Does anything good ever come from skipping phone screens?

I've never found that to be a good "call"

I've been hearing from people that they are getting contacted by companies and staffing firms to come right in for an in-person interview without going through an initial phone screen first. These are educated, experienced mid- to senior-level career workers pursuing professional positions.

In my personal experience as a job seeker I never had a worthwhile interview experience with a company that skipped the phone interview. And, because of that, a couple of times when I politely questioned whether that option was available or suggested that step, it was as if that would be an imposition. To me that is a huge RED FLAG about their hiring process! 

As an interviewer, I can't imagine any reason not to conduct phone screens. It seems much more efficient for all parties involved and helps establish mutual interest without wasting time. 

What do you think? 

Views: 2009

Comment by Matt Charney on March 25, 2014 at 10:38pm

If you're not worth their time, it's a pretty good signal they're not worth yours, either.  Thanks for starting the discussion, Kelly!

Comment by Rchilli Parser on March 26, 2014 at 1:34am

I'm definitely up for this and none of us wants to waste time either ignoring the phone interviews. 

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on March 26, 2014 at 12:04pm

Keith Sez: "Phone, F2F, Video- pick any two."


Comment by Will Thomson on March 26, 2014 at 2:20pm

So- I recruit a lot internationally.  London is 6 hours ahead of US time.  It is very difficult to schedule time to talk to the candidates and get them to the hiring manager in a timely fashion.  The best way I have found to help move the process along is to go through resumes, then pick the ones that I feel are a good fit and have the HM give me a "yea or nea" on regular 1x1's and then I will screen.  It works well.  I don't spend hours tracking down candidates on skype just to get a "no" based on a resume.

One manager wanted me to send the resumes over and have her interview.  It was a disaster.  The hiring manager said "they knew nothing about the role, the company or what we are doing."  I then said "did you phone screen them" and "I told you I would phone screen them" and she responded in the UK they should know all about the role.  I disagreed completely.  Never again.  Always a phone screen.  

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on March 26, 2014 at 2:33pm

Thanks for your solution to the difficult problem, Will. As the saying goes:

"Where there's a Will, there's a way...."


Keith "That Was Too Easy" Halperin

Comment by Will Thomson on March 26, 2014 at 2:35pm

Time Zones create some serious obstacles.

Comment by Colin Martin on March 26, 2014 at 2:57pm

Hey Will, why not invite your candidates to record answers to your questions using a webcam? The candidate can complete the interview on their time and you can review it on yours? There is no scheduling required.  The recorded video interviews give you more insight into the candidates and you can spend 5 seconds on candidate or 5 minutes, its up to you. You can literally do a days worth of phone screening in under an hour.

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on March 26, 2014 at 5:26pm

Thanks for all of the comments, guys. 

@Colin - while I agree there could be certain cases where what you describe would be helpful, there is usually more to an initial phone screen than just asking questions and getting them answered. I'm not sure how spending 5 seconds or 5 minutes per candidate video gives more insight than one would get from a 15-40 minute pre-screening call. Just like in-person (or Skype) interviews, phone screens should be two-way conversations intended for both parties to exchange information in order to establish mutual preliminary interest, as well as formulate a short-list for F2F rounds. Yes, scheduling and conducting calls may take longer than a video questionnaire, but IMO it serves a purpose and can actually save time on later steps. When done well it can be convenient and efficient for all parties involved in the context of the original post scenario. Thanks again ~KB

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on March 26, 2014 at 5:44pm

Thanks, Kelly. I think phone serves best as a comm-skills evaluator, and video as a substitute for F2F. I prefer to get/give basic information via: text of some sort...

Comment by Jerry Albright on March 27, 2014 at 10:52am

My customers are paying me in the 15K - 30K range for my services.  My services include indentifying who they should interview, in-person.  There is no need for the HR rep to call them, stretching out several more days of schedule, just to go over what they're paying me to do.

PS:  Having a candidate stare blankly into a web cam to answer 5 generic questions is a waste of time.


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