Crushing your Preliminary Phone Screen Interview

//Crushing your Preliminary Phone Screen Interview

Let’s talk about preliminary phone screen interviews–the sometimes daunting thing hiring managers love. In all fairness, they have the daunting task to find the best of the best. Phone screening is a quick and easy way to find and eliminate the underqualified riff-raff. But how are we supposed to impress the person on the phone when they can’t see your dazzling smile or your dapper ensemble? We have some tips for before, during and how to end the call. As well as how to use a “who, what, when, where, why and how” approach to crush your preliminary phone screen interview to land your dream job.

Before the call

  • Be sure the phone screening is confirmed.
  • Clear the room of all distractions.
  • Have the job description printed out and in front of you.
  • Keep your resume in clear view.
  • Have pen and paper ready to write notes.
Michael Scott on the phone
Jonah Hill as Donnie Azoff

During the call

  • Answer the phone by saying “Hello, this is *your name*”.
  • Use the person’s title (Mr./Ms. And their last name).
  • Don’t eat, drink smoke or chew gum.
  • Take your time and take notes on everything discussed.
  • Smile (this might feel weird but the person on the other line can feel the difference in your demeanor).

Ending the call

  • Take time to ask questions about any unclear points of the position
  • Ask if they have any concerns (more on that below)
  • Thank them for their time

Inevitably, the interviewer will wrap things up by asking if you have any further questions for them. Here is what you should say:

“Yes sir/ma’am. First, I’d like to thank you for your time today. I am interested in this opportunity. I believe it aligns well with my skill sets and experience. I have a firm grasp on the position and what it entails. Having said that, do you have any concerns regarding my experience or resume? Is there anything you’d like me to elaborate on or clarify?”

…. then be quiet.

This magical ending is something that Career Coach, Mike Korman has developed over the years.

Using this strategy will let you know where you stand with the hiring manager.

Who, What, When, Where, Why, How

5 W's street sign
  • Who:

Using specific information adds to your credibility. Name drop companies, locations and people that you have worked with or for.


Q- “Do you have experience configuring ASA’s?”

A- “Yes, I have configured ASA’s on my last assignment for Choice Hotels”

  • What:

Demonstrate your knowledge by going into detail about a specific situation you’ve encountered. What issue were you trying to resolve, what was your time frame, what obstacles did you face and how did you do all of this?

  • Where:

Where and who might end up being the same information… if so you can just skip this. Make notes of the site locations or specific offices your position included.

  • When:

Talk about a time you implemented a change in your workplace. Start with stating what needed to be changed and when you noticed it.


When I first came in, I recognized that the firewalls in place were outdated.  I advised the project manager that we should install ASAs”.

  • Why:

Next, explain why it was a good idea to implement this change. Was the last process taking to long? Was there too much room for error? Were there too many mistakes being made?

  • How:

What was the end result? How did your decision make an impact or eliminate an issue? Did you work alone, or did you have help from a boss or co-workers? Explain how it was beneficial to your process or the company.

Side note: Every one of these points may not need to be addressed. Be mindful of rambling and stick to information that gets the point across and will land you the in-person interview.

By |2018-08-13T22:19:46+00:00August 7th, 2018|Interview|0 Comments

Leave A Comment