Interview Tips - The Phone Screening

By The Pachera Group

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Preparation is a fundamental key to success and unfortunately given the seemingly casual nature of a phone screen, a step many overlook believing they can wing it. If you haven’t taken the time to prepare for a phone screening, it’s not going to go well for you. 

Prepare to Engage!

It’s this mentality of I’ll hold off doing real prep until an onsite meeting with the team that keeps many candidates from moving forward.  If you don’t pass the phone screen, you’re not invited onsite – hence the need to prepare for the call with the same determination you would for a face-to-face meeting.


  1. Research the company.  Gain an understanding of their products or services, industry, competitors, market position and culture.  Sources abound e.g., Company Website, GlassDoor, Google Search, LinkedIn, Hoovers, etc.  Don’t forget old fashioned networking to connect with current or former employees.
  2. Understand the role.  Read the job description over again and prepare to provide concise examples of your skills and experience in core areas.
  3. Prepare Questions.  How does this role fit within the group?  What are the biggest challenges?  How do you measure success?  What’s the environment/ culture like?  Etc.
  4. Find a Bat Cave.  Scope out where you will take the call.  Know ahead of time where you plan to take the call and remember, Tip #4 – noisy backgrounds are a deal breaker!

During the call, stand up and assume a power position to project confidence and energy over the phone.  You would be amazed at what a difference that can make.  Listen, take notes and ask follow up questions.

Above all remember, the overarching goal of a phone screen is to mutually sell and be sold.  As a candidate you want to sell your capability and be sold that the company and role are the right fit for you.  Likewise, hiring managers are looking for candidates to convey their capability and create a compelling reason to invite the prospect onsite, while selling to the candidate this is the right opportunity and next step for them.

About the Author:  Gwen Moore

A long-burning passion for organizational development inspired Gwen’s move from marketing, where she got her start, to human resources. She is a veteran of global firms like Electronic Arts, Cadence Design Systems, and National Semiconductor, most recently serving as Senior Director of Marketing and Human Resources for a children’s entertainment company, and has founded two startups, one in technology and one in entertainment. The marketing of products, brands, and talent itself all fall well within Gwen’s bailiwick. Follow @pacheragroup 

Image Credit: Amir Kurbanov


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