Phone it in! How to Prepare for Phone Screenings vs. Face-to-face Interviews

September 7th, 2011

Today’s recruiters are overwhelmed with candidate resumes from tens of thousands of job seekers out there on the market. Additionally, there are many more candidates vying for remote work opportunities, which make it difficult and costly to set up face-to-face interviews. To improve efficiency, many hiring managers are resorting to initial telephone screens to focus on the highest quality candidates. That means candidates must be able to adapt by being prepared for phone screens in order to stay in the hiring pile. Here’s helpful advice on how to prepare for the big call.

Schedule the phone screen. Instead of an impromptu telephone call with a recruiter, ask to be scheduled for a call at a time when you can give your 100% focus. Most hiring professionals will be happy to do this, unless they need to hire someone on the spot. Choose a spot that is noise-free and avoid any distractions during the time the call will take place. If you have children or noisy pets, get a babysitter and head for a quieter environment.

Ask for a full job description. One of the biggest mistakes that job seekers make is forgetting that the job advertisement is limited in what it explains about the actual job. Never assume you know everything about the expectations of this role. You may be way off target and answer the screening question incorrectly. Ask the recruiter to email you an actual job description so you can have a copy of it to refer to.

Do your research. One of the things that the recruiter is going to be listening for during the phone screen is how well you’ll fit into the corporate environment if offered a job. Use the time before the phone interview to research the company website and any reviews about the company, including information about the industry. When you are on the phone with the interviewer, knowing some facts about the company will help you outshine other candidates.

Communicate well. When in a phone interview, you wont have the advantage of eye contact or other forms of body language to make a good impression. Therefore, you will need to convey intelligence and friendliness through your speech alone. Practice a little pre-interview talking by recording your voice on your computer. Listen for “um’s” “ahhs”, and other annoying sounds – then work on eliminating these from your speech patterns before your call.

Relax and breath. You want to sound confident so be sure to take cleansing breaths and sit up straight during the phone interview to sound better. If you get too anxious, take a moment to sip a glass of water and just remember to breath. Your brain needs oxygen to think correctly, so pay attention if you start to hold your breath during the interview. You’ll sound great and the person on the other end will have a good impression of you.

Want more interview preparation tips like these? Visit our website at The Suburban Group today and feel free to browse through our blog for more job seeker resources.

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