Interview Phone Screening

Every recruiter needs to conduct phone screenings at some point during the hiring process. Read below about how to speed up your phone interviews.

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We know you need to make quality hires — yesterday. Your job can feel chaotic when you can't stay ahead. We created a tool to help you screen all of your candidates in one day.

Like traditional phone interviews, but faster

All of the value that comes from phone screens, in a fraction of the time.
Evaluate every candidate in five minutes.
Shorten your time-to-hire by 6-8 days.
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Reach your talent wherever they are.

See which channels drive the best results.
Place an interview link anywhere you'd like to source more candidates.
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Easily find the candidates who are the perfect fit for your company.
Interviews are transcribed with 98% accuracy.
Identify desirable keywords in interviews.
Filter responses to review top candidates first.

Put diversity first

Level the playing field by mitigating bias from the beginning.

Eliminate unconscious bias by using phone interviews instead of video.
Make your interviews fair and equitable with built-in structure and consistency.
Increase accessibility with audio-based interviews.

Interview Phone Screening

Everyone is familiar with the phone interview process. A recruiter contacts a candidate, and they discuss the merits of the interviewee. It has become the standard practice, especially with remote candidates. However, what about an interview phone screening?

Although professional hiring managers know a solid resume and cover letter when they see them, they also know even the best resume can come from a woefully unqualified candidate. As such, separating these candidates from the hiring process early is essential to an efficient hiring process. This is where interview phone screening shines.

However, there is some confusion regarding this stage in the interview process.

Many candidates expect to immediately go to the primary phone interview after a recruiter reaches out. However, this stage is just as critical to the interview process as the primary phone interview.

So, let’s first discuss what a phone screening is. A phone screening, rather than assessing the candidate in depth, is designed to ensure that the candidate possesses the skills they claimed on their resume. This helps recruiters ensure they’re spending time interviewing the right candidates before progressing them further into the interview process. In essence, the purpose is to eliminate the clearly unqualified candidates in a brief 15- to 30-minute interview.

To create an effective screening process, it’s important to remember that the interview is not about deciding who to make an offer to. Rather, it’s to identify applicants that may not make the final cut. This ensures that you only conduct live interviews with the most suitable candidates.

First, decide what truly matters to filling the position. Is it a full-time and experienced candidate that’s ready to relocate, or are you looking for a flexible remote hire? What experience matters most to the position? These are only a few questions you must ask when designing a screening interview. Designing an effective screening complex process.

That’s why today we’re going to take a look at how you can create an effective screening.

What is a Phone Screening Interview

Before we look into the substance of a phone screening, let’s take a closer look at what a phone screening interview is. Again, the meaning of a phone screening interview is to separate the qualified and the unqualified. That’s why it’s important not to confuse it with the phone interview which recruiters will use to ultimately decide whether to extend an offer to the candidate.

These interviews typically take the form of a short phone call of 15 to 30 minutes. During this, the interviewer will ask questions designed to parse the basic qualifications of the candidate and relay additional details regarding the position. These are usually straightforward and to the point. Remember, brevity is key to these interviews to get the best candidates to the final interview faster. Otherwise, your team will find itself giving full interviews to unqualified candidates, severely hindering your time-to-offer.


Contrast this with a phone interview consisting of detailed interview questions designed to analyze the candidate's experience and potential. Unlike phone screening, this process typically takes 30-60 per interview.

So, let’s dig deeper into what a recruiter should ask during a phone screening interview. Meaning we’re going to discuss how to conduct the interview itself.

Phone Screening Interview Questions

Phone screening interview questions focus on whether an applicant’s experience, skills, education and certifications are right for the position in question. The end goal is to ensure that the candidate will adequately fill the position while also meshing well with your organizations.

At this stage, you won’t be looking for open-ended technical questions but rather narrowing your candidate list to the top candidates for formal interviews. Rather, approach the conversation with a blank slate and a preselected set of questions to ask your candidates.

As a phone interview script example, we’re going to take a look at what questions you will want to answer during this first round of interviews.

First, begin with the basics. These will be simple questions to set the candidate at ease. These questions can include:

  • Can you tell me about your background?
  • Where are you in your job search?
  • When could you start?

From there, begin the meaningful questions such as salary expectations, knowledge of the company, and resume details. Though this can be an awkward subject, you will quickly determine if a candidate is a good match for the position.

  • How much would you like to earn in this position?  
  • What are the specific benefits that you are looking for?
  • What attracted you to this position?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • How are your skills a match for this position?
  • Did your experience at your previous position give you skills that you can apply to this position?

One-Way Interview

Though phone screening interviews are essential to an effective hiring process, it can be time consuming. Scheduling interviews alone can take a recruiter 30 minutes to 2 hours per candidate. As such, this stage of the interview process can create a serious time sink for high-volume recruiting.

Thankfully, technology has created a solution to eliminate scheduling and automated the phone screening process. One-way interviews are an asynchronous solution to interviewing. Also known as on-demand interviews, this method allows recruiters to pre-record a set of screening questions and send it to your candidates en masse.

Candidates can then reply to these self-guided interviews at a time of there convenience in the following 24 hours. Qualifi’s own research has found that allowing candidates the flexibility to interview outside of standard interview hours brought in 75.5% more responses.

Again, this is particularly useful free recruiter time from scheduling and conducting scheduling interviews, and rather focus on the important work of screening.

Which is better, phone interviews or video interviews? See how they compare.

Benefits of Phone Screening Over Video

On-demand interviews primarily come in two forms: phone screening and video screening.

Though these on-demand methods of interview share key characteristics such as asynchronous interviewing and flexibility, there are numerous benefits of phone screening over video.

The first of these we will discuss is the one-way phone screening’s capacity to mitigate bias. Phone interviews mitigate visual bias almost entirely. Unless the recruiter has another means to see a client, it is severely less likely for unconscious biases against race, age, or other visually apparent characteristics to affect their judgment.

This is important to the modern workplace. A Boston Consulting Group survey found that companies with above-average diversity enjoyed a greater proportion of revenue from innovation, 45%.

Another key advantage the phone interview has over the video interview is its accessibility. A video interview requires a candidate to have a webcam, microphone, and appropriate environment to perform their interview. Unfortunately, these are simply not readily available to everyone. Contrast this with the phone interview. A staggering 97% of Americans today own a cellphone of some kind according to the Pew Research Center.

That means at least 97% of Americans are able to access and perform an on-demand phone interview.

What’s more, the key benefit of on-demand interviews is how they speed up the interview process. However, video interviews require recruiters to still dedicate their time to reviewing the visual aspect of the interview. As such, these reviews are much slower than that of phone interviews.

Additional Resources