Aditya Sharma, Ph.D.
I had many phone screens before I realized that “screen” was not the right word to describe what was happening on these phone calls.
Words that better describe these phone “screens” include evaluation, assessment, examination, investigation…
These phone “screens” were actual interviews.
Needless to say, I bombed the first few phone interviews I had because I treated them as if they were just screenings.
I assumed that these phone calls were just a formality to see if I really was the person my resume said I was.
But, when I got on the phone, they had many questions that I was not prepared to answer.
For one phone interview, I was actually doing an experiment at the same time as the interview.
Very bad choice.
I was tired of having these phone calls and never hearing anything back.
All the positions I had interviews for I knew I would be a great fit.
I had all the skills they wanted.
Suddenly, I realized the reason why they called me — on paper, I was a good candidate but I kept screwing up once they had a chance to talk to me.
I needed to change my approach.
For the next phone interview, I was going to prepare just as much as I would for an in-person interview.
I wrote out answers to interview questions, I thought of questions to ask them, and I did a mock interview with some friends.
I scheduled time to be out of the lab and in a quiet place during the interview.
This extra preparation paid off, and that next phone interview led to an in-person interview.
Why Performing Well In Your Screening Interview Is The Only Way To Get Hired
If you’ve been invited to a phone or video interview, you’ve already beat out most candidates.
Because, 98% of candidates are eliminated by the initial resume screen (Workopolis).
If someone takes the time to get on a phone call with you, they are demonstrating that you are worth their time.
You are in the running for the position.
So, you must take your preliminary or screening interview seriously, whether it’s with a hiring manager, a recruiter, or someone else at the company.
This first person you talk to is the gatekeeper.
And, as the gatekeeper, it’s their job to screen out even more candidates.
If you’ve got a screening interview, you’ve avoided the resume reject pile, but now it’s up to you to prove that you deserve to move on to the next step.
You must prove that you are a candidate they want to learn more about.
As soon as your screening interview begins, you must be ready to “wow” your interviewers.
You need to feel confident.
The only way to feel confident is to be well prepared.
89% of executives say being unprepared in an interview will keep you from getting hired (Moneyish).
So, how should you prepare for a screening interview?
Are there other things to prepare for when you know your interview is going to be over the phone or via video chat?
Do not just “wing-it” for your screening interview, or you can kiss the opportunity for an onsite interview and a job offer goodbye.
Cheeky Scientist Top 5 Phone/Video/Recruiter Interview Articles
It is not just a formality.
It is an interview.
You are being judged.
And, there are particular nuances to phone and video interviews that you need to know in order to be successful.
A screening interview is a part of the job search process — so, you need to prepare.
Understanding and executing a good phone or video interview is the only way you are going to get to the onsite interview stage, and ultimately get the job offer.
Here are the top 5 Cheeky Scientist articles to help PhDs ace their next screening interview...
The hiring process is long and arduous. From resume to job offer, there are many, many places where you can screw everything up.
PhDs will spend days on their resume and spend months networking to get a referral.
Perhaps you even did a mock interview with a friend.
But, an integral part of the hiring process that many PhDs overlook is the screening interview.
These are the interviews you have over the phone or via video, where the other person is deciding if you are worthy of an in-person interview.
These calls are not formalities — they are evaluations.
They are deciding if you are the right candidate and if they want to get to know you better.
If you do not learn how to properly prepare for these screening interviews, you will not make it to the onsite interview or get a job offer.
It is vital that you take the advice laid out in these articles and set yourself up for success in the hiring process.
To learn more about how to write a killer resume and other essential tips on how to land your dream job in industry, including instant access to our exclusive training videos, case studies, industry insider documents, transition plan, and private online network, get on the waitlist for the Cheeky Scientist Association.