For Developers

Phone Screen Interview/Phone Screen: 6 Best Tips to Ace Developer Interviews in 2022

what is a phone screen interview

Interviews are an important step in the developers' recruitment process. It might take a variety of formats. In this round, your soft skills are tested and can either be a phone screen interview/phone screen. Many people who have the desired technical skills fail to pass screening interviews due to a lack of communication skills. How will your recruiters know about your competency if you can't convey it? Also, every company is looking for smart candidates who can take charge and lead their team in the future.

Therefore, if you have one coming up, it's a good idea to know about interviews systematically so you'll be ready. Before we get into the details, keep in mind that a phone screen interview/phone screen is a choice of the recruitment team. You can only prepare accordingly.

Let's get started!

What is a phone interview?

Phone interviews are the interviews conducted over the recruiters’ and applicants’ phones. Many companies conduct a phone interview as part of the initial step in the hiring process. Using a phone screen, recruiters can ensure that they are only interviewing the best candidates. This stage acts as a preliminary round where recruiters can seamlessly evaluate if the details mentioned in the resume are true or false. Therefore, you need to be well prepared for phone interviews. Recruiters will come up with direct and indirect questions to evaluate your background and understand the details of your work experience and skills.

According to a LinkedIn study in 2021, 81% of hiring managers think that online recruitment will be continued even after the pandemic is erased. While a phone screen may appear to be a minor, less involved phase in the hiring process, phone screens assist recruiters in removing candidates who are clearly underqualified.

In the next section, I will walk you through the benefits of phone interviews.

Benefits of phone interviews for developers

  • Every candidate has access to a phone interview, which has been utilized for decades for hiring reasons.
  • Candidates in conventional industries who are less tech-savvy are more likely to feel at ease with this interview style. Candidates can easily pick up the call whenever they receive a call from the recruiter on their cell phone or landline.
  • The phone interview is a wonderful way to get to know a recruiter before speaking with a member of the team with whom the applicant will be working. It's more relaxing, and it's a terrific, no-pressure way to start a company-candidate relationship.
  • Neither the recruiter nor the candidate can see each other throughout the interview, allowing both sides to refer to their notes.

Time to know the cons of phone interviews.

The disadvantages of phone interviews

  • Recruiters may find it difficult to determine if a candidate is a good fit over the phone.
  • It can also be more difficult to establish a good first relationship.
  • At this level, it's nearly impossible to gain a sense of the nonverbal clues candidates and recruiters exchange, further blurring the lines between how well the recruiter and the candidate can analyze job skills and fit.

So, what exactly is a phone screening interview. Here you go!

What is a phone screen interview?

A phone screen interview is a short conversation, usually 30 minutes or less, that can save recruiters' time and difficulty meeting you in person who, despite having good credentials, are unlikely to succeed in your available position. The procedure is easy to follow: The recruiters schedule each of the candidates for this initial interview in the hiring process after they've finished examining resumes and narrowed the applicant pool for their job position.

Answers to phone interview questions can reveal a lot about whether an applicant has the right combination of abilities and experience for the job and a work style that fits their organization. A casual phone chat might also offer them a better sense of your interpersonal skills than a formal, scripted interview.

To decide whether a phone screen interview/phone screen is advantageous to you, let's dig deeper into the benefits of a video interview.

The benefits of the video interview

  • Both the candidate and the recruiter can see and engage with each other in real-time during a video interview.
  • Recruiters can use this strategy to examine candidate reactions to interview topics, which can result in more natural ease and flow of conversation.
  • In comparison to a phone interview, recruiters can better understand how a prospect portrays themselves through a video interview.
  • It's also easy to assess how well-prepared a candidate is when they don't have access to notes.

The benefits are good enough to make a decision between a phone screen interview/phone screen. But, the cons of video interviews are as follows.

The disadvantages of video interviews

  • Technical difficulties can break the flow of the video interview, throw both the interviewer and the interviewee off, and eliminate the opportunity for each party to give their best judgment.
  • The interviewer and interviewee may be intimidated by the video platform and ongoing visibility, causing them to misrepresent themselves.

Now, let me tell you the reasons why companies use both rounds instead of choosing between a phone screen interview/phone screen.

Why do companies use both rounds in a recruitment process?

Many companies have started using both phone and video interviews during the interviewing process. A phone interview could be used for a preliminary 15- to 30-minute phone screen between a recruiter and an applicant.

The recruiting manager and the candidate would next do a video interview. However, in this labor market, many companies minimize their hiring procedure as much as possible as they are more likely to lose candidates if their process is too long.

The amount of time and resources available to you and the recruiting team may influence their decision between phone and video interviews or a combination of the two.

Whatever technique they pick, the hiring manager will make sure to inform you so that you have enough time to download any necessary software, charge your phones, or take any other steps necessary to ensure a seamless interview process.

Now you know the basics of the interview. In the next section, let's learn some top-notch tips to ace a phone screen interview/phone screen.

Tips for a phone screen interview/phone screen

1. Research the company

If you come to know about the timing of your interview beforehand, you should not only go through the job description but also details about the organization to amp up your preparation.

