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Phone Interview Questions and Best Practices

Conducting phone interviews with your applicants is a key step in the hiring process. Adding this step allows hiring managers to gauge an applicant’s probability of success within the company before moving forward with in-person interviews.

Throughout the hiring process, from emailing applicants to phone interview questions to offer letters, consistency is key. The best way to create consistency in your hiring process is by creating standards and templates for your most common steps. it streamlines your work and creates a more subjective process. 

If you want to streamline your hiring process and reduce bias in a more effective manner, learn how our Applicant Matching System can help. Click here to learn more

The first step in conducting phone interviews is to identify which applicants pass your hard screen. Hard screens may include the following; shift availability, minimum age requirements, reliable transportation, and more. Once you’ve decided who passes your hard screen, reach out to these candidates via email to set up a phone screen. We’ve outlined a great template for you to use or modify below.


Phone Interview Email Template


Thank you for applying for our [position name] opening at [company name]. You have been selected to move to the next stage of our hiring process! As part of the next stage, we conduct 15-minute phone interviews. Please reply with 3 days/times that work best for you this upcoming week. 


[Hiring Manager Name]

[Company Name]


Once you have scheduled the phone interview, it’s time to make the call! Before jumping into questioning, take the time to introduce yourself and the company. You’ll want to detail your position, how long you’ve been with the company, and why it’s a good place to work.

After going through introductions, move into your prepared list of phone interview questions. Remember, it’s important to use the same standard questions for each phone interview you do. We’ve outlined popular questions for phone interviews relevant to the hourly workforce. 


Phone Interview Questions

  • Tell me why you’re interested in this position.

    The applicants’ answer to this question will give you insight into whether they are applying for every single thing on the market or if they are truly interested in your company. In addition, their answers will tell you whether they have done any research on your company, also indicating interest level.

  • Tell me about your relevant work history.

    Whether your position is an entry-level position or above, asking about relevant work history is important. However, if it is an entry-level position, this question can also be applied to volunteer positions or school activities. You’ll want to learn whether they have done this type of work in the past or what transferable hard and soft skills would make them successful in the position.

  • What type of work/activities do you enjoy most? Least?

    It’s important to find out what type of work they’ve enjoyed in the past and compare that to what you know of the position for which they’re being considered. Do they enjoy a fast-paced environment? Does that match the position and company culture?

  • What’s the hourly wage range you would consider to accept this position?

    When you have a wage range based on shift or experience level posted with the job, it’s important to see if their expectations match. If you can only pay up to $13/hour but they won’t accept a position for less than $15/hour, they’re not going to be worth moving forward with.

  • Which shifts do you want to work?

    If your company has multiple shifts, find out which hours the candidate prefers to work. In addition, record how many hours per week they prefer to work. By setting these expectations clear from the beginning and sticking to them, it leads to more satisfied and engaged employees.


At the end of the phone interview, end with an actionable step. If you are interested in the candidate, schedule their in-person interview. If you are unsure or not interested in a candidate after hearing their responses, let them know you are continuing to do interviews and you will follow up via email. Once you’ve finished doing all of your phone interviews, you can revisit those you were unsure about and decide to bring them in or nicely reject them. For those you are definitely not interested in hiring at this time, follow up with a thoughtful email.

A thoughtful rejection email includes thanking an applicant for taking the time to apply and letting them know you’ve selected another applicant but would encourage them to re-apply in the future. It’s important to maintain positive correspondence with applicants. You want to offer a positive response because they may be a good fit for your business in 3, 6, or 12 months.

Overall, phone interviews are a great way to vet candidates without adding the resources it takes for in-person interviews. Using standard processes in your hiring process can help streamline your hiring and reduce unconscious bias. If you’re looking for a better way to hire,  check out Sprockets’ Applicant Matching System. The solution matches applicants against your top employees, instantly showing you who to interview and hire. Click here to learn more.


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