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Tips for a successful recruiter phone interview

Good news! You’ve submitted your resume and application for a job you’re excited about and now a recruiter has reached out to schedule a phone screening with you. The goal of a phone screening is to confirm the recruiter understands your background, experience, and expectations for the job (hours, salary, etc.). Here are three successful phone interview tips to help you impress the recruiter and propel you to the next stage of the interview process.

1. It’s more than a conversation

Treat a recruiter phone screening as an interview and be prepared with questions about the company. The phone screen typically determines if you move forward in the process. “During the phone screen, a strong candidate demonstrates that they prepared for the call by researching the company and position,” says Fannie Mae Recruiting Advisor, Kelly W.

Be prepared to speak about your top three relevant career contributions and how they make you the right fit for the job. Kelly also says candidates stand out when they focus on their accomplishments and projects and show their initiative to learn and grow in their roles.

2. Stay focused

For the phone screening, find a quiet place without distractions and have a backup plan in case there is a disruption. Silence your notifications and plan your morning coffee run after your phone screen. “I have had so many phone screenings where the candidate’s Teams notifications were going off throughout the call and it’s distracting,” says Fannie Mae Technical Recruiter, Doug W. Remember to make the most of your time and the recruiter’s time.

Fannie Mae recruiter, Vonda N., says to “be cognizant of the duration of the phone screen. If the recruiter says it will last 20-30 minutes, be aware of the length of your answers.” Keep your answers focused on the key points that not only answer the question but are most relevant to the position.

3. How to follow up

Following your phone screening, a good rule of thumb is to allow 2-3 business days to receive a response from the recruiter. To encourage a quick response and stay at the top of the recruiter’s mind, send a thank you email soon after your phone screen. Be sure to reinforce why you are a great fit for the job and reference your conversation to enhance their recall about you.

If you don’t hear back from the recruiter in a timely fashion, follow up with a call or an email. Be sure to include an additional reference or other points about your viability as a candidate to keep their focus on you.

By following these tips, your recruiter phone screen experience will be a more positive step toward earning that position.

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RECRUITMENT FRAUD ALERT: Please be aware of recruitment scams that may involve offering fictious job opportunities, requesting personal information, or demanding payments during the recruitment process. All open positions are located on Fannie Mae’s careers site and are based in the United States. Official Fannie Mae email addresses end with and Fannie Mae will not use online chats or instant messaging to conduct interviews. Fannie Mae will not ask for a financial commitment from candidates during the recruiting process. Please contact us via e-mail if you are concerned you have been offered employment with Fannie Mae that might be a scam or contacted for a job by an individual who does not represent or work at Fannie Mae.

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