OK, so you made enough of a positive impression with your job application or unsolicited email (see related post) to get a response from the company. This will usually start with a request for a phone interview. It’s the company’s way of conducting a second round of filtering (following the resume filter) to make sure they only spend face-to-face time with the most viable candidates.
The main thing I’ll say about the phone screening interview is shame on you if you don’t have all of your most important research information in front of you during the interview (see related post and this one too). In addition, you should have a cheat sheet of your personal accomplishments right in front of you. Maybe this is just a highlighted version of your resume. Finally, some of the recommendations in the following posts of this series are also excellent preparatory tasks for a phone screening interview. But remember three key things.
- The only reason the company is doing the phone screening interview with you is to decide if they want to bring you in for a more comprehensive fact-to-face interview. So don’t turn it into your interview of the company (that comes later). You should be prepared with a couple of questions about the company in case you’re given the opportunity and to show that you’ve done your research. But make sure they get what they need first.
- Take full advantage of the fact that there is a phone line in between you and the interviewer. You can have every cheat sheet known to man at your fingertips. Just be organized.
- Eliminate things that could distract or disrupt the interview. Have a dog at home that likes to bark when people walk by your house? Put him/her in the bedroom. Have a land line phone at home? Use it instead of your cell phone for better clarity.