For many professional positions, a phone screening acts as the first step in the interview process. It is an especially crucial part of the interview process for salespeople, as a large portion of your prospecting and selling may be done primarily over the phone. Creating a good impression that relays both confidence and that you did your research is key to acing this process. Below are some tips:
1. Do your Research On the Interviewer.
This should be a no-brainer, but know who you are talking to. Research them on Linkedin and look at the previous companies they have worked for, where they went to school, etc. Not only will you be able to have a good understanding of who you are on the phone with, but you may come across commonalities that you can use to carry the convo along.
2. Do your Research On the Position.
Likely, if you are talking with a recruiter they have not sent you a job description yet (for client confidentiality). Kindly ask for the job description or details surrounding the company and position. You want to have a rough idea of the role prior to your call, and adjust your tone accordingly.
3. Timing is Key.
Be prepared and ready to answer the call. This doesn’t mean you have to pick up on the first ring, but do not sound like you just rolled out of bed. A phone interview is critical when you are interviewing for a sales position. Likely the position entails a great deal of cold-calling and phone interaction. An interviewer is looking for how you handle the conversation on the phone and how you will interact with your future clients.
4. Remember your Manners.
A thank you goes a long way, and everyone wants to feel valued. Someone set aside some time specifically to speak to you and get to know you better, and it is polite and respectful to thank them for it.
5. Ask next steps.
If all goes well on the call, don’t be shy! Especially as a salesperson, this is key. If they cannot give you next steps, you may already have your answer as to how it went and can move on (or they are just disorganized—red flag). If they can give you next steps—great! You’ve successfully proven you can “close” on your first interview. Solid work!
If you are working with a recruiter be sure to update them on how the phone screening went right after you end the call. Your feedback can help them gain a better understanding of how to advise the employer and may just help you lock down that second interview!