Undoubtedly, a properly designed and executed selection process is the foundation of hiring the best candidate for a position. This becomes especially important when your vacancy has received lots of attention, and you are under pressure to hire a new employee in the shortest possible time. Interviewing every person can be difficult and time-consuming, so it’s worthwhile to conduct a phone screening interview and choose the best of the best. Below we explain how it works in practice. Read on.

Phone screening interview – table of contents:

  1. What is a phone screening interview?
  2. Benefits of phone screening interviews
  3. How to conduct a phone screening interview? 4 useful tips
  4. Summary

What is a phone screening interview?

A phone screening interview is usually a 15 to 30-minute phone call. During the interview, the recruiter should ask basic questions to verify whether the person is a suitable candidate for the position they have applied for and whether the company will meet their expectations. Thus, the issues raised should include the skills needed for the position, time availability, expected working conditions (especially salary) or experience in the industry.

phone screening interview

Benefits of phone screening interviews

A phone screening interview will be the first contact with a potential candidate who will participate in the recruitment process. On the basis of the phone conversation, you will decide whether you want to invite the person for a recruitment interview conducted with the HR officer and the head of the department. A phone screening interview is then your chance to, first of all:

  • verify the basic skills included in the resume (make sure the correct information is provided and rule out any inaccuracies, if any),
  • check whether the working conditions you offer suit the candidate (get to know their expectations regarding pay, mode of employment etc.),
  • present the organizational culture prevailing in the company (which will allow the candidate to know whether the workplace will suit them).

However, a phone screening interview should not be confused with a recruitment interview over the phone – the described method is not aimed at making a decision to hire a person, but at getting to know the candidate as well as possible, checking how they will fit into our company and team, and verifying whether they have enough experience and skills to support our business in the way we expect.

How to conduct a phone screening interview? 4 useful tips

Recruitment processes work both ways. Candidates always want to present themselves in the best possible way. Companies should have the same motivation. A phone screening interview is a chance to show your professionalism and the right attitude – for this reason, it is necessary to prepare for it in the right way. Below are some of the most important tips you should keep in mind.

Schedule an interview with the candidate

You may think it’s just a short interview, but the candidate should have a chance to prepare for this stage of the recruitment process and not answer a potential recruiter’s questions at work, when traveling or between afternoon classes. Set a specific date and call on time – this is important for both you and the interviewee. What’s more, this way you will minimize possible problems in communication.

Read the candidate’s resume carefully

Reading a candidate’s resume should aim to juxtapose the described experience, skills or knowledge of tools with the requirements indicated by the hiring manager. For each position, some requirements are must-haves (while others are not mandatory and can be made up during the employment), and our goal during a phone screening interview is to check whether the candidate has them. So focus on this area when analyzing the resume and highlight the elements that make you feel curious or uncertain (e.g., frequent change of positions, uncompleted studies, employment gap etc.).

Prepare the questions you will want to ask

The questions you ask should be both verifying (concerning experience and skills, for example) and exploring the candidate’s motivations. Of course, the interview often takes the form of a spontaneous conversation, but still you should prepare the questions you will want to ask. After all, you wouldn’t want to forget to ask about the expected financial conditions, availability or other terms of cooperation, would you?

Prepare the most important information about the company that you would like to convey

Even if you listed most of it in the job ad, it is worth going into more detail here. Also, leave space to answer any questions the candidate may have. Finally, remember to send a message thanking them for the interview and letting them know how to proceed. If you know right away that you don’t want to offer the interviewee to take part in the recruitment process, let them know already in this message so that they don’t wait in uncertainty.


We have already shown you what benefits a phone screening interview can bring to you as a recruiter, and how you should conduct it to achieve the desired results. If you think that adding such a stage to your company’s recruitment process will allow you to attract top talents, follow our guidelines.

Read also: Social media in recruitment. 1 important reason to use them.

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Author: Nicole Mankin

HR manager with an excellent ability to build a positive atmosphere and create a valuable environment for employees. She loves to see the potential of talented people and mobilize them to develop.