You’ve found a great candidate for the new role you’re hiring for, and both of you are interested in connecting – great!

When setting up your phone interview or initial screening (Zoom works too), we’ve found that the best advice is to try to prepare and organize in advance as much as possible. Some of our tips for having a successful first phone screening include:

1. Sending details about the interview in advance. Include your name, job title, and how your role would interact with this hire (direct supervisor? peer?). Any context is helpful to share here. This will help your interviewee feel much more comfortable, AND will give them the option to do some research on you and your background so they can think of questions to ask you. A little LinkedIn sleuthing never hurt anyone!

2. Considering adopting a calendar scheduling tool like Calendly. Eliminate the back-and-forth of trying to find a time that works for everyone, especially for candidates that may need to interview around their current 9-5 gig. Send a link to your calendar and let the candidate find a time that works for their schedule.

3. Preparing your interview questions in a scorecard format. Write down your questions in advance or use a scorecard template. It’s important to have a list of questions to ask in advance and a way to take notes so you can easily compare candidate responses. Think of it this way – if you ask candidates completely different questions, it may be like trying to compare apples to oranges when deciding who to move to the next stage. Being consistent with your questions is a fairer process for the candidates, and it’s easier for you too.

4. Taking post interview notes as soon as the interview is over. Write down a few quick notes on your initial impressions of a candidate. Was there anything that stood out that you didn’t capture in their answers to your questions?

This is also a good time to write down any impressions of their soft skills or communication during your call. While it may seem like an extra step, taking a few minutes to quickly debrief can save a lot of future headaches.

Some of our top interview questions to ask candidates during the phone screen stage include:

1.     Why are you looking for a new position currently?

2.     What are you looking for in your next position?

3.     Is there a specific type of company or industry that you're targeting?

4.     What size of teams have you worked on?

5.     What is your ideal company size?

6.     What technologies and coding languages do you know?

7.     Are you interviewing with any other companies?

8.     What are your salary expectations?

9.     What’s your ideal timeline and start date for beginning a new job?

Hiring managers - what are some of your favorite phone screen questions to ask?