How to Conduct Telephone Screening Interviews

How to Conduct Telephone Screening Interviews

Finding and hiring the perfect candidate for your open position can be a complicated and time-consuming process. Even with the help of your specialist recruitment agency, you'll still need to conduct interviews with your potential recruits to ensure that you're choosing someone who fits seamlessly with your existing company culture.  

A phone interview can be a streamlined, and efficient method to narrow your list of applicants down to only the most qualified. Because phone interviews are shorter and usually less formal, they can help you to simplify the hiring process. However, as with any other method you may use to onboard a new employee, it's important to make sure that you have the right strategy for success.  

The following tips will help you to evaluate each possible team member carefully and efficiently, so you're less likely to miss your chance with top-tier talent.  

Step 1: Keep Things Simple and Consistent 

As a hiring manager, a telephone interview may be your go-to method for choosing someone new to join your staff. Speaking to someone over the phone helps you to get a general idea of their character before you invite them for a face-to-face conversation.  

However, it's important to make sure that you keep things focused with your questions. Remember, you're using this technique as a way of screening potential employees, but you don't need to know your applicant's full life story. Candidates are often nervous, which can make for an uncomfortable conversation if your questions are too complex 

Start each interview by introducing yourself, then follow a script of pre-established questions. This will help to reduce variability in the hiring process and give you a firm overview of each person you speak with.  

Step 2:  Find out How Committed They Are 

The chances are that your organisation will want to hire only the applicants who are willing to go above and beyond for your brand. Finding out how much effort candidates put into researching your company before they sent over their CV can be a great insight into whether they're truly passionate about your organisation, or they're simply looking for something to fill the time until they refine their career plan. 

Ask a couple of questions that might uncover how much research your candidates have done into your brand. For instance:  

  • How do you resonate with our mission statement? 

  • What do you know about our current position? 

  • What can you tell me about our current partners? 


Step 3: Discuss Their Drives and Goals 

More organisations than ever before are beginning to discover that it's more important to hire based on attitude than it is to recruit on skills alone. While you'll be able to get a better insight into your applicant's character through a face-to-face interview, discussing what a person really loves about your open role over the phone will help you to decide whether your business ambitions and their career targets fit together.  

Additionally, since much of the top talent in the current marketplace will be looking for a career that delivers long-term progression, this discussion will also pave the way for conversations about role development in the future.  

Step 4: Address Accomplishments 

While personality is crucial for a good company culture, it's also worth making sure that you're choosing a new employee that will excel with their new responsibilities. The best way to figure out whether a candidate is equipped to handle your position is to ask them to provide examples of things that they've accomplished in similar roles. 

During the interview process, give the person you're speaking to a chance to highlight one or two of the most important accomplishments they've achieved in recent positions. Giving them free reign over the stories they tell you will also help you to figure out whether they really understand the job you're advertising or not.  

Step 5: Finish on a Positive Note 

Finally, finish off the phone call by letting every respondent know what's going to happen next in the application process. Even if you don't think you're going to be following up with them, tell your possible hire when they can expect to hear back from you.  

It's also worth using this time to ask recruits when they might be available for a follow-up interview if you want to jump into the next stage as quickly as possible. Additionally, you can also allow a couple of minutes for your recruit to ask about anything that they consider to be important that you haven't discussed yet.  

Remember, today's best employees don't have the time to wait for the phone to ring. If you don't end each conversation on the right note, you may risk losing the perfect staff member to a competitor!


About First2Recruit 

First2Recruit, are an owner managed recruitment consultancy providing a full recruitment service including; permanent and FTC positions in Accountancy Practice and Insolvency across the UK. 

Alternatively, visit or call one of their friendly team on 01722 440 168.