The first step to securing a job interview: A successful phone screen

By Stacey Wood, CTS

A critical aspect of securing a job today starts with a successful phone interview. Companies use this technique to pre-qualify candidates in an effort to save their valuable time and money before interviewing an individual in person. Consequently, it is imperative to make the most of this opportunity. The following tips will help you secure a face-to-face meeting:

Schedule the interview whenever possible
When the initial call arrives, ask the individual if it is possible to schedule a specific time and date to talk. You will want to make sure you have your resume in front of you, along with a well thought out list of questions. Identify the best time to call him/her back directly. This will enable you to speak comfortably and confidently without any interruptions.

Isolate yourself

The interviewer’s impression of you is secured solely by your voice and what you convey during the screening, thus, it is important you use that tool effectively to secure an in-person interview. Speak clearly and concisely. Be aware of your tone and your volume. Make sure you are in a quiet place free of noise and distractions such as pets and family members. The interviewer must have your full attention for the duration of the call so make sure you set aside plenty of time. In addition, stand up during the call and remember to smile. Try looking in the mirror while you speak. This helps project confidence, enthusiasm, as well as a positive attitude.

Be prepared

Like any other interview, make sure you are prepared to answer questions about your compensation expectations, your goals, why you are currently looking to secure work, and any additional objectives you may have. It may be a good idea to inquire about the company culture at this time. He/she will likely ask how you learned of the company and the current opening, as well as how your skills and experience can meet their needs. Be specific.

Ask critical questions
Asking detailed questions is a great way to gain insight into a company before proceeding to the next level, as well as demonstrate your desire to secure an additional interview. Start with the basics: what position are you currently being considered for at this particular time? Why is there a current need for this job? What are the challenges associated with this role? Once you have established a basic overview of their needs, you may want to ask what specific attributes makes an individual successful at the company. Finally, find out the best time and date to follow up.

These few tips will ensure your next phone interview is a successful one — good luck!

This post originally appeared in the Job Advice blog on, where Stacey blogs on a monthly basis.

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