Phone screening candidates is an important tool for recruiters as it gives them the opportunity to gauge a candidate’s personality and gain insight into their suitability for a role before moving onto the interview stage.


Your phone manner can be very revealing regarding how you are likely to come across in person and a lot of assumptions, including those about your general ability, are made from how you speak over the phone. So, it is vital that you give a good impression in order to secure an interview and ensure recruiters will put you forward for future roles.


At Gaulter Russell Numero phone screening is something we do on a daily basis across a diverse range of roles, whether they be in sales and marketing, finance, accounting or supply chain. Based on the hundreds of phone screenings I have done since I joined Gaulter Russell Numero, here are my six top tips to ensure you give the best impression possible during a phone screening:


  • Be friendly, clear and polite when you answer the phone saying “hello, (your name) speaking” sounds more professional than answering with an aggressive “yes” or a too casual “hey”. Be mindful of your tone as well – I am constantly surprised at how many people can sound angry, confused or even frightened when they answer the phone and this never leaves a good impression!


  • Try to sound interested, willing to talk and happy. If you sound bored, speak quietly, say um too often or mumble it will make the recruiter question your communication skills and they may reconsider your suitability for roles. This is particularly important for customer facing roles, such as Sales Representatives and Customer Support.


  • If the recruiter asks “why you are looking for a new role?” or “why are you interested in this particular role?” be honest, but never say “I just need a job”. It shows a lack of genuine interest in the role and it suggests that you will be the type of employee who gives the bare minimum level of effort in their job.


  • If you have applied for multiple jobs, create a spreadsheet tracking the key details of each role, such as the job title, the company the job is with and / or the recruitment company looking after the job and a brief overview of what the job entails. That way when a recruiter calls you won’t be left scrambling to remember which job they are talking about. Similar to the top tip above you will come across as more genuinely interested and engaged in the role, which will leave a good impression on the recruiter.


  • At the end of the call remember to thank the recruiter for phoning you and say a proper goodbye, abruptly hanging up at the end of the call will make you appear rude and socially awkward.


  • Another phone related tip is to ensure that you have a professional sounding voicemail message that mentions your name for when you are unavailable. It confirms to the recruiter that they have the right person and similar to a live phone call your voicemail will reflect your personality either positively or negatively, along with your ability to communicate and articulate clearly.


From my experience I think most people prefer to communicate face-to-face, because there is less room for misinterpretation. Facial expressions and gestures are a huge part of how we communicate and understand each other, which can make talking over the phone challenging. When visual cues are not available to us the manner and tone in which we speak becomes paramount, so if you can master the art of a great phone screening then doors will fly open.


Written by Alisa Moore, Research & Community Manager at Gaulter Russell Numero.