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Phone Interview

The Best Phone Screening Questions to Ask An Applicant

Your company has posted a position, and the resumes have started to come in for review. As you start to sift through the pool of potential new employees, you find you have some "maybes" in your interview pile. Maybe there is something on their resume that you want to know more about or you don't see a specific skill you were looking for. These are the perfect individuals to call for a phone screen.

Cheerful man in office answering the phone

Download our ebook Better Interviews Equal Better Employees for a full best practices look at hiring.

A phone screen is a slightly less formal interview that is mainly used to gather information on a potential new employee. Recruiters often use this technique to manage the thousands of resumes they receive each day! This is a way to work smarter not harder, that all companies should be using! Take a look at our best phone screening questions to ask an applicant and let us know how things go!

There are three types of questions you should be asking during your a phone screen.

1. Personality Questions

2. Goal/Ambition Questions

3. Technical Questions

Portrait of businesswoman holding mobile phone in the officePersonality Questions:

It is essential to ensure that your candidate is who they say they are. These personality based questions will give you an insight into the type of environment a potential new hire will work best in. If your office is loud and your interviewee works best in quiet spaces they might not be a good fit. Just a friendly reminder there are some questions you can not ask an applicant. 

Sample personality questions are:

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. What's the hardest you've ever worked on something and why? Tell me about the outcome.
  3. Have you ever worked with a demanding boss or colleague, how did you handle it?
  4. What kind of environment do you thrive in?
Double exposure of businessman hand working with new modern computer and business strategy as conceptGoal/Ambition Questions:

Every individual is different when it comes to their short, medium, and long-term goals. It is important to make sure that their goals line up to a degree with yours. These questions provide valuable insight as to the motives for your candidate's career move. Fun fact, career moves are not always salary related, sometimes it is location, work-life balance, or lack of growth potential.

Some sample goal/ambition questions are:

  1. Where do you see yourself in the next 3-5 years?
  2. Are you looking to gain any other skills, certifications, or education in the next year?
  3. Why are you looking to move away from your current job?
  4. Tell me about what type of role you are looking for?*

* This is a fantastic question to eliminate candidates quickly and ensure you get the right fit.

startup business, software developer working on desktop  computer at modern officeTechnical Questions:

Before you bother to bring someone into your office for an interview, you should do a check of their technical skills. While each job requires different computer skills, data management skills, and specialized knowledge you do not need to be an expert to ask these questions.

  1. Would you be open to taking an assessment?
  2. How confident do you feel with (any specific part of a technical system that they have on their resume)? Example- "I see you have excel on your resume, how comfortable do you feel with building pivot tables and extracting data from them?"
  3. How long have you been using (insert software type) and what are you currently using it for the most?
  4. Which of the software systems that we use do you feel the weakest on and why?

 For a more 360 view on how to hire the best employees quickly download our ebook Better Interviews Equal Better Employees.

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