4 Tips to Ace the Pre-Screen Phone Interview
When you get that call from the recruiter or hiring manager
that they would like to set up a phone interview, pat yourself on the back. You
have made it to the first step. But, don’t think this a relaxed and laid-back
conversation. This is a very important phone call because the interviewer will
be developing a profile on you. You will be judged on your attitude,
personality, ability to communicate effectively, and how well you might fit
into the company culture. If the call is Skyped, the person may also be
evaluating your professional image and body language.
1. Emphasize your brand.
Highlight your value proposition to the interviewer,
focusing on the components of your background and experience that closely match
the job requirements. Talking points of the strong fit between your talents and
skills, and the qualifications of the position make it easy for the interviewer
to see the relevant parallels.
2. Communicate job interest.
Demonstrate to the interviewer your interest in the
particular job they are calling you about (don’t be too general), pointing to
specific job requirements that mirror your expertise and background. This might
require some research on the company and the job.
3. Clearly express why you are the best
While the interviewer may focus on previous jobs and your
responsibilities in executive roles, take this opportunity to show how this
experience has prepared you to successfully contribute to future employers. Present
yourself as the best solution to their issues/problems, focusing on how your
background has helped you develop active listening, critical thinking, complex
problem-solving, and decision-making skills.
4. Clarify any possible negatives.
An interviewer has laser vision into any negatives that
might affect considering an executive for a position. It could be something as
simple as discussing commute time, or as difficult as explaining multiple
employment gaps. Whatever the concerns the interviewer has, give a
straightforward succinct answer. Don’t over explain any situation or it could
be perceived as “defending” or “covering up.”
The reality is that the employer is trying to
screen out candidates that don’t match their specific needs. A lot of
pre-screen interviewers use a spreadsheet with 10 or so criteria that they are
looking for, and every point in your favor is critical. If you are prepared,
practiced, polished and professional, you may make it to the next round of