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What is a phone screen interview and how to ace it?

What is a phone screen interview and how to ace it?

  • What is a phone screen interview?
  • How do I prepare for a phone screening interview?
  • 1. Do your research
  • 2. Review the job thoroughly
  • 3. Listen carefully and take notes
  • 4. Ask questions
  • 5. Send a follow-up email
  • Commonly asked phone screen interview questions
  • Key takeaways

A phone screening interview is often the first step towards landing a job, but only if you do well in it. Read on to learn more about these interviews and how to ace them.

So you’ve received an invitation for a phone screen interview? Congratulations! While this type of interview is often considered to be the first step toward securing the job, it’s also a deal-breaker if you don’t do well. So what exactly is this interview and how do you do it well?

In this blog post, we’ll discuss:

  • What a phone screen interview is all about

  • How to ace a phone screen interview

What is a phone screen interview?

When you apply for a job and the recruiter shortlists your job application, they’re likely to schedule a phone screen interview with you. As the name implies, this type of interview occurs over the phone, and it’s an opportunity for the recruiter to  decide whether you qualify for the next round of interviews.

A phone screen interview typically lasts for 15-30 minutes, allowing the recruiter to screen a job applicant without the need to conduct a full interview, either in person or online.

The questions asked during a phone screening interview are straightforward and simple. The recruiter just wants to learn about you and why you want to apply for the job. Your responses will set the stage for the next round of interviews.

Expert Tip

The phone screen interview is a good time to discuss your salary expectations. For this reason, think about some salary negotiation tactics before heading to this interview. 

How do I prepare for a phone screening interview?

A phone screen interview is a good way for the recruiter to learn about you, and for you to learn a bit about the job role and the company. 

Here are five phone screen interview tips help you do well:

1. Do your research

Before the interview, find out about the company. How has the company’s performance been lately? What are people saying on job review sites, such as Glassdoor? Has the company recently won an award worth mentioning? What are the company’s mission and values, and how do they align with your goals? This research will make for some good discussion topics during the interview.

You can also check out the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile to get an idea of their career trajectory and tenure with the company. This will help you prepare some good questions for the recruiter. 

2. Review the job thoroughly

During the interview, the interviewer is likely to ask why you applied for the job, which is why it’s important to review the job details before the interview. If you can align your professional goals and interests with the job posting, you can increase your chances of making it to the next round of interviews. 

Another reason to review the job posting is to understand the full scope of work and determine an adequate compensation package. This research will come in handy when you’re sharing your salary expectations with the interviewer. 

3. Listen carefully and take notes

As the interview progresses, listen carefully and take notes. Since you’re on the phone and not making eye contact, it’s okay to take notes while the interviewer is talking. Listening attentively will help you frame your answers better. 

4. Ask questions

A two-way conversation is one of the hallmarks of a great interview. You’re not just responding to questions asked by the interviewer, but you’re also asking them relevant questions to keep the conversation flowing and engaging for everyone.

Since a phone screen interview is short, you wouldn’t want to bombard the interviewer with too many questions. At this point, your knowledge of the job is limited, so the interviewer is not expecting you to ask tough questions. You’d want to learn a bit more about the company and the job. 

Here are some phone screen interview questions you can consider asking:

  • How has your experience been working at this company?

  • What do you like the most about the company?

  • Can you tell me a bit about the company culture?

  • Who will be my supervisor?

  • What are you looking for in an ideal candidate?

  • What is the next step in the hiring process?

  • What is the salary you’re offering for this role (if this information is not already known)?

5. Send a follow-up email

After the interview is over, consider sending a polite follow-up email to the interviewer. You’d want to thank them for their time and reiterate your interest in the job. You can sign off by mentioning that if the interviewer needs more information from you, they can reach out to you. Professional courtesy can leave a lasting impression. 

Commonly asked phone screen interview questions

While the interviewer won’t ask behavioral questions or bring up specific aspects from your resume for discussion, they’re likely to ask one or more of the following questions:

  • Can you tell me about yourself?

  • What are your salary expectations for this job role?

  • How soon can you start working for us, if hired?

  • Why did you apply for this position?

  • Do you have any questions for me (or the organization)?

Do you have an upcoming job interview and need help with preparation? Get in touch with us today and check out our interview prep services!

Key takeaways

  1. Phone screen interviews are the first step towards making a solid impression and securing a job.

  2. Unlike phone interviews, phone screening interviews tend to be brief, since the objective is for the hiring manager to determine whether to qualify you for the next round of interviews.

  3. While phone screening interviews sound simple, you need to take them seriously and prepare if you want to improve your likelihood of getting hired. 

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