What is a Phone Screen Interview?

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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.
Get started instantly, and be up and running in a single day.

Engage via email, texting, and more

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.
Generate QR Codes that point straight to your interviews.

Identify keywords and hiring insights instantly

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.

What is a Phone Screen Interview?

The past few years have really shifted many aspects of people’s daily lives — in both personal and professional settings. Four years ago, going out and grabbing coffee with a friend or showing up for an in-person job interview in your best “professional” outfit was an easy task. But today, people order coffee from apps, and businesses conduct their screening interview questions, meetings, and later interviews from behind a monitor or over the phone. A lot of this change came about to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, people all over the world, in different industries, have adopted these “pandemic” practices into their new daily routines.

Many businesses don’t conduct interviews in-person anymore and instead opt for an asynchronous phone interview — especially for screening and first-round interviews. This approach, using an asynchronous phone interview, helps businesses send and receive clear answers to their interview questions. Asynchronous phone interviews also allow employers to consider initial screening interview questions and answers much more quickly and efficiently than if they were to go through an entire scheduling process.

So what exactly is a phone screening interview? A phone screening interview is a phone call where the recruiter can determine if a candidate is qualified to move on to an interview with the hiring manager. Recruiters will often use a phone screen questions template to help guide their questions. In an on-demand phone screening interview, you will send your candidates an invitation to the phone interview — which can be asynchronous because you are using the same recorded script for every candidate — and then the answers will be recorded when your candidates answer. You can review the answers whenever works best for you and your hiring team. You can record whatever screening questions you’d like your candidates to answer, and then, by using a platform like Qualifi, you can send those questions to all of your candidates as soon as they apply. Some screening questions examples might be asking the candidate to describe their previous relevant experience or what they could bring to the table in your business.

Phone screenings can help you find the right candidates quickly. The best method to conduct all of your phone screenings at once is through an asnychonrous interview tool. Here are four benefits to asynchronous phone interviews:

  1. Asynchronous interviews are a better use of candidate’s and recruiter’s time.
  2. These interviews can drastically improve passive recruitment.
  3. It’s easier to align with hiring managers through asynchonous interviews, especially in remote/hybrid companies.
  4. They create a self-guided process that is still structured.

Opting for asynchronous pre-screening interview questions and answers makes the entire screening process much more efficient because businesses can avoid spending individual time on each interview and can instead easily listen to the answers in batches. Essentially, all you need to do is create a recruiter phone screen script that asks all of the screening questions you want your candidates to answer, and then that same script can be sent to every single candidate by using a platform like Qualifi. Having a standardized screening or pre-screening interview questions template can help you to make sure that all of your candidates are being asked the same questions and help to mitigate any unconscious biases that could affect your hiring decisions.

What Is A Phone Screening?

Before you can understand whether or not phone screening would be the right choice for your business, you need to know what it is. So, what is a phone screening interview? Well, like a normal screening interview, it helps you to determine which candidates show promise and helps you determine which candidates may not be the best fit for your business. Essentially, a screening interview helps your hiring and recruitment teams to determine who should be offered an opportunity to get a second interview. Because of this, screening interviews usually consist of a list of generic HR screening questions that just serve to sort out which candidates may be the best suited for the position they are applying for. Usually, then, there are a set of specific answers or points that you can mark as desired. These points are then the key to how to pass a phone screen interview for that position.

What really sets a phone screening interview apart from other types of screening is that the process is easy for both the interviewer and the interviewee. Using a platform like Qualifi, your hiring and recruitment teams can easily record a list of the questions you want in your screening and easily make sure that every candidate gets those same questions as soon as they apply for the position. This works because phone interviews can be conducted asynchronously — so long as you have recorded your phone screening interview questions — so your candidates can take the interview whenever it works best for them, without having to schedule it with an interviewer.

Phone Screen Interview Questions

In a screening interview, whether offered asynchronously over the phone or not, the questions are usually restricted to common phone interview questions. Essentially, pre-screening interview questions are hoping to determine whether or not a candidate is qualified for the position and if they would be a good fit for the business. For this reason, phone interview questions and answers tend to be more general and provide only a snapshot of the candidate. Because these questions tend to be more generic, phone interview questions and answers examples can be something like “what relevant prior experience do you have for this position?” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” These questions are just a way for the hiring team to get a better understanding of the candidate and whether or not they are qualified for the position.

