Friday, July 12, 2024

How To Do A Phone Screen Interview

Don't Miss

Consider Professional Assistance From A Career Coach

Prepare For A Phone Screen Or Skype Interview

Many job seekers are struggling to find a job right now, and they’re becoming increasingly frustrated with the job market. A career coach can be a great resource and tool when you’re having trouble finding a job and achieving your career goals. A career coach can also help job seekers realign their career direction with solution-focused ideas, provide positive praise and motivation, and offer guidance in self-discovery.

General Screening Questions For Tech Skills:

  • How many years have you worked as a Software Engineer or Developer?
  • What programming languages have you been using the majority of your career?
  • Tell me about your current role. Working on, scope, tech stack, etc.?
  • What % of your time is spent coding?
  • Are you involved in architecture and/or design decisions?

Bonus: I wrote another post about Phone Screening applicants here.

Benefits Of Conducting A Phone Interview

Phone interviews are an essential part of the modern hiring process, offering convenience for both the jobseeker and Hiring Manager alike. While in-person interviews will remain an essential part of the hiring process, most applicants have come to expect an initial phone screening prior to an in-person visit.

Being able to conduct a phone interview offers the following advantages.

Also Check: Design Interview Preparation

Proposing An Alternate Phone Interview Date

If the date and time suggested for a phone interview do not work for you, you will need to propose an alternative time. Briefly explain that you have a conflict at the time the caller proposed and tell him when you are available.


Hi Mr. Gregory,

Thank you for calling me to schedule a phone interview for the marketing position at XYZ Corp. Unfortunately, I am not available at the time you proposed. Would we be able to schedule a phone interview on either Tuesday or Thursday at 4:30 p.m. instead? If not, please let me know another time that works for you.

Whichever way you respond to a phone interview request, do it promptly. This confirms your interest in the position and ensures you dont lose your interview spot to another candidate.


Ask The Phone Screening Questions

10 Tips to Ace Up a Phone Interview

During the phone screening, you will get acquainted with the candidate and then jump into the question portion of the interview. Focus on asking a standard set of questions to every candidate, to avoid bias or unfair evaluations. Conduct the interview in a quiet, professional setting, and give the candidate your full attention. With each question, be sure to listen carefully to the responses and note any red flags.

Avoid asking illegal interview questions regarding topics such as race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, pregnancy or marital status.

Read Also: System Design Interview Prep

Red Flags During A Phone Screen Interview

  • Does not ask many questions about the position and seems only mildly interested
  • Has only negative things to say about previous employers
  • Mainly interested in what the job is paying and what benefits are available
  • Has not researched the company and knows little about the position they applied for.
  • Does not want to give references or makes excuses as to why they cant be provided to access previous job performance

Interview Question: What Are Your Salary Expectations

Related video: How To Negotiate Salary: Asking for More Money After a Job OfferIn this video, we analyze the salary negotiation process from start to finish, providing key tips at each stage.

Employers may bring up the topic of pay at some point in the interview process. Sometimes recruiters ask this question during an initial phone screening, or they may hold off on discussing salary until youve met face-to-face. You may be asked for your salary expectations directly, on an application form, or in response to a pre-determined salary range offered by the employer.

While a question about your salary expectations is one of the more straightforward things employers ask during a job interview, it can be stressful to talk about money. You can manage this stress by preparing your answers to salary-related questions ahead of time. If you do research on average compensation for both the role and your experience level, you can have productive and informative conversations about pay with your potential employers.

Also Check: How To Prepare System Design Interview

Assess How A Person Thinks

During a phone screen interview, the number one thing that I listen for is how the person thinks. When asking them questions, how do they go about answering them? What is the persons thought process when answering these questions and what motivates them? Are they very business-driven, or are they more philosophical? All of these things can be taken into account when evaluating someone during a phone interview.

Things To Listen For During The Phone Screen Interview

What You Need To Know About Phone Screen Interviews

When conducting your phone screening, itâs important to pay attention to the following attributes for each candidate:

  • Critical thinking skills, or how well they can adapt and react to your questions on the fly.
  • Soft skills, such as communication, personality, and personability.
  • How each of the above jives with your company culture and values.

In the same vein, here are some red flags you should watch for:

  • Negative attitude
  • Discrepancies between their application and answers
  • Lack of preparedness
  • Lack of enthusiasm about the company or position
  • Negative comments about former employers
  • A focus on money and benefits

These red flags may be indicators of the candidate being disinterested in the position, lacking professionalism, or being focussed on the wrong priorities. Itâs up to you to identify and determine if these red flags are a deal breaker, or if there are enough positives to move forward with the candidate.

