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19th Nov 2018 by Alisa Moore

How to nail a phone screening with a recruitment agency

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Phone screening candidates is an important procedure for recruitment agencies as it gives them the opportunity to gauge a job seeker’s personality and suitability for a role before moving on to the interview stage.

Your phone manner can reveal a lot about how you are likely to come across in person. Recruiters make a lot of assumptions about the general ability of a job seeker from how you behave over the phone. So, it is vital that you give a good impression in order to secure an interview and ensure recruiters put you forward for future roles.

At Rubicor, phone screening is something we do on a daily basis across a diverse range of roles, whether they be in sales and marketing, finance, accounting or supply chain. Based on the thousands of phone screenings we have done, here are our five top tips to ensure you give the best impression possible during a phone screening:

Be friendly, clear and polite

  • Saying “hello, (your name)speaking” when answering the phone sounds more professional than an aggressive “yes” or a too casual “hey”. Be mindful of your tone as well. Often people sound angry, confused or even frightened when they answer the phone which never leaves a good impression.

Aim to sound interested, willing to talk and happy

  • If you sound bored, speak too quietly, say “um” a lot or mumble, the recruitment consultant could question your communication skills and possibly reconsider your suitability for roles. This is particularly important for customer-facing roles, such as Sales Representatives and customer support. If the recruitment consultant asks, “why you are looking for a new role?” or “why are you interested in this particular role?”, be honest, but never say “I just need a job”. It shows a lack of genuine interest in the role and suggests that you will be the type of employee who gives the bare minimum level of effort in their position.

Keep track of what you have applied for

  • If you have applied for multiple jobs, create a spreadsheet tracking the key details of each role. Include details such as the job title, the company the job is with, the recruitment company looking after the job and a brief overview of what the job entails. That way when a recruiter calls you won’t be left scrambling to remember which job they are talking about. Further to the tip above, you will come across as more genuinely interested and engaged in the role, which will leave a good impression on the recruiter.

Don’t forget to say thank you

  • This might sound obvious but it is something that many job seekers fail to do. At the end of the call remember to thank the recruitment consultant for phoning you and say a proper goodbye. Abruptly hanging up at the end of the call will make you appear rude and socially awkward.

Consider your voice mail message

  • Another phone-related tip is to ensure that you have a professional sounding voicemail message that mentions your name for when you are unavailable. It confirms to the recruitment consultant that they have the right person and, like a live phone call, is an opportunity to display your personality either positively or negatively, along with your ability to communicate and articulate clearly.  

 

In our experience, most people prefer to communicate face-to-face, because there is less room for misinterpretation. Facial expressions and gestures are a huge part of how we communicate and understand each other, which can make talking over the phone challenging. According to oft-quoted research from Professor Albert Mehrabian, an American psychology academic, up to 93% of our face-to-face communication is non-verbal.

When visual cues are not available to us the manner and tone in which we speak becomes paramount, so if you can master the art of a great phone screening then doors will fly open.