Q: I am getting interviews, but more and more they are short screening interviews, conducted by telephone. What can I do to make it past these preliminary calls?
A: First, don’t overlook them. Even if the interviewer is not a lawyer, but for example is an HR professional, that person is instrumental at the inception of the hiring process and may have a say in the final decision at the end of the process. Give the interviewer your full attention and respect, number one.
Number two, eliminate distractions, stand up during the call, smile, and project enthusiasm through your voice and word choice. It’s too easy to lapse into low energy otherwise and low energy never prevails in an interview.
Third, don’t let your high energy or interest overtake the interviewer. Never talk over them, always pause after your answer so they can get a word in and lead the conversation.
Fourth, as the call is ending, ask about next steps in and the timeline for the process…and reinforce your enthusiasm about the opportunity.
Finally, follow up. Send a follow up email reiterating your continuing interest, keeping it short and pointed yet not curt or clipped. Then, if you know or have a commonality with someone in the organization or can find a contact who does, try to enhance your chances of getting full and positive attention, without disrespecting or trying to leapfrog past the screening interviewer, by asking them to put in a good word for you with him or her.