Advice For Job Seekers
6 off the hook phone screen tips

More and more often companies are utilizing phone interviews as a way to screen candidates prior to taking the time to meet them for a traditional face-to-face interview. This can sometimes be a time conscious and efficient way for hiring managers to narrow down a large stack of resumes, but they can be tricky for the job seeker. Follow these tips to get a call back (and not a dial tone).

Oggi Pro Tip #1: Closet your inner comedian. Conveying personality is an important part of any interview but when you are telling a joke or being sarcastic body language is key to getting the point across. If the interviewer(s) cannot see you and pick up on those cues you could be in trouble. It is better to play it safe via the phone. Often without the ability of unspoken communication you risk coming off as awkward or even rude. Be personable but not a joker.

Oggi Pro Tip #2: Stand Up. Walk Around. Use your hands. Smile. This may feel awkward and even silly to be so animated while in a room by yourself but studies have shown that acting as if the person was in the room and providing some energy on the line does convey to the person on the other end. The last thing you want in a situation of competing for a job you are truly excited about is to come across as dry or unenthusiastic. In the opposite way body language doesn’t work to convey jokes over the phone, it does work to convey excitement and confidence and believe it or not a smile can be heard.

Oggi Pro Tip #3: Do your homework. Check out the company’s web page, social media outlets and recent press. Prepare a list of questions about the company, the position and expectation of the role. If you know who you are interviewing with (as you should) check out their LinkedIn profile, look for common connections and ask them a few questions about themselves. It is a lot easier to turn an interview into a conversation if you feel like you know them a bit.

Oggi Pro Tip #4: Use cheat sheets. One benefit of not having a face-to-face interviewer is you can have all of your material out in front of you (your resume, the job description, research about the company, questions. Etc.) and the interviewer will never know. They can even be highlighted, color-coded or flagged with notes. Be sure not to read directly off of your work and make sure you have them laid out in front of you to avoid the sounds of shuffling papers. But this is an asset!

Oggi Pro Tip #5: Location, location, location. Sit in a quiet room where you can focus and won’t be distracted by family members, a ringing telephone, email or…Twitter. A room that will also allow you to feel comfortable executing recommendation #2 as well. (Bonus Tip: Have a pen, paper and a glass of water nearby.)

Remember the end goal is to get face-time with decisions makers you need to lock in your new job! To get to Phase II it is critical that you stand out throughout the entire interview process. Which brings me to…

Oggi Pro Tip #6: Send a thank-you note! This isn’t just a nice thing to do its necessary. Read “Thank Yous: Nice or Necessary?” for more information on Oggi’s recommended two-step follow up process.

Brought to you by

Sean Keating

I founded Oggi Professional Services because I believed Twin Cities professionals deserved a firm that would listen and put their needs first. And that's what we do. I love my wife, kids, our Leavitt Bulldog Mangus, the Boston Bruins, Bruce Springsteen & holiday music.