7 Recruiters Share Their Favorite Phone Screen Questions

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From traffic signs to favorite hobbies, veteran recruiters reveal their favorite questions to ask during phone screens.

Woman talking on the phone.

Do you have a go-to phone screen question that you ask candidates, no matter the role? One question that tells you more about your candidate than all the other skill and experience questions, combined?

Here are 7 favorite phone screen questions from 7 seasoned recruiters (feel free to steal one or two!):

1 / What would you like to do when you grow up?

“This question makes candidates think (past and presently), ‘am I doing what I really want to do?’ It also rounds out a better picture for me, to see if they’re are really invested in the role I’m trying to place them for—do they see growth for themselves, and do I see them committing to the company.”

Danielle Marchant (@SheRecruits), Recruiting Manager, Recruiting Social

“It makes the candidate think ‘am I doing what I really want to do?’”

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2 / Throughout your academic and practical experience, describe the environment where you have been motivated to do some of the best work of your life?

Audrey Brooks (@AudreyJBM), Talent Acquisition Partner, Aviva Canada

3 / What are the qualities that make a good engineer great?

“I like asking this question because it gives me insight into a candidate’s thinking, as far as what they value beyond the simple functions of a job. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer, per se. It’s more about finding out where their head is at. It also can reveal their perspectives on internal teamwork as well as working with multiple managers or different teams (QA, Devs, etc.) altogether.”

David Nicola (@Capt_Careerist),Technical Sourcer, Delphix

4 / If you were a traffic sign, but not a stop light, what sign would you be?

Kim Pope (@Kimdpope), Principal Recruiter, OpenX

“If you were a traffic sign, but not a stop light, what would you be?”

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5 / Tell me about your favorite hobby and why you like it?

“I love this question because it tests for culture fit. Every candidate will tell me how passionate they are about sales or HR, but we have many interests that drive our careers. Our hobbies give us outlets for creativity. We are a company full of creative individuals who welcome those who will add to that creative environment that breeds innovation.”

Jose Watson (@Josewats), Market Recruiter, Lowe’s Companies Inc.

6 / So it sounds like things are going really well for you at ____, what made you schedule this call?

“After candidates explain how great they are doing in their current role, this tongue-in-cheek question usually throws people off and opens the door to a more candid conversation about their current position and what they are actually looking for.”

Angel Lawler (AngelRecruits), Recruiter, Recruiting Social

“This question usually throws people off and opens the door to a more candid conversation.”

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7 / What publications do you read to stay updated on the ____ industry world?

“This question gives me insight to what people in that industry are reading to stay up to date and I can leverage for further recruitment efforts!”

Yasmine Mukahal (@YasmeenMukahal), Nashville Talent Acquisition Site Lead, Dell

lily-weiner-AUTHOR

About the author

Lily Weiner is Content Coordinator at Recruiting Social. Connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @lilyweiner.

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