The Phone Screening Interview

Woman on cell phone in front of moneyCompanies frequently decide to interview candidates over the phone as a first step in the screening process. Use these helpful tips to make your interview impressive and increase your success.

Step 1: Be ready to talk.

  • If the interviewer has called without notice, ask to call him/her back. This gives you time to gather your thoughts and your materials.
  • Have your resume, calendar and paper and pencil handy.
  • Limit distractions. Go to a quiet place without computer, TV, other phones, etc. Don’t answer other callers!
  • Never talk and eat or chew gum at the same time.
  • Sit up, be alert and smile. Your personality will come through the phone even though the interviewer cannot see you.

Step 2: Listen carefully.

  • Write the caller’s name down. Ask the caller to repeat it, if you need to.
  • If you are able, write down the interviewer’s questions. This will keep you focused.
  • If you don’t understand a question, ask the interviewer to repeat it.

Man on cell phone Step 3: Provide brief, thoughtful answers.

  • Give short, to-the-point answers that demonstrate how your qualifications and past experience fit the job.
  • Think S.T.A.R. when you answer. What activities in your past can you talk about that will demonstrate your ability to do this job?
    • What was the Situation?
    • What was the Task to be done?
    • What Action did you take?
    • What was the Result?

Step 4: Ask your own questions.

  • Ask the interviewer some specifics about the duties and responsibilities of the job.
  • Ask about the company or department.
  • Ask what the next step will be in the interviewing process.