Career Resources Phone Screen Tips

When participating in a telephone interview/screen, the following tips will put you in the best position for a successful interaction.

  1. Stand up; you will be less nervous and will project better.
  2. Enthusiasm and passion are all you have to sell.
  3. Have a copy of your resume in front of you so you can see what the hiring authority is seeing.
  4. Know your background. Review your past job history, including dates.
  5. Think about the key functions of this job… where have you had experience and SUCCESS in similar responsibilities in your past? Know/review the job description and the company’s Web site so you are informed.
  6. ONLY use a cell phone if you are stationary and KNOW you will have good reception. Do not risk being mobile and dropping the call. (Not to mention, you should be prepared to take notes on the conversation.)
  7. Focus! Distractions are a killer. i.e.; emails popping up, barking dog, screaming kids, etc.
  8. Use notes rather than a script.
  9. Active listening - watch the flow of the conversation, is there a balance between who is talking and who is listening?
  10. Be sure to avoid cutting the other person off. (It’s very important to be aware of who is speaking.)
  11. Have a series of questions ready. Choose questions that show you've done some homework (maybe refer to a recent press release from the Web site).
  12. You must try to find out if there are any questions about your credentials. Flush out objections with, "Is there anything about our conversation today that would keep you from setting up a second interview?"
  13. If you are interested in pursuing—let them know. Try to close on the next step:
    "I've enjoyed our conversation. There is only so much we can cover on the phone, when can I meet you (or have another phone call)?"

Phone Calls Are Different than Face to Face…
"Let me share with you the benefit of what I've learned from the countless debriefs I've done. I would say that at least 50% of the time, when one of my clients decides not to pursue one of my candidates it's because the candidate dominated the call and did all the talking. A lot of candidates feel like they need to take their entire [15] year career and cover it in a 40 minute phone call. The thing to remember about phone interviews is that you can't read your audience. You are unable to tell how engaged the hiring authority is. Therefore, you need to make sure you are answering each question concisely and check in with your audience regularly. Very often a person excels not in the content of their answers, but on the quality of their questions. Open ended, thought provoking questions that show that you've done some preliminary research and have reflected on this opportunity are ideal.
The goal is the next step. The interview (call) is a success if you are invited in for a face-to-face interview or are told what the next steps will look like. You should close with:
"I know you are busy but there is only so much we can measure on the phone. Based on what I've accomplished in my career and what you've shared with me as to what needs to be accomplished, I think we should meet. When are you available?"

Some Tested Questions You Can Ask:
"How can I make an immediate impact?"
“If there is one thing you would change about your work environment what would that be?”
“How would my success be measured?”
“What is your background?”
“What attracted you to the company and what keeps you there?”

EdgeLink is a boutique staffing firm based in Portland, OR that specializes in technology placement.  We develop close, long-term relationships with proven and promising technology companies that value strong ethics, integrity, and a winning attitude. These partnerships provide solid opportunities for talented individuals seeking the next step in their careers.