Many people have strong resumes but do not necessarily match your expected criteria for the job. A phone screen interview is one way of narrowing down your list of potential employees and is often used as a precursor to actual panel or face-to-face interviews. Because of its brief nature, it saves time and even cost in cases where out-of-state or foreign candidates are being considered.

Phone screen interview questions are basically the deciding factor of who gets shortlisted. It is more likely for an impromptu call to give you better results than interviewing a candidate who is well prepared, rehearsed, and probably has a cheat sheet.

Demystifying the best phone screen interview questions

Like all other interviews, you have to begin by planning. First, you will need to plan the duration of your call and when you are actually going to call. In instances where it was preplanned with the candidate, keep time and call as agreed. You will need to have your questions ready. After reviewing the applicant’s resume, it can be helpful to jot down a few bullet points on areas that need to be clarified. Sometimes, unexpected circumstances like the candidate not picking up or being on voicemail may arise. You need to be adequately prepared for any unusual occurrences.

Anatomy of phone screen interview questions

Most interviewers find that it takes 15-30 minutes to conduct a phone interview. While this may vary accordingly, a usual 30 minute interview should be segmented as:

  • Introduction [5 minutes] – go over all necessary introductions.
  • Job description [5 minutes]