For most of us who are either working or looking for work, there are two things that we have all done in our employment life.

First, you have submitted your resume and applied for a role;
Second, you have uploaded your resume to a career resume database website.

Either way, your contact details are uploaded, and “not expecting” a call or an email from a Recruiter is like not expecting that the sun will shine the next day.

For the purpose of this blog, say you are actually looking for a job.

What’s the first thing for you to expect?

Well, it’s simple.


And, most recruiters call it a “Phone Screen”.

A phone screen kick starts the whole hiring process. Once a recruiter thinks you have the relevant experience for their role, the next thing they will do is pick up the phone and call you. This phone call is a vital part of the process, this is where recruiters will be able to qualify with you your salary expectations, location preferences, ideal role, notice period, availability and from your end, get an overview of the organisation and the role. If all expectations are clear on the phone, they will be inviting you in to meet with them or their client for a more in-depth conversation / interview.

The thing is, you will not be the only applicant a recruiter will call, hence, it’s very crucial to make a brilliant impression on the phone.

And so, how can you nail a Phone Screen?

Here are 5 ways you can do so!

1. Don’t treat any phone call as less than a real interview 

I get it that you will have numbers saved on your phone, hence you will know who is calling. But when a private number tries to call you, always answer in a very polite and professional manner as you’ll never know who is on the other end. Many have lost their chances of landing a job due to rude manners on the phone. This is very important as it is the first impression you will make with the recruiter.

Always answer with a professional and polite greeting, make it straight to the point, a simple “Hello, this is Sam Smith” will make a big difference.

2. Create a list of jobs you have applied for

One of the common mistakes job seekers make is when they do a “shotgun” approach to job applications. This is when you just click on all jobs available on the internet.

When applying for a role, always make sure that the job you have applied for is something you are qualified to perform based on your skills and experience and is aligned with your goals. This will help you manage your applications more efficiently and being prepared once you receive a phone call.

Always make sure you have a list of the jobs you have applied for in the past 3 months or beyond, and review them every now and then. It’s always very impressive to discuss your understanding of the role based on the job advert you have applied for. The fact that you “remember” an application shows eagerness and high interest for the role or the organisation.

3. Answer questions briefly and clearly

A phone screen is not yet an actual interview, as I have mentioned earlier, this is a venue for both parties to interact and set the “expectations”. As such, always strive for brevity but never hesitate to ask questions, we love it when you ask questions!

Expect yes or no questions from a recruiter during this time. It’s very important to be honest in your expectations particularly when it comes to salary, location preferences and the actual role. These are the usual deal breakers – and it’s fine if you think the role will not meet your expectations, similar with the recruiter, it’s a good thing that this was discussed on the phone, hence saving both parties their valuable time.

Another tip, recruiters will ask about you and your role, it’s always smart to prepare a 2 minute pitch about yourself and your experience.

4. Always ask for the next steps

Asking for the next step is something recruiters always appreciate. It gives an impression that you are very interested in the role and the organisation. Ensure that you have the recruiter’s details before ending the call, that is, their contact numbers and email.

5. Always follow up

There is nothing wrong with following up with regards to your application. However, keep in mind that recruiters will be calling a number of applicants and they may not be able to get back to you right away. Always ask for a timeline as to when they can come back to you with any updates, or when you should follow up if you don’t hear from them. This ensures that there will be no grey areas within the job application process.

Well, there you go!

These are just some tips I can share with you in order to nail that first “phone screen”.

I would be happy to hear from anyone who has any other best practices.

If you are still finding things are difficult, not only during phone screen but your job search over all, I happen to work within one of Queensland’s most trusted recruitment agencies, you can reach me on and we can always have a chat!

Thirdy Garcia – Resourcing Consultant

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