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How to Ace the Phone Screen

Updated: Feb 8


Every job you’ve ever had started the same way: with a phone call. Every job you ever will have will start the same way. No matter how complicated, or simple, a job is, no matter how much thought or physical effort will be required, all jobs start with a phone call.


Think about it – the one thing that has to happen for anyone to be hired anywhere is that a company has to begin a conversation with a candidate. And that conversation begins with a phone call.


That phone call is partly for the company to introduce itself, but it’s also to gauge your interest, and suitability, for the job they have in mind for you. This is known as a phone screen, and although it’s only one phone call, it can be very important to you.


What is a Phone Screen?


A phone screen is a brief phone call with someone involved in hiring for a position. Generally, this call is less than 30 minutes long. These phone calls are used by companies to narrow down the list of job applicants to those who will most likely be a good fit for the job, and who should advance in the hiring process. If you get a call for a phone screen, it means that you passed the first step in the interview process.


Often, the phone screen is presented as an informal, casual conversation with a company about a job you might be interested in. But just because it’s informal doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be treated seriously.


How to Prepare for the Phone Screen


The phone screen is your first chance to make a good impression on a potential employer. Your goal with the phone screen should be to get invited for another interview. Here are some tips to prepare for what may be the first phone call with your next employer.


Plan for the phone screen


If at all possible, schedule the phone screen ahead of time. It’s likely to be a short call, but if you’re prepared, you’ll have the best chance of making a good impression and advancing further in the hiring process.


Do your homework


Take the time to read about the company and re-read the job description. If you’re in an active job search, you have likely read several job descriptions and postings, so don’t rely on your memory.


Be sure to write down questions about the company and the job. The call will be short, so that means that you need to make your questions count. Remember that while they’re evaluating you as a potential employee, you’re evaluating them as a potential employer.


Make sure you’re someplace quiet and comfortable


Anytime you have a remote interview, you’ll have the best results if you’re someplace that’s quiet, free from distractions, and comfortable. Make sure you add buffer time around the phone call in case the interview goes longer than you first thought, or if the interviewer is delayed.


Be prepared to write


Quick – pull out a pen and paper to write on. Were you able to do it in just a few seconds? Be honest!


When it comes to your phone screen, you’ll want to be able to write down questions, notes, and any further instructions, like email addresses and websites. Most people need time to get a pen and something to write on. If you’re ready to write, you’ll show that you think ahead.


Sit up straight and smile


During the phone call, sit up straight and smile. It may sound silly, but you can hear someone’s smile during a phone call. And sitting up straight will help you answer in a clear voice, which will help you make a good impression.


Let Optimum Staffing Solutions Guide You

Optimum Staffing Solutions can help both candidates and employers with the placement of accounting professionals. For the best staffing agencies in Greensboro, NC, as well as for the best staffing agencies in Charlotte, NC, contact Optimum Staffing Solutions.


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