Phone Screen Interviews: Not Just Another Call

The Clock Stops
The Startup
Published in
7 min readMar 28, 2020

The way the world is looking these days.

Now that more and more businesses are going to a work from home (WFH) model, it’s very common, and even essential in today’s environment to be able to present oneself in a professional manner and stay mentally focused on target from the comfort of your living room. Regardless of whether or not you are wearing your slippers, or if the floor next to your feet has a wrapper from that candy bar you ate the night before, we all need to keep the appearance and attitude of maintaining an office environment from what that computer camera is able to display to the viewer.

When we are looking for jobs, one of the first things that a business will do for new candidates is to set up a phone screen interview. Keep in mind that the fact that you have been asked to join a phone screen interview is a GOOD thing. This is a position that you have applied for, and you have already sent in your resume and cover letter. Now that the HR department has seen your details, they have decided they want to know more about you, but they’re not sure if they want to have an actual interview in the formal sense. A phone screen interview is essentially akin to a company opening it’s doors halfway to you, and you’re there with one foot in the room, and one foot out — it’s HR saying, “yes, we’re interested, but don’t have a seat at the table yet.” While this type of non-committal action might seem like a letdown at first, treat it as a positive thing, say yes, and prepare. Below, are 6 reminders I’d like to suggest everyone to be aware of as they go into a phone screen interview.

Know the company, know the position

This point seems obvious, but there have been a number of times I’ve gone through a phone screen interview with a candidate where they were unfamiliar both with the company they were applying to work with, as well as the position they were applying for. Two of the most common questions that I would ask in a phone screen interview would be the following:

“Could you give me an introduction of our company and what it is you think we do?”

“Could you please describe the job you are applying for and what it is you think you’d be doing with our company?”

The Clock Stops
The Startup

American residing in Asia since 2004. Blogs focusing on life observations, improv, food, creating a learning organisation, management, and stretching time.