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Telephone interviews: a telephone interview is scheduled in advance and follows a formal interview structure.
Telephone screening: used by employers as a fast and cost effective way to narrow the pool of acceptable candidates. It is different from a telephone interview as screening is usually brief and unannounced. Occasionally the call may develop into an interview.
Screening questions determine whether or not it is worthwhile to pursue you further as a candidate. The employer may want to confirm your eligibility, experience or knowledge. Be prepared by expecting to handle a call regarding your job applications at any time.
It is better to accept the call while you can as you don't want to miss an opportunity. Also 'phone tag' gets frustrating for everyone.
If you are unable to take the call at that time, apologise but remain professional.
Mobile phones create some additional challenges- see the tips on the right.
You will feel a lot more relaxed if you know you are well prepared.
While taking any call from a prospective employer maintain a professional demeanour as you would if meeting them in person.
If you have provided your mobile phone number in your application, it really is possible you might get a call anywhere, anytime. Your caller is not aware of your location, you are. Be professional, it is not necessary to provide details about your current situation.
It is important to think through what to say before you return a call as you want to make a positive impression at each stage of the application. Be aware that the interviewer may be part of a large team, each of whom have hundreds of applications on their desk - make it easy for them to identify you.
Always be prepared in case you have to leave a message. A confused, rambling message on an interviewer's voice mail won't create a positive impression. Speak slowly and clearly. Your message should include:
"My name is Jan Jones. I am returning a call from Ms. Brown regarding the administration position that was advertised on Jobshop last week. My contact number is 0400 000 111. I can take a call until 4pm today, or anytime tomorrow."