QUESTION: How can I prepare for a telephone pre-screening interview?

Wendy Haylett, AboveAllResumes

First, practice with a friend, having them record the interview, then listen to the playback to spot stumbles. Next, create a checklist of job posting “must-haves” and matches to your qualifications. Keep your resume within eyesight to answer questions. Turn off call-waiting, notifications, and other distractions. Clear the room of kids and pets. Turn off music and TV, and close the door!

Robert Rosales, EZ Resume Services

These are real interviews with one goal – eliminate candidates from the pool to determine who gets an in-person interview. Prepare just as diligently as you prepare for an in–person interview. In fact, since you will not be meeting in–person it is easier for you and your interviewer to lose touch. So, it’s even more vital that you are on your game and focused on communicating your value.

Erin Howard, Chirp Clarity & Point Park University

Be sure to practice talking! Thinking and speaking use very different parts of the brain. So if you prepare only in your head, your brain won’t have the benefit of “talk training” to rely on in the marathon of a phone interview.

Melissa Kelley, Kelley Resumes & Wordsmithing

Take a moment to develop your elevator speech. Also, do a search for the most challenging interview questions and pre-plan your answers. Not all pre-screening interviews are behavioral, but enough are that you want to be ready for that possibility.

Cherie Heid, Competitive Edge Resume Service

Research the company, review the job ad you applied to, and practice interview Q&As.

Jane Roqueplot, JaneCo’s Sensible Solutions

Prepare just as you would for an in person interview. Often the questions asked are the same heard in a face-to-face interview: What are your major strengths? Weaknesses? Why does our company interest you? Your homework should be done in advance. Learn about the company and blend that information with the strengths you bring. Identify what information is important to find out about the company and use reliable resources. This knowledge, in combination with results from your professional DISC Report, provides you accuracy and confidence.

Carol Adams, Ideal Resumes, LLC

Do some preparation in advance. Research the company. Create a cheat sheet you can refer to during the call. Use the job posting, if you have one, to identify the skills and experience the company is looking for and compare it to your own so you can speak to those things specifically. Prepare some questions for the interviewer. Remember, this is a two-way street. The interviewer wants to know if you’re right for the company, and you want to find out if the company is right for you.

Scot Hulshizer, The Resume Expert

A pre-screening interview is a great opportunity to show your enthusiasm and learn more about the opportunity. Research the company and its competitors. Block out enough time, and find a quiet space with no distractions. Think about examples where you have solved problems that your prospective role might encounter. Most importantly, prepare questions that will help you ace the next interview!

Karen Silins, A+ Career & Resume, LLC

To prepare for a phone interview, have the following items ready: 1. Your resume, job ad, and company research. 2. Question you want to ask. 3. Glass of water. 4. Turn off call-waiting. 5. Talk on headset or landline, no speaker phone. 6. Take notes by hand to avoid typing noise in background. Interview in distraction-free, closed door environment, no children, dogs, television, etc.

Louise Kursmark, Best Impression Career Services, Inc.

Just as for in-person interviews … do your homework to find out as much as you can about the company and the opportunity, and be ready to match your skills, experiences, and accomplishments to their needs. Pay close attention to the specific requirements in the job description, so the screener can confirm that you meet every “must have” and clear you to meet with the hiring manager.

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