Creating the right questions can only work if your candidates actually answer them. So is there a secret to candidate engagement?

We know there is  a better response rate with asynchronous phone interviews, but wondered if candidates preferred to complete interviews at a specific time. We found the answer! There are 128 hours in a given week fall outside of typical business hours. Would it surprise you to hear that 43% of job candidates prefer to interview during those 128 hours? Download our white paper to read more.

As more businesses are embracing phone screening interview options, there are a variety of telephone interview questions and answers PDF examples or more specific telephonic interview questions and answers available online to browse through if you are unsure what questions to include in your phone screening interview. It can also be a good idea to include a few questions to ask at the end of a phone interview that are more open-ended — such as “tell me why you are a good fit for this position” or even something like “tell me about yourself and what you like to do.” Phone screening interviews are also extremely beneficial in not only helping you to cut down on the wasted time scheduling individual screening interviews but also helping you mitigate bias and keep your interviews consistent.

Typically, phone screenings utilize a set of initial screen questions to sort out candidates on basic qualifications. For this question set, a separate set of specific answers and points are created based on the desired results of the first screening interview.

So, what questions should you ask during a phone interview? It depends on the role you are trying to fill. However, there are generic HR screening questions you can use that can serve multiple purposes regardless of what industry.

Creating the right set of questions is key to finding the best candidates during preliminary phone screenings. These phone screening questions can include things as simple as:

  • Can you tell me about your background?
  • Why are you looking for a new job?
  • When could you start?

These are admittedly the most basic of phone screening interview questions. However, they set the candidate at ease by starting the interview with simple questions. They also provide recruiters with the most basic of make-or-break information.

From there, your phone screen interview questions can advance in complexity. These more in-depth questions can explore:

  • Salary expectations
  • Resume details
  • Career aspirations
  • Candidate enthusiasm

All of these, for many recruiters, are necessary details before even properly considering a candidate for a position. For example, catching unreasonable salary expectations early with a phone screening prevents bogging hiring managers down with talent outside of the hiring budget.

Phone Interview Script

Though phone interviews offer an excellent way to approach remote hiring, they can be daunting for the recruiter if they do not come prepared. As such, it’s prudent to adopt a phone interview script to keep the interview focused on what you need to know about the candidate.

Of course, include the most important interview questions we just discussed, but here are some additional phone screening interview tips to get you started.

Including a company overview in your interview script allows you to provide important information to a potential hire about your company’s identity and what you’re looking for in a candidate. Even if the candidate does not solicit this information directly, it provides you with a kickoff point for the interview. Additionally, it also begins building your employer brand identity early.

From there you can begin to frame the interview. This can vary from position to position or based on the candidate. Regardless, this is the part of the interview where you will determine what questions you need to answer. For example, if you’re interested in behavioral, scenario, or competency questions, a script is almost a must. This standardizes the interview to create an equal experience for all of your candidates.

Hopefully, these phone screen interview tips will help you prepare for your next round of screening.

How To Conduct A Phone Screen Interview

The first step in implementing a phone screen interview is creating a list of pre-screening interview questions you want to include. For a screening interview, these will often include generic HR screening questions as well as maybe a few that are more position-specific. To understand how to conduct a phone interview script, you need to know the answer to the question: what is a phone screen interview. A phone screening interview utilizes a phone interview template word-for-word so that all of your screening interviews are consistent.

Creating a phone interview template on your own can seem daunting at first. However, in reality, it is not that difficult. The hardest part is coming up with the script for your recruitment team. This script will include all questions you want your candidates to answer and therefore you need to establish what questions are most important. Once you have come up with the script, all you need to do is record your interview questions and send them out to your candidates!

ROI Solutions had hundreds of no-shows for their video interviews. When they switched to self-guided phone interviews, no-shows dropped from 50% to 7%.

Phone Interview Vs. Video Interview

As society continues to embrace the digital age, businesses are finding themselves left with two options for interviews — phone or video. Many people are familiar with video interviews or video meeting appointments, and a lot of times businesses think that this is the best choice because it allows them to see the candidates rather than just hear them — essentially it is closer to a traditional in-person interview. Unfortunately, this reason is exactly why a phone screen interview can be better than a video interview in the long run. Not being able to see the candidate on video can help to reduce the effects of unconscious biases on hiring decisions.

