BLUF:  I need some questions/advice on conducting telephone interviews to narrow the field.


Hey all.  I'm a manager of a team of 3 (soon to be 4) technical folks.  Our agency is a regional governmental regulatory office.  We have an opening with the application period closing last week.  I know there will be a great deal of interest and I'm looking to conduct telephone interviews (20-30 minutes each) with most of the candidates to narrow the field.  Most candidates will look very similar on paper; in the field for 10-20 years, taken all the extra classes and certifications, been supervisors or instructors in their current positions, etc.  


I'm totally on board with the behavioral interview process and my plan is to do at least 3 interviews prior to making someone an offer.  1.  Telephone interview, 2.  Face to face interview with me, 3.  Face to face interview with me and my boss.


So what advice does anyone have about this?  Any particular questions you've had success with during a phone interview?


Thanks in advance for any help.


Jrlz's picture

Hi Chuck,

Not sure if this helps, but I usually use the phone interview to pre-screen.  I look for 3 things on my phone screens - energy, preperation and interest.

I like to see what the energy level is on the phone and how thier communication is.  The phone is a great tool in that it really limits a persons ability to communicate.  It's all about the words and how they say them.  No body language or anything else.   Any role, even those that are strictly internally facing, requires communication skills.  This will give you a good read on how thier skills are.  

Second, Itso gives me a chance to see how their preperation skills are.    Someone that prepares well for a phone interview is an exception.  Far too many people look at it as just a "screening" and not a "real interview".  If they are prepared, even if a little nervous and not as well polished with delivery, I will still bring them in.  I like to ask them what types of questions they have.  Well thought out questions will stand out.  I

Lastly, why are they interested in this opening?  I might ask where they learned of the opening or even better - what are they looking for?  I want to determine if this person is just looking for any job.   If I get the impression that they are on a job search and have given no real thought to this opening and why they want it, then the dont get a 2nd interview.   I realize they may be on a job search, but I dont want someone who just throws a bunch of resumes out there with no real thought or direction.  

Hope this helps

Cblewis's picture

 That is very helpful!  Exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for.

I'm using the phone interview for the same purpose, as a screening tool.  Been working on some questions but I like the idea of using the phone as a way to measure energy, preperation and interest.



jay_nexus's picture

Hi ,

Really good suggestion in previous replies, Only one thing I would add to that.

I generally ask some technical questions to see if they are prepared and interested for this role or not

And I also ask some behaviour related question, It will give you a good idea about how they are as a person as well

It always help me to narrow my search

Good Luck




dhdvikas's picture

thanks for this nice tips. its really helpful information