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How To Nail Your Next Tech Interview

Hosted By
Ryan Valles
Founder, Interview Kickstart
Our tried & tested strategy for cracking interviews
How FAANG hiring process works
The 4 areas you must prepare for
How you can accelerate your learnings

What Are Phone Screen Interviews Like at Top Companies?

Posted on 
May 4, 2021
|
by 
Ashmita Roy

Ever wondered what phone screen interviews are like at FAANG and Tier-1 companies? 

Well, Phone Screen interviews are an important component of the hiring process at top companies. In this post, we’ll help you understand what a phone screen interview is and what role it plays in hiring processes at top companies.  

So what is a phone screen interview? What type of phone interview questions can you expect in interviews at FAANG+ companies? 

A phone screen interview is a telephonic interview that essentially seeks to evaluate if you’d be the right fit for the job. It includes a quick review of your background and a few questions around your qualifications, skills, interests, and projects. Sometimes at phone screen interviews, interviewers may also want to know your salary expectations and how soon you can join.

However, before you start preparing, it is important to understand what is a phone screen interview and what to expect at phone screen interviews as a software engineer aspiring to land coveted offers at FAANG and tier-1 companies. 

If you are preparing for a tech interview, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation e-book to get interview-ready!

Having trained over 13,500 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the most challenging tech interviews. Our alums consistently land offers from FAANG+ companies. The highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $1.267 Million!

At IK, you get the unique opportunity to learn from expert instructors who are hiring managers and tech leads at Google, Facebook, Apple, and other top Silicon Valley tech companies.

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In this article, we’ll help you understand what is a phone screen interview and how to navigate these interviews at FAANG and tier-1 companies. Remember, phone screen interviews are just as important as onsite or in-person interviews — adequately preparing for phone screen interviews can positively impact the outcome of your interview.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article -

What is a Phone Screen Interview?

First up, what is a phone screen interview? Well, it is a telephonic interview where recruiters will aim to evaluate if your experience and skills meet the requirements of the role. Phone screen interviews typically last 20 to 30 minutes. 

Phone screen interviews are an integral part of interviews at FAANG and tier-1 companies. Being crisp and answering phone screen interview questions with clarity is key to setting yourself apart from the competition. 

Phone Screen Interview Questions

After we’ve answered “what is a phone screen interview”, let’s move onto some popular phone screen interview questions that appear at technical interviews. 

As mentioned before, phone screen interview questions are typically around your skills, experience, expectations from the role, and why you want to switch jobs. Recruiters try and understand your motive for applying to the position and whether you’d be a good fit for the role.

Here are some common phone screen interview questions to expect in interviews at top companies:

  • Tell me about a project that helped you improve your technical skills.
  • How do you think you can use your skills to fulfill the responsibilities of this role?
  • Why are you currently looking to switch jobs? Why did you choose this company?
  • Tell me about a time when you worked on multiple projects and how you prioritized tasks.
  • How will you leverage your experience to meet the expectations of the role?

What are Phone Screen Interviews Like at Top Companies?

In this section, we’ll look at what phone screen interviews are like at FAANG companies. Let’s take a look 

What is the Phone Screen Interview Like at Facebook?

Recruiters at Facebook are looking to confirm that you are the right fit for a particular role. Hence, be prepared to explain your background and why you’ll be a good fit at Facebook. You should expect typical behavioral questions like:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why Facebook?
  • Tell me about your current day-to-day as a developer.

If you get past this first phone screen round, the recruiter will help schedule your first technical phone screen with a Facebook engineer. 

Note: A great thing about Facebook is that it is very transparent about its recruiting process. Your HR contact will walk you through the remaining steps in the hiring process and share an email with resources you can use to prepare. 

What is the Phone Screen Interview Like at Amazon? 

The phone screen interview at Amazon lasts about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Typically, the recruiter will assess your interest and fit for the role. They will also ask basic questions about your background and work experience.

The recruiter will then help schedule the first interview, which will be conducted over the phone.

The next phone screen will typically be with your hiring manager and senior members of the product team. You can expect behavioral questions like:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why Amazon?
  • Tell me about a feature or product you launched from start to finish.

Note: Amazon gives significant importance to its Leadership Principles throughout the interview. The company has a strong focus on customer obsession. So, go through their Leadership Principles carefully before your interview.

What is the Phone Screen Interview Like at Apple? 

There are two rounds of screening at Apple done over a 30-minute informal phone call. The first call is from the internal recruiter, followed by the team lead for the division that you applied to. The objective of the call is to brief the candidate about the hiring process. You can expect discussions around your:

  • Experience 
  • Academic achievements
  • Your interests.

What is the Phone Screen Interview Like at Netflix? 

Your initial phone screen at Netflix will be roughly 30 minutes long, where the recruiter will dig into your resume and gauge your interests and enthusiasm for Netflix and the position. 

You may have one more pre-screen with a hiring manager, and this will be primarily focused on:

  • Past projects you’ve worked on
  • Culture fit questions
  •  A few questions testing your knowledge of an area you claim to be an expert in (e.g., Python)

Note: Before the phone call, the recruiter will send you over their core values presentation slide (can be found on their website too). This is a must-read as Netflix interviews are known for focusing heavily on culture fit.

What is the Phone Screen Interview Like at Google? 

The technical phone interview at Google follows an initial phone screening, conducted by a recruiter to glean background information about your profile, the role applied for, and reasons for the same. At this stage, you will be assessed based on your profile and prospective role requirements.

Once shortlisted, you will be required to complete an online survey form and choose interview dates as well as the programming language you would like to use for the interview.

