More and more companies are weeding through likely job applicants via a phone interview. This helps hiring managers/recruiters cull through promising paper prospects in order to come up with a list of candidates to call in for a face-to-face interview.

A phone interview basically is a screening interview. Read below for some tips on how to ace this part of the job search process so that you can be one step closer to securing the position.

  1. Unless you have privacy, have several minutes to spare and are prepared for the interview right when called, it’s perfectly Ok to ask the recruiter/hiring manager if he or she could call you back in 15 minutes (or at a set time) so that you can have the privacy that’s necessary. In other words, you don’t have to drop everything to take the call. It’s critical that you have at least 15-30 minutes you can spend without distraction, so if the kids are crying, if you’re sitting at your desk at your current employer, if you can talk privately for just five minutes, etc., ask to reschedule.
  2.  That said, make sure you’re prepared for the call you schedule. Have your resume/cover letter in front of you. Have the job description handy. You need to have done some homework on the company and the position before the call so that you can show the hiring manager/recruiter that you know something about the company/job. Make sure you will not be distracted – you want to focus only on the interview. Turn off all electronic devices. Shut the door. Don’t answer the land line/cell phone, and so on.
  3. Have a list of questions that you will want to ask the interviewer. (None of those questions should include salary, benefits, etc. You’ll save those for your second or third in-person interviews, or when the hiring manager extends you a job offer).
  4. That said, the hiring manager/recruiter probably will either ask you what kind of salary you seek or tell you what the salary range is: “The pay rate for this position ranges from $45,000 to $55,000. Does that work for you?” If you’re asked for an expected salary, you need to have done your research for both the position, the required skill sets and for what comparable positions pay in the NYC area.
  5. Take this interview very seriously. Even though it’s a “screening” interview, if you don’t make a good impression, you won’t be asked to come in for a one-on-one interview. So take the questions – and your answers – very seriously.
  6. Finally, if your want to take the next step and have an interview, ask for it. The hiring manager/recruiter may ask you for an interview, but there’s no harm in asking for it first. Should the recruiter say no or hedge, ask what the next steps in the process will be. Will the recruiter make calls to set up in-person interviews? If so, when can you expect a call? Asking for a meeting/asking about next steps shows professionalism and competence, both of which are very good things to present.

When looking for work in and around New York City, don’t forget to contact the recruiters at Winston Resources. We’ve been helping job candidates and some of NYC’s top companies find each other for more than 45 years and we’d love to help you, as well. We look forward to hearing from you.

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