Many companies do phone screens before they bring candidates in for an in-person interview. And of course if you don’t pass the phone screen, your chances of getting to the next level of interviews are nil.
Since the phone screen is an important part of the interview process, here are some tips for making sure you do well:
1) Don’t get caught off guard. If a recruiter calls you and wants to talk without a scheduled time for a phone interview, it may not be best to talk at that moment. You may not have mentally or physically prepared for the interview. You can tell the recruiter that this isn’t a good time for you and that you need to schedule the interview for another time. This will give you more time to follow some of the steps below.
2) Prepare yourself appropriately. Preparation includes not just preparing for commonly asked questions, but also preparing your environment for the interview. Job seekers should ensure that they have a quiet place for the phone interview with no interruptions. That means making sure that everyone in your household keeps all noise away from the place where you will be conducting your interview. You will come across as very unprofessional if the interviewer can hear the dog barking and the children screaming.
It’s also best to use a landline phone instead of a cell phone for your phone interview. You don’t want your call to drop while you are being interviewed. The other issue with cell phones is that reception can be poor in some areas. If you have to use a cell phone, try to find a spot where the sound comes through clearly.
3) Be ready to handle the salary question. Even though you as a job seeker don’t want to discuss salary prematurely (before an offer is made), it is very common for interviewers to screen potential candidates over the phone and find out if the two parties are in the same ballpark as far as salary is concerned. If the interviewer presses you for an answer about what salary you are looking for, give a salary range based on the research that you have done. That will still give you room to negotiate once you have made an offer. If you give a specific dollar amount, you then lock yourself in and don’t leave much room for negotiation.
Take advantage of www.salary.com and find salary surveys done by professional associations so that you know what the going rate is for your profession in the geographic location that you are interested in.
4) Be likeable. The recruiter has already determined from your resume that you have the qualifications for the job. What is most important at this point is that you confirm the recruiter’s positive impression of you. Your smile will come through over the phone even though the interviewer cannot see you. It’s also a good idea to say, “Hmm,” or “Yes” when the interviewer is speaking so that the person knows that you are paying attention.
5) Align your skills with the position. Match your skills to the organization’s requirements as closely as you can so that you reinforce for the interviewer that you are the best person for the job. This means that you will need to read the vacancy announcement again carefully before your phone interview. You can jot down notes to yourself about your skill set as it relates to the requirements of the position.
*Need help preparing for a phone screen? Don’t take chances with your career. Talk to a certified career coach today who can help you ace that interview. Call 877-743-9521 or send an email to email@example.com.