10 essential phone screening questions


Phone screening is a type of pre-interview that allows you to identify the basic needs of your candidate. Although you should have a set of questions that you ask all interviewees as not to discriminate, the process should be less formal than a face-to-face interview.

Looking for consistency between the candidate and their CV, it is here that you want to identify and resolve any issues or concerns – confirming dates or accounting for any stretches of time between jobs for example. You may save yourself the time and resources of an in-person interview if you realise that you cannot meet the needs of your candidate this soon into proceedings.

Here is a list of the most essential phone screening questions that will help to separate the wheat from the chaff!


What is your current work status/ notice period?

You will first want to work out when the candidate is available to start in a new position as this will help to find the roles that are applicable. The notice period and any overdue holiday entitlement should be taken into consideration.

Although some clients may be willing to wait for the perfect candidate, you don’t want your matching to have been a waste of time if you find that they are not available for an immediate start!


Why do you want to leave your current job/why did you leave your last employer?

In finding out the candidate’s reason for leaving their last/current employer, it will help to identify what they are looking for in their next role. It can also reveal any potential issues that they may have encountered or have neglected to mention, like Redundancy or dismissal. Asking for the appropriate references can help to follow this up.


Conformation of education/experience/core Skills

Here you want to identify essential qualifications as well as relevant experience. This is vital information that you need to obtain before matching the candidate with any potential employer. Core skills will apply to relevant industries and allow you to know how qualified they are for a role or how much training will be required if applicable.


What is your current location/means of transport?

This is an important question that will help to refine your candidate search to those that are within a suitable distance with expenses considered – perhaps balanced against the salary of the position. The journey should be calculated with consideration for externalities such as rush hour commutes and black spots.


Name an accomplishment you feel you achieved in your current/last job?

This question will give the candidate the opportunity to exemplify their capabilities and show how they value themselves within their role.


What is your favourite thing about previous/current employer?

Here you will be able to discern the candidate’s values and capabilities, and figure out which are most relevant to another client. You should be aware of the candidate’s preferences so that you can best match them, although you are not necessarily looking to keep them working in an identical position!


What did/does your average working day consist of?

This question will give you a fuller idea of your candidate’s capabilities and experience. Through direct comparison you should be able to discern whether the candidate fulfils the needs of a particular job specification.


What would you look for in your next employer?

This is you chance to identify your candidate’s needs more directly. It takes a more positive slant that balances the reason for having left their previous/current employer and gives them a chance to outline their expectations.


What is your current/expected salary?

As well as finding out how much your candidate expects as an annual salary you must also take into consideration the Package. Nobody is going to trade their 35 day holiday entitlement for 21 days, are they?!


If there were no constraints what would be your ideal job?

Working in conjunction with the previous question this will help to gauge the candidate’s levels of aspiration – giving you some idea of their drive and the direction that they see themselves going in.

No Comments

Leave a comment (*required fields)