March 22, 2021

Phone interview and screening: How to succeed?

If you have recently started to apply for jobs in Australia you might have realized that many employers will give you a quick call before inviting you for a face-to-face interview or trial. This is what the professionals in HR and Recruiting call Phone Screening. 

Do you feel in panic when they call you? Do you suddenly forget even what’s your name or struggle with Australian English accent? 

Well, let me tell you that it is absolutely normal. We will help you get prepared for the next Phone Interview and minimize the chances of panicking, while increasing the chances of getting that job!

Companies usually use the Phone Screening technique to reduce time in recruiting a new employee. When the number of applicants for a position is large, going through a quick phone conversation with selected applicants can help filtering those that are the most adequate for the position.

During this call, you will speak with a Recruiter (which is the person in charge of posting the vacancy, filtering resumes and managing the interviews) or directly with your future Manager (specially in Small or Medium businesses). This is a quick call and depending on the Profile the recruiter is looking for, it can take from 10 minutes to half an hour.

In order to reduce the stress during the phone conversation, there are some Tips you should consider,


  1. PLAN AHEAD , chances of receiving a phone call when you are actively looking for a job are the highest. If you are prepared ahead you will feel more comfortable, relaxed and will be ready to nail it.

2. REVIEW BASIC QUESTIONS IN ENGLISH, there is some basic information that the Recruiter will likely ask you in order to confirm he/she is talking to the right candidate such as Full Name (and its spelling), Suburb where you live (confirm you are using the right pronunciation), Whether you are studying or currently working somewhere else and your Availability (mention days of the week and limit of hours). There are also high chances to discuss which Visa you currently hold and if there are any Work restrictions attached to it.

3. KEEP A RECORD. If you are making multiple applications it is essential that you keep a record of the companies and positions to which you have applied. This way you can access the requirements of each position quickly before the interview. You can always request the person on the phone to give you 2 minutes to find a quiet place to listen properly while you mute your phone and get the info you need.

4. PREPARE FOR COMMON QUESTIONS. Depending on the position you are applying for, there might be further questions asked to you. The recruiter wants to know how suitable you are for the position by going through some filter questions. These, may include: Why are you looking to leave your current company or make a career change? Do you count with the required licences or registrations (if needed)? Would you be able to provide a current Police Check (if needed),  If you were offered this job, when could you start? and What are your salary expectations?

5. If you are after a job that requires a qualification, several skills or experience, then it is advisable to Go through the Job Advertisement again and carefully

take note of the skills required for the position (“Skills needed for this position”) . Once these keywords have been noted, practice answering common interview questions using those keywords to show that you are the best candidate for the position.

6. Lastly, it is very important to make sure that you are able to proceed with the phone call on a quiet place with no distractions or exterior noises disturbing the conversation. If you are not able to do it, then politely explain the situation to the person on the other side of the phone and request them their name and contact number to give them a call back ASAP.


Remember ! Use each phone call to learn from your mistakes, your fears and moreover, to prepare for the following Call.