If an employer asks you to do a phone interview, or “screening,” then you’ve successfully made it to the second round of the application process (congrats – your job search is bearing fruit!).
But what next?
Follow these 5 tips to get yourself one step closer to a formal job offer.
1. Research the Hiring Company
If you didn’t research the employer before submitting your application — which you should have — now is the time. Jump on the company’s website and scan key pages like About, Products, Press, and Team. If they company has a blog, look through its recent posts. Finally, do an Internet search to find out what external sources are saying.
By the end of your research you should have a good understanding of the company’s culture, mission, products/services, and recent developments. Use this information to tailor your answers accordingly.
2. Research the Hiring Manager
If you don’t know already, ask for the name and email address of the person conducting the phone interview. Find them on the company’s team page and on sites like LinkedIn.
Try to gain insight into who the hiring manager is, what he values, and what you have in common. In today’s connected world you might even find a mutual connection who will reach out to the employer on your behalf. (“Hey, I just talked to So and So and found out she’s applying to your company. I just wanted to let you know how great she is.”)
Feel a little creepy going through the hiring manager’s profiles? Don’t. Chances are good that he is doing it to you.
3. Revisit the Job Description
The job posting tells you exactly what the company is looking for, so use it to demonstrate how you’re an ideal candidate for the job. Make notes on how your skills and personality match the open position. If the employer is emphasizing that they want a team player, for example, brainstorm concrete examples of times you collaborated to achieve success. If there is a particular area that you’re lacking, be prepared to talk about and compensate for it.
4. Be Confident (Or Sound Like You Are)
Being nervous is normal. Sounding nervous is awkward. Be cognizant of your volume, tone, and speed. When you feel inclined, walk around, gesture, and smile. Natural movements like these help you relax and sound more genuine. Remember that the interviewer can’t see you, so you can wear whatever you want and can do the interview wherever you want.
5. Send a Thank You Email
The final thing to do is send a thank you email to the interviewer. Do it the same day and keep it short and sweet. Thank the hiring manager for his time, mention a high point in the conversation (“I really enjoyed discussing the department’s plan for…”), and say that you look forward to hearing back.