Part of the interview process of nearly every job is the phone screen. This is your first chance to use your subjective qualities to separate yourself from the pack. Your foot is in the proverbial door—now it’s time to make the right impression. Here’s how to do it.
1. Smile while you talk
Something so simple as smiling while talking on the phone has been scientifically proven to improve the effectiveness in communication—the other person can actually hear your grin. Even though the recruiter can’t see you, the positive vibes that you’ll be giving off will come through on the other end.
2. Control your voice’s volume and cadence.
The next time you’re in a professional setting with a great salesperson, pay attention to their delivery. They will surely add inflection and variation to their speech, but only in certain spots. Experts reserve variation in speech for points of emphasis—maybe because they’re not sure that the other party believes them or because they want to convey emotion (kind of like how you shout at your TV because the Bachelor didn’t give a rose to Tiffany). You can apply the same principle to your phone interview, adding inflection and emphasis when you’re making your most crucial points.
3. Get to the point.
Hiring managers spend less than a minute glancing at each resume that crosses their desks, but now that you’re a little further down the hiring funnel, you’re afforded a few precious minutes to sell yourself. Your time is still limited, so don’t dilute your story with meaningless details—the brain measures quality by averaging out the data points it’s given. If you’ve made it to the phone screen, you can impress the recruiter by knowing your top bullet points and being able to run through them succinctly.
4. Ask questions.
You’re a sales pro, so you know that listening is more important than talking. Have a few questions prepared and try to come up with a couple of more relevant questions during the conversation. At one point in any call, you will be asked some iteration of, “Do you have any questions?” Don’t come back with crickets.
5. Prepare something to say that’ll make you stand out.
There will typically be quite a few other people getting phone screened for a sales job. If you don’t make a mark now, you may never get your chance to make it to an in-person interview. Whether it’s an insightful question or unique story, you need to stick out in the mind of the hiring manager when they’re deciding which candidates to choose for the next steps. Plan before the call what you want to be know for and make sure you prepare some concrete examples to leave that impression.
Do you have a great phone interview success story? We’d love to hear it—drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.