Top tips when screening candidates over the phone

Whether you are an employer recruiting for a position or a candidate seeking a new role, it is important to understand that recruitment goes both ways. Candidates are searching for their dream career and employers are seeking their next shining star therefore before you pick up the phone to call a potential candidate, have a read of our top tips and questions you may want to ask.

It should only be a 15 minute telephone call at max, so ensure you’re listening twice as much as you are speaking!

Your first top tip

Treat the phone screening as a type of pre-interview that allows you to identify the basic needs of your candidate.

  • What are they ideally looking for in their next position?
  • What type of company are they looking to join?
  • What are their salary expectations?
  • What is their notice period?

Your second top tip from LHR

What was it about the role that attracted their attention? You want to hear enthusiasm! Does your candidate sound like they want the job?

Next you want to ask about their experience

You should be assessing if they meet the desired experience suitable for your vacancy. Tailor your questions to the job role. For example, if you are recruiting for a sales position you are looking for examples of their sales experience. What were their targets? How did they overcome disinterested prospects and how did they find new opportunities?

You should also ask the following:

  • Why did they leave/looking to leave their current position?
  • What did they like/dislike about their role?
  • What is their biggest achievement?


Do they have any questions?


This is important to see how interested and how enthusiastic a potential candidate is. It is imperative to answer honestly any questions your candidate may have, whether about the job or the company. Thank the candidate for their time and inform them of the timeframe to which you plan to organise interviews.


Screening candidates over the phone allows you to gain the information you need to then organise face to face interviews. The advantage is you will have saved time by filtering out unsuitable applicants. As you come to interview face to face, you have already established answers to basic questions which allows you to have a more in depth conversation regarding their CV and more importantly them as a person!

Need help with interviewing face to face? LH Recruitment offers onsite interview support, call us on 01254 271024 to find out more!