The Telephone Screen

You are reading this because you have made the decision to look for a new position or to explore one that has been presented to you. You have worked hard and we have helped you make sure that the paper version of yourself highlights your abilities and accomplishments in the best possible light for the given company and opportunity. Now the company is interested in you and excited to speak with you.

A telephone screen represents the vast majority of the initial interactions between candidate and company. It is a convenient and efficient way to gauge mutual interest. These conversations probe both the philosophical compatibility between the hiring manager/company and the candidate and the candidate’s scientific depth. They can take anywhere from twenty minutes to as long as two hours. The only prerequisites are a clear slot of time and a private place to speak openly.

Remember, the long-term goal for a telephone screen is that the company extends an offer. It is important to keep this goal in mind through each step of the process. But the short term goal is to generate enough excitement to make a face to face interview an essential and logical next step. In preparation the hiring manager will have already spoken to us about all of the candidates they are considering. We will have helped them narrow down their choices in reflection of their overall business strategy and immediate needs. They have now selected only a few candidates with whom to speak. Of this handful, even fewer will be chosen for a face to face interview.

At this point we present what is not seen on the printed page. For instance: “Mary is quiet and on the shy side but once engaged she’s sharp as a tack” or “Tom is all business. He’s sharp and focused on the task at hand.” or “Jim’s manager has told me that if he had the chance Jim would be the first person he would hire.” These intangibles predispose the manager toward who you are and will give them vision into some key motivators as to why you are interested in the position.

This is your foot in the door and now it is all up to you.

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