Phone Interviews

☑️ Mitigate Bias

☑️ Accessibility

☑️ Human Connection

☑️ Consistency

☑️ Fast Reviews

☑️ High-Volume Hiring

Video Interviews

❌ Mitigate Bias

❌ Accessibility

☑️ Human Connection

☑️ Consistency

❌ Fast Reviews

❌ High-Volume Hiring

A phone screen interview is basically the same as any other screen interview, but it is done over the phone and can be easily done asynchronously with recorded interview questions and recorded answers. Using a platform like Qualifi, you can get your screening interviews out to candidates as soon as they apply and not worry about when they take them. Because these interviews can be less familiar to most businesses, a lot of people may wonder how long should a phone interview last or is a phone screen interview a video? As it is a screening interview, it does not need to last very long to be effective and a phone screen interview is solely over the phone — no video is required. This also is better because it does not require a consistent and high-speed internet connection to take the interview.

Read more about the difference between video interviews and phone interviews:

Phone Interview Tips

Any recruiter can tell you their process in a phone screening interview. This screening method filters qualified candidates from the unqualified before they reach the hiring manager. The rank-and-file recruiters of the team often run these phone screening interviews to allow the hiring manager to focus on the best applicants.

A phone screening means that an applicant’s resume showed promise during the initial phases of recruiting. However, many organizations use a two-interview screening proces. This is because phone screenings help find the right candidates quickly. Similar to normal screenings, phone screenings help determine which candidates show promise. It helps hiring and recruitment teams determine who should be offered the opportunity for a second interview.

However, there is an inherent problem with using traditional methods to conduct these interviews. The modern recruiter is frequently faced with the challenge of high-volume hiring, especially as job board listings can quickly receive hundreds of applicants. As a result, recruiting teams can easily become overwhelmed.

Preliminary phone screenings should be quick and easy for both the interviewer and the interviewee. Otherwise, both parties can be put off by the process resulting in burnout for the recruiter, and causing the candidate to seek employment elsewhere.

On-demand Interviews

If you want to avoid recruiter burnout and save time on phone screening, you’ll be interested in adopting on-demand interviews for your recruiting process.

These self-guided interviews allow your recruiters to record one end of the interview and send it to potentially hundreds of candidates at once. Candidates are then given the flexibility to record their responses at a time of their leisure, and without the pressure of scheduling an interview — a process that takes recruiters an average of half an hour to 2 hours per candidate.

This means your team can perform screening interviews 24/7, including the 128 hours outside of standard interview times, creating a better candidate experience and recruiter flexibility. To no surprise, Qualifi found that almost half of the candidates preferred this method of interviewing.

Asynchronous interviews allow you to shortlist candidates faster, up to 10x or more, depending on the position, cutting a 30-minute screening process down to 3-5 minutes. Adopting a one-way interview platform like Qualifi provides interview tools to hire 7x faster.

Adopt on-demand interviews today for your phone screening needs to eliminate interview scheduling from your recruiters’ workload. Allow your team to focus on the most important parts of the hiring process.

Best Phone Screening Software

When you’re looking to implement the best phone screening software into your hiring process, it’s important to find the tool that’s right for you. This is important to remember as many software solutions will promise you that they’re the best for any business. In reality, HR software is dependent on the purposes and needs of the adopting organization.

There are many recruitment tools available to the modern recruiting team. This is good for market diversity, but creates a challenge for finding the right one for you amongst the plethora of options available.

Look at the most common virtual interview platforms to determine the right tool for your business. Take note of the various platform features and ability to integrate with your existing suite. If you need one to streamline your hiring process, for example, and see what they have to offer in terms of on-demand phone interviews. Qualifi’s platform allows you to increase screening efficiency by 80% while providing additional tools to improve your hiring process such as improved team collaboration and candidate experience.

Qualifi ensures flexibility for both your recruiters and candidates without sacrificing efficiency. Plus, you can eliminate screening interview scheduling from your hiring process. This is what makes Qualifi great for small and large hiring teams alike, enabling you to expand your candidate pipeline by 5x and your team’s hiring efficiency by 7x.

Want to see if Qualifi works for your recruitment team? Introduce on-demand interviews into your hiring cycle and watch as you are able to interview more candidates in less time. Try for Free

Additional Resources