How to ace a phone screen

02.10.2012


How to ace a phone screen
Companies and staffing firms are making heavy use of phone screening to narrow down the wide pool of applicants.

With a tepid job market and a wealth of candidates applying for every available position, companies and employment agencies are making heavy use of phone screening to narrow down the pool of potential employees.

This initial screening could potentially be conducted via Skype or video conferencing, but staffing experts state that the telephone will remain the most likely medium for this process, at least in the short term, according to Forbes.

A person preparing for a phone interview should identify in advance how long it will last, which can be very helpful information when getting ready, according to U.S. News & World Report. A call lasting 15 minutes will probably entail a far different conversation than a call that is scheduled to last between 45 minutes and one hour.

Individuals can benefit from having materials ready for reference and having notes in front of them, the media outlet reports. They can use these to make sure they ask all the questions they want and address the issues that need to covered. Applicants can also use pre-written notes in order to effectively answer challenging questions.

Aside from preparing for the interview by having written notes, job seekers should be sure to familiarize themselves with the company website and the description of the position, according to the news source. Being able to answer what the job is and why the applicant would would be a good fit is crucial for making a strong first impression. People should not be worried if they are not a perfect fit for the stated job requirements, but they need to show that they have considered how their experience is related to the varying tasks.

Once the interview begins, people can utilize various strategies in order to get the most out of their opportunity. It is important for the job seeker to realize that although he is not right in front of the hiring manager, much can be transmitted by how a person presents himself over the phone, according to Boston Globe.

Individuals should find an environment free of distractions, such as a quiet space or personal office. Coffee shops are not a great place to talk to potential employers, the publication reports. Applicants who are distracted by coworkers, animals, kids or coworkers can make a bad impression and also have their ability to focus undermined, according to U.S. News & World Report.

People involved in phone interviews often only have a brief 20 to 30 minutes to impress a hiring manager, so they need to be prepared and know how to respond to different questions. The interviewer also must be sure to listen attentively, since he or she will not be able to view the body language of the hiring manager.

During the interview, applicants should be prepared to discuss several important matters including salary requirements. Although many job seekers are reluctant to talk about salary in the beginning of the application process, hiring managers might require the discussion to see if the applicant and the employer are in the same range for compensation.

People should be prepared with various questions so they can gather information and display interest. The person interviewing should ask the hiring manager what he or she is looking for in a person who will fill the position, according to Forbes. A good way of phrasing this important question is "I’ve read the position description, but I’d love to hear in your words what you’re looking for in this role."

Once the call is winding down, the applicant should be sure to ask what the next steps are and when a reply should be anticipated from the hiring manager, according to U.S. News & World Report. This question will express interest and also help the applicant to figure out when to expect a response. 

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