The role of phone screening in modern recruitment

By Daniil Filipenco

The role of phone screening in modern recruitment

Employers and recruitment companies carry out preliminary phone interviews to shortlist the most suitable candidates before conducting in-person or teleconference interviews.

Phone screening interviews are most often the first step of the entire interview process, allowing recruiters to identify those applicants who are most likely to make it to the final cut.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, phone screening interviews gained huge popularity in the hiring process and even today they remain one of the key tools of the recruiting process. But let’s dive deeper into this and learn more about it.

What does a phone screening interview involve?

Normally, after examining candidates’ resumes, recruitment specialists will compile a shortlist. The next stage involves phone screening interviews which usually narrows down the field of applicants even further.

During phone screening, a candidate is typically asked mostly simple and straightforward questions with the main goal of helping recruiters to learn more about the person.

Usually, each position will involve one phone screening interview and if the candidate passes this stage, they should prepare themselves for a number of other interviews that will ultimately give the company a broader picture of the person.

What questions should a candidate expect?

Before beginning the phone screening interview, you should consider your answers to the following questions:

  1. Can you state your salary range? Do you have any salary expectations?
  2. What are/were the responsibilities at your current/previous job?
  3. How would your manager characterize you? And your friends?
  4. What can you say about yourself?
  5. What are you interested/passionate about?
  6. What is your strongest and weakest point(s)?
  7. Why do you think you are a fit for this position?
  8. Why did you decide to find a new job?
  9. Why are you applying for this exact position? Was there anything in the job description you found exciting?
  10. What is one thing I didn’t ask you but should have?

Why use phone screening in the 21st century?

With the evolution of technology in recruitment, which automates and speeds up the screening process, many organizations have decided to move away from phone screening, particularly as it takes up a lot of the recruiter’s time. However, this approach is still an important aspect of the hiring process.

One of the biggest advantages of a phone screen interview for the candidate is that he/she can significantly improve their knowledge when being interviewed.

In addition, during such interviews, candidates have the opportunity to obtain information about the next stage of the hiring process which helps them to set realistic expectations. Furthermore, candidates may not consider other positions that become available at an organization that fails to notify them regarding their application status. With this in mind, by enabling good engagement with job applicants, companies can use phone screening as a way to improve their employer image.

Phone screening vs phone interviews

As a substitute for in-person or teleconference interviews, a phone interview typically requires a greater amount of time than a phone screening interview. In view of this, in comparison to a phone screen interview, the questions asked in a phone interview are less inclined to be straightforward.

During phone interviews, the company representative or recruiter is more likely to ask questions that will ascertain the applicant’s suitability for the position rather than try to learn more about them. For instance, they might ask how the person resolves disagreements with other team members – the answer to this will determine whether the applicant can work effectively within a team.

What to be aware of before a phone screening interview

Here are some tips from recruiters that you can use to increase your chances of moving to the next stage of recruitment after the phone screening:

  • Prepare a list of questions to ask at the end of the interview – this shows your interest in the position and you can also gain additional information about the corporate culture.
  • Rehearse your answers – being ready to confidently answer common questions (like those provided above) will help you to feel less anxious.
  • Make sure you review your CV in detail – this will allow you to speak without hesitation about your skills and qualifications.
  • Consider using the STAR method – this will help you to answer behavioral questions. STAR stands for situation, task, action, result and is an interview approach that can help to tell your story in a way that shows your competency and readiness to respond to various situations that can arise in a job.
    1. Situation: Give an example of a situation you had to face
    2. Task: What tasks were you given?
    3. Action: What action did you take?
    4. Result: Describe the outcomes of your actions and the experience you gained from these.

Why do companies choose DevelopmentAid Recruitment Solutions for recruiting?

When a company requires assistance with hiring talent in the international development sector, DevelopmentAid Recruitment Solutions (DRS), with over 15 years of experience and numerous candidates successfully placed, is here to help. Contact DRS and we will help you to recruit people who can positively impact your company. DRS offers a wide range of tailored services that are flexible enough to meet any needs or budgets (including phone screening).

Final word

Conducting a phone screening interview remains a very useful recruitment technique for hiring managers. At the same time, it is important for recruiters not to fall victim to unintentional prejudices and to make an effort to evaluate applicants in light of the needs of the business rather than factors such as educational level, age, or background.

This stage of the recruiting process allows recruiters to begin compiling a candidate shortlist. Furthermore, candidates appreciate phone screening since it offers a more personalized touch which can ultimately influence their decision whether or not to progress further in the hiring process. Finally, successful phone screening improves the company’s image and can lead to candidates spreading the word about the benefits of that company.