Chances are if you’re looking for a job, it’s highly likely that you will be interviewed or at the very least your application will be screened via phone at some stage. Often the first direct contact you’ll have with a recruiter is via phone call and whilst this might seem a little daunting you should recognise that your application is of such standing that they want to speak to you. Because phone interviews are often the first time you will speak to the recruiter, it is important for you to create a good impression and highlight your professionalism.  Phone calls such as these are an essential part of the recruitment process which allows recruiters to screen applicants before finalising a shortlist for face-to-face interviews.

Although it can be intimidating to have to sell yourself over the phone, you can make the process less stressful and increase your chances of success by following the below tips:



As much as these phone calls are your opportunity to explain a little more about yourself, they are also a great way to get to know the recruiter and understand more about the role and company you are applying for. Listen to not only what they say but how they say it.  Listen out for clues about the company’s culture and potential growth opportunities. Most importantly, when the recruiter is talking, don’t interject or interrupt, be focused on the conversation and pay attention to them.



Of course, you don’t have to be in a library to take the call but if you are somewhere busy and noisy you will struggle to hear them and they you. This is frustrating and inhibits your ability to show how focused and professional you are. If you are in a noisy spot, have the confidence to ask the recruiter to call again in five minutes and go and find a quiet place with minimal background noise. Better still ask the recruiter if you can return their call – but make sure you do and do it quickly.



Many people get nervous speaking on the phone, particularly to a recruiter with the potential for a job. Take a deep breath and speak slowly and clearly (remember the recruiter may be taking notes and you want to give them time). Allow the interviewer to finish their question in full before you launch into your response. Take a second or two before you start to speak to ensure you don’t speak over the recruiter but also to have your answer formed and clear in your mind.



You may have applied for a couple of different jobs with a couple of different companies.  It is vital to keep track of which job went with which recruiter so that when they call you know who you’re speaking to and about which role. Better still know a little bit about the role, the recruiter and the company so you can show you have done your homework. There are few things more off putting to a recruiter when they call an applicant and they get asked “which job was this for or which company is this for…I’ve applied for so many I’ve lost track” It happens.

If you have prior warning of a phone interview you can make sure you have the position description along with your resume and cover letter in front of you so that you can directly address the criteria when answering questions. It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with any specific requirements and think about how you will answer common questions about strengths and weaknesses.



It might sound odd to discuss image during a phone call but how you speak, how you behave and what you say during the phone screening / interview will give the recruiter an idea of who you are and your suitability for the role and company. Whilst the recruiter can’t see you, you should avoid eating or drinking while on the phone and make sure you give the call your undivided attention. Think about tip 2 again…avoid distracting noises like children in the background, rustling paper or typing during the interview. By remaining focussed on the phone call you clearly show your professionalism and intent to the recruiter in question.



 If you’ve managed to listen intently, be in a quiet place, have taken your time and prepared well it is highly likely that you have presented a professional image to the recruiter. The final thing you need to do now is enjoy the conversation, smile and relax a little.  There are very few roles in which a person’s interpersonal skills are irrelevant so your ability to “smile down the phone” may be the lasting positive impression you give the recruiter. This will only add to your chances of progressing to the interview shortlist.


The phone interview / screening process is generally a short (but not rushed) conversation in which both the recruiter and the applicant have the chance to engage the other and present a professional image of themselves. You have moved from a name on a page with a paper / digital resume introduction to now having the opportunity to make a personal connection and impression on the recruiter. The phone interview is as important as any other aspect of the recruitment process and you must give it the same amount of time and respect as you would your resume or face to face interview.

Are you prepared for a phone screening, why not apply with us today!!