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Submitted by jameshervey on


 Hello - 


Is there a Manager Tools podcast on conducting phone screens?  If no, does anyone have good guidance or recommendations on conducting them?

I am about to begin interviewing and hiring my first every direct reports and I know from listening to Manager Tools that this is probably the most important task I will engage in this year.  Thus, I am really looking to do it right.  i will be conducting phone screens next week and looking for guidance.



tlhausmann's picture
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Hi James and welcome again to the forums. is a site maintained by another MT fan (not me.) The site features pull down menus and other options for searching for the helpful guidance we receive from the MT/CT team.

Here are a few casts that I have found helpful when conducting phone screens. In most cases the guidance is directed at interviewees...but, in turn, offers tips to those conducting the phone screen.

Also, if you are a MT/CT individual licensee do not forget about the great behavioral interview creation tool at:

You may already have used the Interview Preparation Form at:



cynaus's picture
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Hi James

You might find these helpful as well:

I like to hone in on the candidates specific knowledge and experience as it relates to the actual job. The phone screen also gives a good indication of how well they communicate - I've had some dodgy candidates who couldn't make that connection at all and frankly didn’t make it to a face to face interview. I was also able to gauge how important the job was for them – some weren’t that keen. Easy for me. And saved time rather than the alternative; without a phone interview we would have asked them in for a face to face interview and wasted everyone’s time.

Get the position description out for this role and write down some pertinent questions.


All the best James! Take your time – it’s one of the most crucial activities you’ll ever undertake ;)


jameshervey's picture
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Thanks, guys!

The links are great.  I am working on prepping for the first round of phone screens next week, over the weekend. 

rsamuels's picture
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I have only 3 questions I ask during phone screens (which I schedule for a 15 minute timeframe).  The purpose is to see if the person really was thoughtful in applying for the job, or if they are just job shopping.  It separates the serious candidates from the casual and helps me decide if it's work it to have them come in for an in-person interview.  This is important because sometimes we have candidates drive from other cities, or even fly in.  These 3 questions usually get me a good enough idea of whether or not it makes sense to continue the conversation in person.  And, if it doesnt' make sense, it's much easier to end a phone call early than it is to end an in person interview, when you're in the room with the candidate. 

1. What are the steps that led you to want to make this change now, or why do you think this next step is the right step? And what do you hope to get out of this?

(and if they say, I've always been on the technical side and I want to move to the business side, or they say, I've always been on the business side and want to move to the technical side, the interview is over)

2. What do you think about this job from what you read in the posting?  What was it about the posting that made it interesting to you?
(here I look for very specific language that they can correlate their interests and strengths to the posting)
a. If they are an internal candidate I ask them what they already know about our department. Since there is a very good corporate intranet I expect them to have at least done some research, and ideally, they have already reached out to someone in their network in our department to see if it even makes sense to apply for the posting.
b. if they are an external candidate then I ask them what they know about the company they've applied to work at.  I say "the company" to see if they've done their research and can tell me the real name of our company (the holding company), rather than one of the various public brand names.  Sometimes I ask if they know the name of the company they applied to work at.  
And if they are a viable candidate, the questions become a conversation, and other things are discussed as well.