How to ace the phone screen interview
It is common now to face a phone screen interview, or ‘screening’. This is where a company has an interview on the phone with you. Companies do it for a number of reasons too. A practical reason may be that a candidate currently lives some distance away from the company. At this stage (where the company is just looking for people to interview), it makes sense to screen candidates via phone.
Other reasons include the need to pare down the number of applicants for interview so that you have the most suitable candidates in the interview room. This saves a company time and money.
How to get it right
Most of the time, a tech company will give you advance notice that they are going to run a phone screener. If this is the case with you, that’s great, because you have time to prepare. Prior to the interview, put together a list of strengths and weaknesses, and your responses to some of the more ‘expected’ questions.
The very worst thing you can do is go into a phone screener unprepared. Having that list of answers and responses to hand will make you much more confident.
Another good piece of advice is to practise the phone interview. This is possible if you can enlist your friends and family to run through a mock interview with you. Prepare a list of questions and your responses and then get someone to conduct an interview over the phone. This will give you experience so that you can sound more relaxed and conversational on the phone.
Make sure you are ready for the call too. Find a quiet, distraction-free place where you can truly focus on the questions and on making the right impression. You can’t do this if you’re in a noisy room or distracted by other things.
Your CV is a key document. You can assume that the interviewer will be referring to it throughout the interview. Make sure it is close to hand while you are on the phone, so you can address any queries about past positions or other details in the document.
You’ve probably done your homework already about the company and how it operates. A screener is the perfect way to see how much you know about the company. It will pay off massively if you can answer questions with a clear view on the company and its history. You could discuss a major project that the company completed, one that you have read about.
A tech interview, perhaps more than most interviews in other industries, is focused on the technical skills you can bring to the company. During a phone screener, you will have to be on the ball as regards what the company is hoping to achieve. Prepare, and make sure all you need is at hand, and you should find that you are confident and relaxed enough to ace the interview.