Phone Screen Interview Questions

Use these phone screen interview questions to figure out which candidates you should invite to an in-person interview.

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How to rock your phone interview questions

Phone interviews are an opportunity to screen the right candidates in and reject candidates who aren’t the right fit early in the hiring process so you don’t spend time on wasted interview. Questions should be simple and straight to the point. 

Phone interviews help you:

  • Identify deal-breakers early on
  • Get resume clarification
  • Test verbal communication skills
  • Get to know candidates
  • Share basic info about the role

This is how it works: 

  • Use phone (and/or video) interviews to evaluate candidates’ skills
  • Invite a shortlist of 2-3 potential hires for an in-person interview
  • Top tip: Phone interviews are also great for remote workers

Phone interview questions

  • What drew you to this role? 
  • Why did you choose this career path?
  • Are you currently employed? What’s your notice period?
  • Will our working schedule work for you? How flexible are you?
  • Do you have experience using [this] software?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • Are you authorized to work in [this] area?

How to ace a phone interview

  • Be organized: Schedule your interview with plenty of time, make sure you’ve got the OK from your candidate and give them the full info. 
  • Be clear: Give candidates full instructions including the interviewer's name, how long it will take and the correct time/date (don’t let different time zones catch you off guard!)
  • Practice: Prepare your questions in advance and make sure they are clear. Check they make sense with colleagues and if you’re unsure, practice.
  • Prepare a space: Choose a quiet corner to avoid noises and distractions, set up before the interview starts and check to make sure your camera (if you use video) and mic work.
  • Ask follow-up questions: If you notice something interesting about the candidate, don’t be afraid to go off script. But remember to keep to time.
  • Take notes: During the interview jot down any interesting points, and write further notes straight after you hang up.

Candidates to avoid

  • No-shows: If your candidate doesn’t show up or drops in late to an interview, it’s probably a sign of things to come. 
  • They’re unprepared: Avoid candidates who haven’t prepared a quiet space for you to chat. But if the issue’s down to tech problems, suggest an alternative like rescheduling or using a different tool.
  • They’re uncomfortable: Remote interviews can be daunting, but help you figure out their communication skills pretty fast. If they can’t hold a conversation on the phone, they might not be the one for you.
  • Informal candidates: Phone interviews need to remain professional. If they speak informally or aren’t dressed appropriately (on video), they might not take your company very seriously.

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