2. Prepare in advance

  • Prepare for a phone screen interview/phone screen the same way you would for a face-to-face interview.
  • Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses as a developer and know the responses to common phone interview questions.
  • Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer as well.

3. Show the employer you're a match

  • Make a point of matching your qualifications to the developer job description so you can explain why you're a good fit for the development role.
  • Also, take a look at your resume.
  • Remember when you last worked and your job responsibilities in each of your past developer roles.

4. Have your job materials nearby

  • During a phone chat, you should be at ease and prepared to convey your background and skills confidently.
  • Bring a copy of your CV with you to the phone screen interview/phone screen so you may refer to it.
  • You should also have a copy of the developer job posting and, if applicable, a copy of your cover letter prepared particularly for the job.
  • Consider writing a draught email or generating a new Word or Google document with all of the pertinent details. That way, you'll have everything you need in one place: company notes, essential points of emphasis during the interview, your cover letter, and the job posting.

5. Practice interviewing

  • It's not as simple as it appears to be to talk on the phone. Practice will help you practice responses to the sample phone interview questions and help you understand whether you talk too rapidly or slowly.
  • Make a fake phone screen interview/phone screen with a friend or family member and record it so you can hear how you sound over the phone. It will also help you in identifying whether you have a habit of interrupting or rambling.
  • Additionally, listening to the recording can help you in identifying areas where you may enhance your replies.
  • If no one else is around, practice answering your own questions. You don't need to remember replies, but having a general idea of what you're going to say will help you relax and sound more genuine.

6. Get ready for the call

  • Take a deep breath and try to be calm if something goes wrong, miss the call, or the recruiter doesn't call on time.
  • To concentrate on the interview, find a quiet, comfortable, private location with no distractions.
  • If you're going to use your cellphone, make sure it's completely charged and that you're in an area where you'll get decent coverage. You might also discover that standing during an interview makes you sound more energized on the phone.

How can we conclude without discussing the dos and don'ts during a phone screen interview/phone screen?

Do's and Don'ts During the Call

  • Mr. or Ms., followed by the interviewer's last name, should be used during the phone screen interview/phone screen. Only use their first name if they specifically request it.
  • Smoking, chewing gum, eating, and drinking should be avoided.
  • However, have a drink of water nearby. When you need to converse on the phone, having a tickle in your throat or a cough start is the worst. Keep a glass of water so you can take a fast sip if your mouth becomes dry.
  • Don't forget to smile. Smiling gives the impression of positivity to the listener and changes the tone of your voice. Standing during the interview might also be beneficial because it gives your voice more energy and enthusiasm.
  • Concentrate, listen and speak clearly. It's critical to concentrate on the interview, which can be more difficult over the phone than in person. Listen closely to the question, and if you're not sure what the interviewer is asking, ask for clarification.
  • When responding, speak slowly, thoughtfully, and clearly. It's good to pause for a few moments to gather your thoughts before responding.
  • Interrupt the interviewer as little as possible.
  • Please, take your time. Taking a few moments to collect your thoughts during a phone screen interview/phone screen is totally appropriate.
  • Make sure you take notes. Take quick notes throughout the interview because it's difficult to remember what you talked about later.
  • Answers should be brief. It's critical to keep your attention on the questions and your responses.
  • Prepare a list of questions related to the development role to ask the interviewer. When the interviewer asks if you have any questions for them, be ready to respond. Prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer by reviewing these questions.
  • Keep in mind that your ultimate goal is to schedule a face-to-face interview. After thanking the interviewer, ask if you could meet in person at the end of the session.

In the next section, let me take you on a quick stroll through the FAQs related to a phone or video interview.

Developers' common doubts related to interviews

Is a phone or video interview better?

The entire phone screen interview/phone screen process can be sped up via video conferencing. In comparison to in-person interviews, this method is far less expensive, and it allows for better and easier scheduling on both sides. So, companies prefer this.

Are video interviews better?

While you are at home, video interviews allow you to be calmer and answer all of the questions in your own time. You also receive vital information about how interviews work and what recruiters are looking for, making you less scared the second time around, even if the interview is in person.

Should I do a zoom or phone interview?

In comparison to a phone interview, recruiters can better understand how a candidate portrays themselves through a video interview. It's also easy to assess how well-prepared a candidate is when they don't have access to notes. So, when a recruiter suggests a video interview, you can't refuse that.

Is a phone interview a good thing?

If you've been invited to a phone interview, it means the employer likes what they see on your CV and wants to learn more before deciding whether or not to invite you in for a longer interview. Phone screening usually lasts 20 to 30 minutes.


A phone screen interview/phone screen is two types of interviews. Using a phone screen, recruiters can ensure that they are only interviewing the best candidates. It's a short conversation, usually 30 minutes or less, that can save recruiters' time and difficulty meeting you in person who, despite having good credentials, are unlikely to succeed in your available position.

A phone screen interview/phone screen has its own advantages and disadvantages for a developer. The main tips are to research the company, prepare in advance, show the employer that you're a Match, have your job materials nearby, practice interviewing with the help of phone screening interview questions and get ready for the screening call to avoid the last-minute rush. And face the interviewer confidently.



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