Phone Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

Before you schedule candidates for an in-person interview, you may opt to start with a phone screening. These short interviews can save you time by making sure only the most qualified applicants move on to the next round of the hiring process.
 

Additionally, phone interviews give applicants a chance to ask questions about information not listed in the job posting and learn more about the role to determine if it’s right for them before scheduling time to visit your workplace for a traditional interview.
 

Here are a few phone interview questions to ask candidates that will help determine suitable candidates for round two:
 

1. Do you have the proper certification, license, or degree for this position?
While you’ve probably listed educational or certification requirements in the job description, it’s a good idea to verify applicants can prove they have the necessary credentials to perform the job.
 

For example, if you’re hiring a delivery truck driver, you’d want to make sure they have the proper type of driver’s license. If you’re hiring a dental hygienist, you’d want to make sure candidates have a degree in dental hygiene and are licensed within your state.
 

2. Are you willing and able to travel?
If the role requires any travel, it’s important to set the expectation immediately. Some people are comfortable travelling as much as necessary while others may prefer a job in which they never have to leave town. Let candidates know the percentage of travel the role demands, as well as the sort of travel they can expect. For example, explain whether the job requires leaving the state, international flights or long-term trips.
 

3. What are you looking for in your next role?
This is one of the most common phone interview questions because it helps hiring managers to determine whether the position aligns with the candidate’s ideal job. By asking early in the process, you can identify which applicants will enjoy the role and which may not be well suited.
 

4. What type of work environment is best for you?
Some professionals prefer to work in an autonomous setting while others prefer strict process and oversight. Some candidates may want a position that offers remote work and flexible hours while others prefer a 9-to-5 style in-office job. Some applicants may be seeking a role that requires a lot of teamwork while others perform better independently. Whatever the case, this question helps you identify whether or not your company’s environment offers the candidate what they need to excel.
 

5. What are your salary expectations?
This question helps determine two things:
 

1. If the candidate’s compensation requirements align with the salary you’ve budgeted for the role.
2. Whether or not the candidate is at the appropriate professional level for the job. For example, if the applicant is asking for an annual salary of $150,000, but you’ve only budgeted $80,000, then they may be too senior for the position.
 

6.Why are you leaving your current employer?
This is one of the best phone screening questions because it helps accomplish two goals. First, it enables you to determine whether the reason the applicant is leaving their current role is something they may also encounter in the position for which you’re hiring. For example, if the applicant says they’re leaving their current role because they’re not able to move up, but the position you’re hiring for doesn’t have much opportunity for upward mobility, it may not be the right job for them.
 

Second, it helps you get a feel for their personality and ability to keep their emotions in check. For example, if the candidate is respectful of their current employer and avoids personal attacks, it shows maturity and professionalism.
 

7. If offered a position, how soon would you be able to start?
It is important to understand the position a candidate is in regarding when they can start working for your company. At times, candidates may be in a contract position which requires a period for notice of termination while other times candidates may need to relocate or make other arrangements necessary to assume the job position at your company. Based on the answer, you will then have to decide whether you can be flexible on a start date or if the position needs to be immediately filled.
 

A phone screening is a critical part of the hiring process because it helps you identify which applicants stand out as the best fit for the company and the position. By using these phone interview questions, you can gather the information you need to decide which applicants you should move on to the next round, and begin scheduling face-to-face interviews.
 

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