Read Also: Prepare For System Design Interview

Attending For A Sense Of Humor

In a phone interview, you might not think you can tell if a candidate is smiling, but surprisingly you can. Listen closely to see if you can tell if they are smiling when they speak. Also, pay attention to whether they use humor when appropriate, which can signal that they have a positive outlook about the position. This positive outlook can mean that they are excited about the position. You want to find candidates who are enthusiastic and eager to work for you, rather than someone who is just looking for any job they can get. Listening for subtle cues like a smile and small, appropriate jokes can help differentiate candidates from each other.

Phone Interview Best Practices

During a phone screen, your goal is to eliminate your least qualified candidates to save onsite staff time and money. Additionally, you are hoping that your most qualified, mission compatible prospects rise to the top. During a phone screen, you are also looking for hints that the candidate’s needs are congruent with the offerings and culture provided by your organization.

You want to ask enough questions during the phone interview to determine if the person is a viable candidate. Remember, you have already screened many resumes and applications to come up with your short list of applicants eligible for a phone screen.

The applicants that you will phone interview should be your best prospects at this point in your recruitment process. If a candidate was sorted into your “maybe” resume stack, the candidate is unlikely to surpass the prospects you definitely identified as your top candidates. Don’t waste your timeor theirsin a phone interview unless their credentials and experience were in your top tier of candidates.

Are you interested to know what you should be able to expect from the candidate during the phone interview? See these recommended phone screen interview questions.

Also Check: Preparing For System Design Interview

Dont Multitask During The Interview

It can be challenging to stay focused on the phone interview when the candidate isnt directly in front of you, but its important not to become distracted. If you start dusting the top of your monitor, for example, youre not interviewing, youre multitasking. Youre also running out of time. Knowing how to conduct a phone interview includes using tactics to help you stay focused, including the following:

  • Have your thoughts organized.
  • Do the interview in a quiet space.
  • Use a headset instead of a speakerphone.
  • Be ready to record answers in an open document.

Close out the interview by letting the job seeker know what to expect. For example, you could say: Thank you for your time. In three days, Im going to make a decision about whom to move forward with in the interview process.

While it may be easier to ghost a candidate you havent met in person, its always a bad idea to ignore them after a phone interview. Call everybody backeven those youre not bringing back. Its not only professional, but also smartyou may need them in the future and its good practice when building a talent pipeline.

How To Ace A Phone Interview

Phone Interview Tips That Will Help You Get Hired

The phone interview is a more in-depth discussion about your experience, skills, and expectations. It often follows a technical coding challenge so, for senior software developers, this interview will likely be aimed at understanding your leadership style and soft skills.

Here are some typical phone interview questions for senior software developers:

  • Are you still writing code? Do you enjoy it?
  • Imagine that you are in charge of a legacy code project that is difficult to maintain how would you approach the project to make maintenance easier in the long run?
  • What are the pros and cons of working in an Agile environment?
  • What tools and techniques do you use when reviewing a team members code?
  • What metrics do you use to assess and monitor your teams performance?
  • How would you motivate disengaged employees?
  • Tell us about a time when you identified a potential business problem, and then proactively implemented a solution.
  • How do you stay up-to-date on new technologies related to full-stack web development?

Recruiters will probably mix in technical questions with behavioral interview questions and situational-style questions. Prepare as you would for an in-person or remote video interview.

That means researching the company, reading the job description, reviewing your experience and learning how to speak about your skills and leadership compellingly.

Read More: How To Use Social Media Thought Leadership To Level Up Your Developer Career

Also Check: Questions To Ask Cfo During Interview

How To Respond To A Phone Interview Email

If you receive a phone interview request via email, you should respond via email unless otherwise indicated. Follow a script similar to the one used for a phone reply, except for your introduction. Start your reply with a “thank you” for the opportunity. Restate the position and confirm the time. Let the interviewer know you are looking forward to the call and that she can contact you in the meantime with questions or requests for more information before the interview. Always include your telephone number in your written reply.


Hi Mrs. Klein,

Thank you so much for contacting me about the project manager position at ABC Company. I would be happy to do a phone interview Thursday, March 16, at 1:30 p.m. Im looking forward to talking with you more about the position. If you need anything from me in the meantime, you can email or call me at 555-555-5555.

Thank you,

Clear Your Mind Of Bias

The purpose of the phone screen interview is to determine whether a candidate deserves an interview. Bias can diminish its effectiveness. If you were impressed by a candidates resume and youre already determined to bring them in for an interview, the call is obsolete. Conversely, if you dont like this candidate because of their cover letter or resume, youre likely to deny them the opportunity anyway. Avoid the risk of making a bad decision by being objective.

Also Check: Questions To Ask Cfo In Interview

Decide How Long You Are Willing To Wait

If you do not hear from the interviewer for more than 30 minutes, you can choose to continue to wait or to inform the interviewer that you are unable to wait any longer. For example, if you have another interview scheduled, you may be unable to wait to hear from the interviewer longer than 30 minutes. If you are unable to continue waiting, be sure to let the interviewer know either via phone or email.


