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Have you ever wondered where your time is best spent during the recruitment process? If you ask us, phone screen interviews are the best bang for your buck! Phone screens are a quick alternative to conducting initial in-person interviews. They give you the advantage of developing a first impression of a candidate, and can be a huge time saver.

Phone screens can help narrow down candidates, and get you closer to finding a good fit for your team!  Twitter_logo_blue

Phone screening provides both you and the candidate the opportunity to determine if there is a fit based on skills and experience, workplace preferences and salary expectations. Successful phone screens help to narrow down the candidates who have applied, and get you closer to finding a good fit for your team – a win-win!

Here are 6 ways to get the most out of your phone screens:

1. Put the Candidate at Ease.  Whether on the phone or in person, we all know that interviews can be nerve-wracking. Make an effort to engage the candidate in some small talk before diving into questions – this can help both of you ease into a smooth conversation flow, and promotes a positive candidate experience.

2. Get to the Point. When deciding on phone screen questions, it’s helpful to first clarify what you really need to know, and make sure your questions are relevant to the position at hand.  Setting clear criteria will help you evaluate the candidate’s responses and determine if their background and experience fits what you’re looking for. Keep in mind, the purpose of the call is not to decide if you want to hire them; the point of the call is to decide if it is worth your time to get to know them better by meeting in person.

3. Clear the Ambiguity. Phone screens give you the chance to dive into areas that may have been unclear in a candidate’s application. They also provide a chance for you to verify employment dates, and gives the candidate an opportunity to share additional information that may be relevant, but wasn’t included on their resume. In addition, phone screens allow the candidate to clear up any outstanding questions they may have that could affect their decision-making process – after all, fit works both ways!

4. Be Time Conscious. A phone screen should take you no longer than 15-30 minutes. Anything longer than that is really a full phone interview. Be sure to keep the pre-screen conversation as short and sweet as you can to save some conversation points for the main event – the in-person interviews!

5. It’s All About Personality. First impressions are important. While it’s important to not make snap judgements, speaking with a candidate allows you to assess their communication skills, ability to listen, attitude, approach and professionalism, which should help identify if they would be a good fit for your organization. For many organizations, hiring for fit can be as important in the selection process as expertise, skills or previous experience. If you get stuck hiring someone that isn’t a good fit with the team, their skills alone might not make up for it.

6. Next Steps. After you have both made it through your list of questions, you’ll want to fill the candidate in on the next steps in the recruitment process so that they have a clear understanding of what they can expect after the conversation. Some common next-step tidbits you may share are: the recruitment timeline, in-person interview dates, who they can follow up with if they have any additional questions, and when they can anticipate hearing from you.

Your Engaged HR Assignment: Are phone screens a regular part of the selection process in your organization? If not, give phone screens a try during your next hiring process and watch the time saving begin! Need any help with conducting your phone screens? We’re happy to help!

This Post Has 2 Comments
    1. Hi Clemens, thank you for your comment! We find that a traditional phone conversation works well, but if it’s easier for the candidate, a Skype or FaceTime Audio call, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp etc. would all be good options for the initial phone screen – whatever communication tool that will allow for a seamless connection and conversation to take place, and for the candidate to feel comfortable.

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