By Jennifer Brown, Founder and CEO of PeopleTactics

You have a position to fill and have gone through the stack of resumes and now have some people you want to interview. But wait, before you invite someone in for a face-to-face interview which usually takes about an hour of your time, do a phone screen first. Phone screenings are typically 20 to 30 minutes long and will help you quickly eliminate people who aren’t appropriate for the position.

Like most things in HR, you want a consistent approach. When it comes to phone screenings, this means following the same set of questions for every person you speak with about the position.

Similar to reference checks, phone screening will help you determine if the person not only has the skills and experience for the position, but if he/she will be a strong fit with your company’s culture and values. Questions to ask include:

  • What are your career goals?
  • What are you really good at professionally?
  • What are you not good at or not interested in doing professionally?
  • Who were your last five bosses, and how will they each rate your performance on a 1-10 scale when we speak with them?
  • How did you find out about our position?
  • What attracted you to our company and position?
  • Tell me about your experience with “X”.
  • Note: If someone must have a particular skill-set (e.g., strong proficiency with Excel), ask them a question related to this requirement.
  • What salary range are you looking for?

Note: The first four questions are based on the “Screening Interview Guide” in “Who: The A Method for Hiring” by Geoff Smart and Randy Street, a must read for anyone who is going to be hiring employees.

Remember, your business is whom you hire! Effective phone screenings should yield a small slate of 2 to 5 well-qualified candidates to invite in for a longer, more in-depth face-to-face interview. Email us  or give us a call at 571-587-5615 if you would like help with finding the right candidate for your business.

PeopleTactics works with small business owners to prevent and solve Human Resources problems that can drain them of their time, money and energy.

To learn more, please visit the PeopleTactics website.