How to pass telephone screening
When you start getting calls from recruiters, it’s a great sign for your job hunt.
It means that your CV is impressive and people are starting to take an interest in you.
But you should be aware that you are being judged from the moment you answer the phone, and mistakes could cost you job offers.
So, follow these steps to make the right impression and sail through to interview stage.
Record a voicemail message
9 times out of 10, recruiters will call you during work hours – you will be busy and they will leave a voicemail.
Having a recorded voicemail is a nice touch that will make you sound professional and reassure the recruiter that they have the right person.
Call back ASAP
If you do miss the call and have to ring the recruiter back, make sure you call back as soon as you possibly can. They will probably be calling other candidates about the same job, and you don’t want to lose the opportunity to competition.
Find somewhere quiet to take the call, where you won’t be interrupted. Overbearing background noise and interruptions will make the call a bad experience for both parties, which won’t set your relationship off on the right foot.
Show some personality
One of the main reasons for the initial telephone call is simply for the recruiter to “sound you out”.
The recruiter likes your CV and now they just want to make sure that your social skills are up to scratch, and that you’re comfortable dealing with people on the phone.
So engage with them in a friendly but professional way, and get some of your personality across.
Know your vital stats
When a recruiter calls you, they will want to know the following things:
- Your notice period – Make sure you have checked this in your contract, as there is nothing worse than going through an entire job application process to find out your notice period is much longer than you thought, and subsequently losing the job offer.
- Your salary requirements – It’s best to give a range for your salary requirements to allow room for negotiations at offer stage.
- Why you are looking for a new role – Be sure to have positive reasons such as career progression, taking on a new challenge etc. Do not use reasons like disliking your current boss or job, as this can give off a negative impression on the call.
Know your value
Although the initial call won’t be a full-on interview, the recruiter will probably want to ask a few questions about your suitability for the role.
So make sure you know exactly how you can bring value to the role with your relevant skills, knowledge and experience.
You should already have a good grasp of this from the research part of writing your CV, so it will just be a case of going back over the details.
Be confident and tell the recruiter exactly why you would be a great choice for the role.
It’s even a good idea to have a short pitch prepared to subtly sell yourself and seal the deal.
Passing telephone screening
In summary, if you want to pass the telephone screening stage, you have to be professional, friendly and assertive. Be sure to round up the conversation by asking for a job description if it hasn’t already been mentioned and let the recruiter know that you are available to interview ASAP.
And if you don’t hear back within a few days, be sure to put in a polite follow up call or email.