What Is Phone Screening and How to Do It?

Purpose of phone screening

The purpose of the phone screening of candidates is, above all, to check the data contained in the application documents, which will help us select the right people for the next recruitment meeting. It is worth using the conversation to ask questions about those aspects that aroused our doubts or sparked curiosity during the verification of the application.

How to prepare for phone screening?

We may encounter various obstacles during telephone interviews with candidates. Due to their form, it may happen that the candidate does not feel fully comfortable. In addition, it will be more difficult for us to establish a relationship with him, and through indirect contact, we may not be able to observe the reactions and behavior of the interlocutor. Therefore, it is worth taking care of proper preparation for the screening of candidates in order to minimize the risk of making mistakes.

How to plan telephone screening?

Specify the most important requirements for a given position.

Let the candidate know about the interview in advance and check that they have time and space for it

When it’s time for an interview, it’s worth contacting the candidate before picking up the phone. Nobody likes to be surprised. By making an appointment in advance, we will provide the candidate with greater comfort, which will most likely have a positive effect on the amount of information we obtain during the actual interview.

Verify the CV before the interview

Before conducting the initial screening with the candidate, we should carefully read their application documents. A phone call will be an ideal opportunity to dispel any doubts that appeared in our heads during their verification. Before the screening, it is worth writing down all the issues that arouse our curiosity or uncertainty and highlight the most important elements of the CV that we would like to ask about. This may be, for example, a request for an explanation of frequent job changes or verification of the reasons for a large gap in work experience.

Check the candidate’s motivation

During the first contact with the candidate, it is worth verifying their attitude and asking about the reasons that led them to apply for a given position. We can check what motivates the candidate to work, what they care about most in the performance of their daily duties and what they know about the industry in which our company operates. Thanks to this, we will be able to get to know the potential employee better and recognize how much they will fit into the company’s reality and whether we are able to offer them all the benefits they count on when changing employers.

Provide all the most important information to the candidate

Remember that each recruitment interview is a dialogue. During the interview, it is not only the recruiter who obtains information about the candidate. The other side also has a lot of doubts. Therefore, when building relationships with candidates, it is so important to leave space for their questions. When planning a phone screening, do not forget to check whether everything is clear to the candidate and whether there is anything else that we can explain. Let’s tell about the company and the position for which the recruitment is being carried out. Let’s introduce the candidates to the manager and potential teammates. If the recruitment concerns a specific project, let’s tell them about it. At the end of the interview, let’s ask the candidate if we can clarify any other issues that we didn’t think of when planning the interview. The easier it is for the candidate to imagine everyday life in a new job, the better decision they will make when they receive the final offer from us.

Questions worth asking during the initial recruitment interview

Phone screening may take the form of a spontaneous interview. However, it is worth preparing a few basic questions that will give structure to the conversation and help us get all the most important information.

  • Basic information questions, so general questions that test the correspondence of the answers with the information contained in the candidate’s CV, e.g. “What were the main responsibilities at your position at your last company?”.
  • Questions to dispel the recruiter’s doubts that we ask if some information is missing or unclear in the CV, e.g. “What influenced your decision to change the industry?”.
  • Questions verifying the candidate’s motivation, which allow to determine the candidate’s suitability to the organizational culture and check what motivates them to take up a new role, e.g. “What made you most interested in our job offer?”.
  • Questions about financial expectations that are worth asking especially in a situation where the job advertisement did not include information about the earnings offered for a given position.
  • Questions about the availability and flexibility of the candidate,which allow determining when the candidate can start working in the company, in what form (stationary, remote, hybrid) and in what number of hours.

Checklist of a well-conducted phone screening

The first contact with a recruiter is a great opportunity to present yourself from the best side, both for the candidate and for the company. We still make mistakes that may significantly affect the candidate experience and, at the same time, the image of the entire company.

  • Let’s not surprise the candidate with a phone call. It is worth making an appointment that is suitable for both parties, even if the interview is to last only 15 minutes. It’s best to do it by e-mail/message on LinkedIn, so as to remind the candidate what the offer is about and let them prepare for the phone call.
  • Before the interview, let’s prepare verification questions, which should be discussed in a maximum of 20 minutes. Telephone screening should not last too long or take the form of a so-called “Questioning”. Let’s only ask about the necessary issues that check the basic assumptions and requirements of our job offer.
  • Before the interview, let’s prepare the candidate’s application documents so that they can be viewed during the interview. It is worth preparing notes in advance so as not to forget to clarify all the content in the CV that raises our doubts.
  • Let’s treat the interview as a dialogue during which both the recruiter wants to meet the candidate and the candidate wants to meet the company to which they are applying. At the beginning of the interview, let’s remind what kind of advertisement we are talking about and provide more details about the offer that were not included in the job advertisement.
  • After answering the candidate’s questions, do not forget to present the next steps of the recruitment process. The candidate should know exactly when to expect contact from us and in what form they will receive feedback.
  • Always provide the candidate with feedback.



Marketing Specialist at Next Technology Professionals - IT Recruitment | IT Outsourcing

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Aga Babicz

Aga Babicz


Marketing Specialist at Next Technology Professionals - IT Recruitment | IT Outsourcing