The entire recruitment process can seem a bit daunting and time consuming by the time you advertise the position, screen the application forms and then go through the lengthy interview process.

A telephone interview can be a great middle step for you to determine which candidates have the skills necessary for the next step in the application. By weeding out the under-qualified applicants, you can narrow down the search and save time and money while doing so.

CVs and application forms will provide you with the general information about their education, experience and skill set, however it doesn’t let you know how they use their skills, or what kind of mind frame they approach challenges with.  A phone interview will let you ask second-level questions, so you can develop a better picture of who they are and what they could potentially do for your company.

What questions should you ask though? You could simply Google, ‘what are the best interview questions’, and I’m sure there would be hundreds of generic questions which you could try. However, we have come up with our top five phone interview questions which will really let you know if this person is for you.

1. What attracted you to apply for this position?

By asking this question, you will find out quickly how much research this candidate has done and see how genuinely interested they are in the company.
You’ll also be able to gauge if this person understands the position fully and if their perspective of the role is accurate.
You would be impressed if they were able to list some of the items listed in the job specification and explain how they would be suited for it.

2. Would you rather go over the time frame and finish something perfectly, or finish on-time and imperfectly?

By giving the candidate an option between two answers, you will be able to see their thought process and how they evaluate the situation. As there is no right or wrong answer, you are ultimately looking out for how they deliver their answer.
You want someone who can answer firmly and confidently answer the question, with a good reason to back it up.


3. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your current position and how did you overcome it?

We all face challenges, but it’s how you deal with and over come them is what is important. Don’t dwell too much on the challenge itself but listen to how they dealt with the situation, whether it’s about dealing with a difficult customer, learning a new skill or something to do with their team.

4. What is the most important skill you’ve learned in your current role? Are there any skills you’d like to improve on?

You will already have read through their application form or CV, so you know their basic skills and experience, but sometimes this isn’t enough. By asking them this question, you are giving them the opportunity to develop on their best attributes. Listen to how they explain their skill set.
By asking them to tell you what they would like to improve on, you are finding out more about their desires within your company. If you feel their skills aren’t suited to the job, you can ask follow-up questions to find out more about their skillset.


5. What questions would you like to ask?

You will get a better answer to this question instead of asking, ‘Do you have any questions for me?’. By wording it in a way which makes the candidate think they must have a question, you will get an idea of how prepared they are. Any interview candidate should have prepared a few questions for the interview, whether it’s about the role, the company of their future, and if they say they don’t then it’s likely they aren’t passionate for the new position.
This question will also let you get a read on your candidate’s concerns. Look for an applicant that asks unique questions to prove they have done their homework. It’s not a good sign if they ask a generic question which you have already answered throughout the phone conversation.


If you’d like to find out more about how LANDED can help you with the entire recruitment process from start to finish, why not schedule a free demo at