Note: On confirming an interview date, recruiters usually email candidates with information on the upcoming interview process, along with resources such as text documents and videos to prepare for the same. 

Phone Screen Interview Tips to Nail Interviews at FAANG Companies

Now that you know what phone screen interviews at FAANG typically entail, here are a few tips to help you prepare for them:

Before the Interview

  1. Know Your Company

It is essential that you do your research on the company’s values, goals, and culture. Look at the company’s website, social media pages, and other relevant channels of information to develop a thorough understanding of what your prospective role will entail. 

Knowing details such as the company’s recent rounds of funding, or recent achievements that made the news, can help you answer common questions, such as “What do you know about the company?”, effectively. 

  1. Reschedule Your Interview, If Necessary, in Advance

If you can't attend your interview, inform the interviewer in advance and reschedule it. Fix a time that’s convenient for both you and the interviewer. Intimating your interviewer in advance eliminates unnecessary awkwardness.

  1. Review Your Job Description

This is necessary if you hope to ace your phone screen interview. A typical job description tells you exactly what the company is looking for in you as a candidate. It also gives you a fair understanding of what skills are needed for the job based on which you can assess if you can effectively handle these responsibilities. 

If there are requirements that match your strengths, in the job description, you should lay emphasis on these specific capabilities during the interview. For instance, if a job description contains requirements such as “proven ability to manage a team, preferably of 10+ people,” you should highlight any past experience you have had handling a team to show you are well-suited for the role.

  1. Check Your Tools

Ensure your phone is adequately charged. You really don’t want to be addressing problems with your phone during your interview. If you plan to use earphones, test them before the interview to avoid any snags. If you plan to use bluetooth headphones, make sure they’re charged. 

Have an alternate number ready so the interviewer can reach you immediately if you experience network trouble. 

  1. Ensure You Have Answers to Commonly Asked Questions

Research the most commonly asked phone screen interview questions and have your answers ready. Remember, the only way a recruiter can gauge how good you actually are is by evaluating your answers. Doing your research also helps build your confidence as you’ll know what to expect and how to answer effectively.

  1. Ensure There Are No Sources of Distraction

This is a very important point to remember. Eliminate all forms of distraction during the interview, however insignificant. Especially, remember to keep all electronic gadgets away and find a quiet environment. 

Unwanted distractions have a negative impact on the interview process. Candidates are often caught off-guard by background noises or activities while engaging with the interviewer. 

During the interview

  1. Act Professionally

A key phone screen interview tip is to be respectful, kind and professional. Adopting a neat and professional tone can pitch the odds in your favor when recruiters make their final decision. 

Also, smile appropriately when you speak and answer questions. Although your smile is not visible to interviewers over the phone, being in high spirits adds enthusiasm to your overall tone, language and speech. Avoid slouching to maintain a serious approach to the interview. 

  1. Be a Good Listener

A lot of candidates miss out on this crucial element without realizing it. Being a good listener is a great phone screen interview tip that will help you better understand the requirements of your role and let you ask insightful and appropriate phone screen interview questions. Be patient while you listen and avoid jumping the gun when asked questions.

  1. Make Preparatory Notes and Use Them

If there is anything specific that you want to highlight about your job-related responsibilities at your previous company, make sure you note it down and keep it handy during your interview. 

This will help you be crisp and concise while delineating your skill sets. If the recruiter tells you more about your role, having a notebook handy will help. Note down these details to understand your job role better and prepare accordingly for upcoming rounds.

  1. Enquire About the Next Steps of the Process

Getting shortlisted or selected after an interview is never in your hands. All you can do during the interview is give your best. However, it never hurts to find out about the next steps of the interview process. 

If you do pass your phone interview, knowing what to expect in upcoming rounds of the interview process is a subtle but effective way of staying ahead of your competition. You can begin preparing for the next rounds, while you wait to hear back from the interviewers. 

After the interview

Follow Up After Your Phone Screen Interview

If you don’t hear from your interviewer or the company within a week, you should follow up with them. It’s possible they’re still in the process of screening candidates. However, they could be at the tail-end of their hiring process (this happens when they’ve selected the right candidate for the role). 

Either way, getting a status update can help you prepare for upcoming rounds or move on to explore other opportunities. If you receive feedback on your performance, you can identify areas for improvement. 

FAQs on Phone Screen Interviews

Q1. What is a phone screen interview?

A phone screen interview is a telephonic interview where recruiters will ask you questions on your skill-set, experience, what you can bring to the role, your expectations from the role, and why you want to work at the company you’ve applied to.

Q2. How long does a phone screen interview last?

A phone screen interview typically lasts about 20 to 30 minutes.

Q3. What are some phone screen interview questions to expect at FAANG interviews?

Some phone screen interview questions to expect at FAANG companies are - i) Why do you want to work here ii) How will your experience benefit the company? iii) Tell us about a project that you worked on, and iv) What are your expectations from the role. 

Q4. Are coding questions asked at phone screen interviews?

No, coding questions aren’t asked at phone screen interviews. They’re generally asked during the technical screen. 

Q5. What is the next round after the phone screen interview at top companies?

If you pass the phone screen interview, you’re invited to the technical screen which generally involves solving coding interview questions. If you get past the technical screen, you’re invited to the on-site interview. 

Get Ready For Your Upcoming Interview

Preparing for the phone screen is the first step in your FAANG tech interview prep, and these tips will surely come in handy!

Are you excited about getting your technical interview prep started? Sign up for our free webinar today to learn how to do it right!


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