Tips To Determine And Communicate Salary Expectations

Job Interview Prep — Phone Screen Part 1

Sharing salary information with an interviewer can feel uncomfortable, especially if youre not accustomed to being asked this question and are discussing your ideal compensation for the first time. To help the conversation go smoothly and make sure you get a fair salary, here are a few additional pointers:

The average salary for this position in this area for a professional with my level of experience is between $110,000 and $115,000, so that would be my salary expectation for this role.

When an interviewer asks about your salary expectations, having a well-formulated, data-backed answer will ensure youre not undercutting yourself or aiming over the market value. By giving an honest, informed response, you can help the interviewer better understand whether your expectations align and, if things go well, what sort of salary will be attractive enough to get you on board.

Don’t Miss: Best Interview Attire For A Woman

Schedule Telephone Interviews On The Same Day

When scheduling your interviews, evaluate your phone interview questions and estimate how much time youll need with each candidate. Provide a little extra room in your schedule, in case the candidate is especially talkative or has more questions than you anticipate. You dont want to rush through them or cut them off abruptly if you can help it.

As with any interview, its best to ask the candidate for their availability first and try to work around it. This could mean being available during the lunch hour, or outside of normal business hours. This may be more common if youre interviewing candidates across multiple time zones.

If possible, schedule all your interviews for the same day. Having conversations close to each other helps you remember things you liked and didnt like about each candidates answers, and also allows you to evaluate them on a more equal footing.

How To Ace A Phone Screening Interview

1. Spoon Feed Information In A Way The Interviewer Wants It

2. Understand Each Question Has A Purpose That’s Not Always Obvious

3. Don’t Be Defensive Or Coy

4. Don’t Waste Time With Process Questions

  • When will I hear back from you?
  • Where are you in the hiring process?
  • How did I do?
  • When do you want the person you hire to start work?

If you’re one of the hundreds of candidates applying for a position, it’s crucial to stand out. But how can you get noticed when there’s so much competition? What are some of the best ways to stand out to employers?

Here’s what our approved career experts had to say:

Don’t Miss: Cfo Interview

Do You Have Any Questions

It is important that when given the opportunity, you ask at least a few thoughtful questions to your phone interviewer. This shows you are engaged, actively listening and genuinely interested in the opportunity.

Researching the company is an easy way to understand the companys history, mission and values. A great place to start is by browsing the companys website. You can also search the internet for recent news articles. Use the information you find to help shape your questions. Your initiative will be well-received because it proves you took the time to learn about the company and industry.

Here are a few example questions you might consider asking:

  • What does a typical day look like for a person in this position?

  • How has this role grown or adapted to suit the needs of the organization?

  • What kind of growth does the company expect to see within the next five years?

  • Do you have any concerns about my experience or skill set?

  • Thank you for explaining the role to me in such depth. When might I hear back from you regarding next steps in the process?

Read more:

Prepare For The Interview

How to do a phone interview + phone interview questions

Preparation is one of the keys to conducting a successful phone screening. For example, there are several details about the job opening you should determine beforehand.

Alain Dalencourt, senior engineering recruiter at Justworks, said both the hiring manager and the recruiter handling the interview should “understand the technical need for the position, how the business will be impacted if they hire or don’t hire for the position, how soon the position needs to be filled and which skills are essential versus nice to have.”

You should also research the candidate you are interviewing. You can read their résumé, scan their LinkedIn profile and check for common contacts to get a feel for their experience and network. However, be careful when looking at a candidate’s social media presence, as what you see may lead to unintentional bias.

Don’t Miss: System Design Interview Preparation

If You Were Hired How Soon Can You Start

Oh boy. If youre an out of area hire and are required to relocate, this answer is far from a simple one.

First off, dont ever answer with Now! Not only will you come off as desperate, but if youre already employed with another job, youre going to have to do the right thing and give notice.

Its easy to get intimidated and over-commit to an early start datebut the worst thing you can do is give a date to a new employer and then have to ask for more time. Not the right way to start out your long and mutually beneficial working relationship! Then you have to factor in the actual logistics of making a move.

Even one just across town can be as daunting as one across statesor in some cases, countries! Depending on the size of your move you could be looking at anything from a few days to a few months.

Again, be honest!

Many employers, if theyre genuinely interested in hiring you, will have programs in place to help you relocate and ease the burdens that come with a full move.

If they dont, make sure to take that into consideration as well. Words to the wisealways ask for MORE time than you initially think youll need. Trust us, in the long run, its far better to have more time than you need than to run out and have to ask for an extension.

One thing NOT to focus on during an initial phone interview is salaryat least not until youve had a chance to read our article When And How To Discuss Salary During The Job Interview Process.

More articles

Popular Articles