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Today I’m going to talk to you about the daunting telephone screening interview.  As I talk to candidates and clients across the country there’s a lot about finding a job not to like, but one thing everyone agrees on is that the telephone interview is a tough part of that process. So let’s talk about some things that might help you be better prepared.

  1. There’s a no bathrobe rule.  That means get up like you are going to the office.  Shave.  No hole-y t-shirts and shorts.  No bathrobe and curlers.  Just because they can’t see you, doesn’t mean that how you’re dressed won’t affect your performance.
  2. Do your homework.  Don’t sit there and try to impress the recruiter because sometimes, you might use information inappropriately and show you don’t really understand the context.  That can hurt you.  Use the information to give yourself more confidence and a broader context for your answers.
  3. Always keep your smiling face on.  I know people laugh and say that is silly.  But there have been studies that have shown that when people are smiling – even on the telephone – their tone and inflection changes, it’s more uplifting.  Some people even stand up when they are doing interviews.  Others sit in a straight back chair at a table.  Whatever works for you.
  4. Listen carefully and respond directly.  Telephone interviews can last 45 minutes to an hour.  They’re screening interviews.  The recruiters are just trying to figure out if you can do the job and if you have the requisite skill sets.  So don’t get too involved with your answers.  If they ask a question that requires a longer response, give the cliff note version but then go back and offer more information and details if they’d like.

Let me add one additional thing.  As you progress in your career and as you go through job searches, you’re going to hear the same questions over and over again.  The real key to success – don’t show up and act like that’s the first time you’ve ever heard that question. Have some great stories you can tell that will help that recruiter remember who you are and connect you as someone who can meet their needs.

If you have any other questions, email me at