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Eric Gong 👨‍💻 Talent Magnate
Eric Gong 👨‍💻 Talent Magnate

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Inside The Hiring Manager's Mind - Phone Screen

Hi there 👋

I'm Eric.

Former VP of Eng now running a recruiting startup. Here to help you along your job search. The phone screen is a filter to see if a candidate has the experience and interest to work at a company. Let me know if you find this helpful in the comments and on social.

Let’s get started!


Research the following:

  • The business of the company
  • The goal they’re trying to achieve with a hire
  • The background of the person you’re speaking with

Take a minute to think about how it all fits together. Let questions and concerns bubble up in your mind. If you’ve got that down, you’re starting on the right foot. This is a social world. There are lots of blog posts, videos and content that people put out there about themselves and their company. Check it out and refer to them on the call. It’s always impressive to me when candidates do their homework.

Most candidates don't do a thorough enough job. You will and you’ll have a leg up.

Your stories

How prepared are you to share the following?

  • A compelling story about who you are professionally
  • Specific examples of how you’ve worked effectively as an individual and team member
  • A clear explanation of your expertise and how you've used specific technologies
  • Stories of triumph and failure and what you’ve learned from them
  • Why you want to work at that specific company

That’s the minimum you’ll be asked. If you can think of more stories, put them in your tool belt. Each one of these stories better draw me in and give me valid reasons for believing that your experiences will translate to working with me.

Work on them and practice them. Pull in a few industry friends to listen to them. You won’t regret it.

Your interest

Show that you want the job. Do that by preparing thoughtful questions ahead of time.

Here are some examples:

  • What’s it like to work at your company?
  • What pain points are you trying to solve with this role?
  • What’s your advice for this person to be successful in the role?

Showing interest will help build a meaningful conversation. There’s a person on the other side of the phone who has talked to lots of candidates. Stand out by making the most out of your call. Drive a level of interest they haven’t seen before. That’ll help you get to the next step.

Follow up

Be thoughtful. Send a brief thank you note with a meaningful message referencing the highlights of the conversation. It only takes a few moments and people appreciate them. There is no downside. Do it.

Your first steps

Thanks for reading. Was this helpful? What other techniques do you use on a phone screen? Comment 👇 and follow me on social.

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