that will go over well no matter what industry youre in or what position youre interviewing for.
Check out these phrases and buzzwords that will delight every hiring manager, and learn how and when to incorporate them into your interview answers.
Tell Me About Yourself/tell Me About Your Background
Recruiters and hiring managers will likely start a phone interview by asking about your background. This is a simple way for them to learn more about you. You should use this time to explain your relevant experience, what youre currently doing and why that makes you qualified. While you can include a few personal details that allow the employer to understand how you lead a well-balanced life, you should focus on professional qualifications and accomplishments.
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Are You Willing To Relocate
This is a logistical question for interviewers to weed out anyone whos immediately not a good fit purely based on where theyre located. This doesnt mean they wont consider letting you work remotely or paying for you to relocate if they really want you and can make it workbut it certainly gets considered when choosing between two great candidates.
Tell Me About Yourself
The key here is to be concise. The best answers to this interview question will be 90 seconds or less.
You want to answer in chronological order start with how you got into your current line of work or career path. Then talk about key accomplishments youve had along the way, key career moves youve made and why. Also include any promotions youve received.
Try to mention at least one thing that will make you memorable and stand out .
And then finish your story with your current situation. Describe what youre looking for now in your job search, and why.
See below for a full sample response, or read our full article on how to answer tell me about yourself.
I graduated five years ago with a degree in Chemistry. I took a job with Pfizer and was promoted after three years to lead projects in their cancer research division. Ive been in this Project Manager role for two years now and even won an award for outstanding leadership this past year. Everythings going great, but Id like to take my career to the next level by finding opportunities to lead larger teams. I saw on your job description that you mention this is an opportunity to lead teams of 8-10 people, so I was eager to learn more.
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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.
Focus And Cut Out All Distractions
Make sure youre not distracted. Turn off the TV. Let me repeat that. TURN OFF THE TV.
Nobody wants to ask you about your past performances and work history and hear Sponge Bob in the background. Dont think putting it on mute is good enough either. People can tell if youre distracted and delaying your answers to a potential employer because youre reading the crawler at the bottom of FOX News isnt going to score you any points.
Get comfortable, but dont get too comfortable.
Find a good spot to sit down and have all your prep materials nearby for easy access.
Sit at the kitchen table or at a desk.
Dont lay down. Dont slouch. Make sure distractions are not going to be an issue.
If youre doing the interview at home and youre not alone, make sure everyone knows youre going to be busy for a bit and to give you some privacy. Put the dogs outside. Pop in a video for the kids. Have your spouse keep everyone calm. At the very least go into a room where you can shut the door and focus on the task at hand.
So, now that youre up and dressed, lets get ready for that interview!
First and foremost, make sure youre presenting yourself in the most professional way possible, from the very first Hello, all the way to the Goodbye.
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If You Were Hired How Soon Can You Start
Oh boy. If youre an out of area hire and are required to relocate, this answer is far from a simple one.
First off, dont ever answer with Now! Not only will you come off as desperate, but if youre already employed with another job, youre going to have to do the right thing and give notice.
Its easy to get intimidated and over-commit to an early start datebut the worst thing you can do is give a date to a new employer and then have to ask for more time. Not the right way to start out your long and mutually beneficial working relationship! Then you have to factor in the actual logistics of making a move.
Even one just across town can be as daunting as one across statesor in some cases, countries! Depending on the size of your move you could be looking at anything from a few days to a few months.
Again, be honest!
Many employers, if theyre genuinely interested in hiring you, will have programs in place to help you relocate and ease the burdens that come with a full move.
If they dont, make sure to take that into consideration as well. Words to the wisealways ask for MORE time than you initially think youll need. Trust us, in the long run, its far better to have more time than you need than to run out and have to ask for an extension.
One thing NOT to focus on during an initial phone interview is salaryat least not until youve had a chance to read our article When And How To Discuss Salary During The Job Interview Process.