Four Tips to Master The Phone Screen

Hey I just -stalked- you and this is crazy....jpg

When you start a job search you need to know what you are getting yourself into and what to expect along the way. One of the very first steps in the interview process is the dreaded phone screen and we want to help you master this part of the process. The purpose of this phone call is to start the culture assessment process and to cover some practicalities (salary, location, skills/experience, etc). This is your time to shine, your moment in the spotlight, your big opening act. First impressions are HUGE when you are looking for a job and this call can be the start of a beautiful relationship with your recruiter, so don’t screw this up.

Here are 4 quick tips to help you maximize this initial interaction with a recruiter.

Do your homework
Before our call, I’ll do some research on you by reviewing your resume and looking at your LinkedIn profile to assess your skills and experience. I’ll also try to get a feel for what type of corporate culture you have gravitated towards. We are a culture driven recruiting firm, so that is particularly key for us. We highly suggest that you do a little snooping on your recruiter too, we like to call this phase “cyber stalking.” Take a look at our website, be sure to review the job posting that you applied for and also check out all of the current openings that the recruiter has. This is particularly important in case you are interested (and qualified) for multiple openings. Don't stop your “cyber stalking” there, check out the recruiters’ social media footprint (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn) to see what roles they’re highlighting and what events they have coming up in the community. Extra points get awarded to applicants for liking us and following us on social media too! Start thinking of questions for me about anything you see, this first call is so much more productive when both parties have some idea of each other and are actively engaged.

Ditch the ringback tone and be ready for our call
Ring, ring, buzz, buzz … that’s the recruiter calling you at our scheduled time, are you in a quiet place where you can focus on our conversation? I sure hope so, if not, try to hustle and get to one, we don’t want to waste any time. It’s also important to note that life happens, so if something comes up, we get it, we are human too, just let us know and we can reschedule. One more piece of advice ... ring back tones are not a thing anymore so if you still have one, ditch it fast, recruiters don’t want to listen to Mozart or Sir Mix A Lot while we wait for you  to answer. The bottom line is be ready for this call and give us your undivided attention.

Don’t be shy, have an elevator pitch
Be prepared for me to ask you to tell me a little bit about yourself and what you are looking for. This is your time to market yourself, so give me your elevator pitch! I want to hear about the great work you have been doing and what you are looking for out of your next professional opportunity. Highlight your achievements, what you love doing and what you want to do in your next opportunity, but PLEASE remember, this is a musical not a symphony, try to keep it to 5 minutes or less! I have your resume in front of me so you don’t have to dive too deep. I like to call this one the 50,000 foot overview of your career, keep it short, but keep me engaged. The goal of this call is to figure out what you have done and how the recruiter can help you on our career journey.

Be ready to answers these questions
Here are a few of the questions you should be prepared for, take note and be prepared to answer them.

  • What type of corporate culture makes your heart sing? Startup junkie or corporate warrior?

  • Are you open to relocation?

  • Can you give me an idea of what salary you are looking for?

  • Why are open to a new professional opportunity at this time?

  • Describe your dream job- what do you want to do?

  • If you could write a book about your life, what would the title be?

Now you are armed with a little bit of ammunition for your phone interviews, good luck in your search! Also, if you are interested in any of the positions we have open at OneinaMil, feel free to email our recruiting team at and to learn more about our culture driven approach to recruiting and what makes us truly “OneinaMil,” check out our website!