Alright, so let’s establish something here. Phone screens tend to suck. That said, we do ’em with everyone we talk to. Here’s the thing: if you’re an engineer, product manager, et al, I’m not going to come at you with technical questions. I can barely spell Java. A good recruiter should know their strong spots, and one of those is identifying people who might be cultural fits for the company (or at least screening out the crazies).

So, if you’re a candidate and talking on the phone to an in-house recruiter, and they start asking you a list of technical questions, rest assured it’s literally a list they got from a manager – don’t get too detailed, and don’t try and get into a discussion with them about Tables vs. CSS. If it’s an actual manager, you can get into more detail, but still try & be succinct.

Try, instead, to demonstrate that you can verbalize well, and speak to your resume – be ready to explain your career moves in a positive light (offer examples of how you made your company do well and added value). Talk about how you play well with others. Then, close by asking for a face to face – have your calendar with you!!

Oh, here’s how not to get asked in – be combative. Tell them the role is beneath you. Maybe it is, but your goal here is to get in for a face to face. Once in, and they love you, there’s always a good chance you can convince them to upgrade. The phone’s the last place to try this.