For Developers

Phone Screen Interview/Phone Screen: 6 Best Tips to Ace Developer Interviews in 2024

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. 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 how to conduct a phone screen interview 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.


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.


  • Anaswara Ramachandran

    Anaswara Ramachandran

    Anaswara is a marketing enthusiast who admires impactful ideas. She finds joy in dancing, traveling, etc. Let’s say anything that makes her bring in the adrenaline rush. Into any of these? She is waving at you to join the tribe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Employers typically ask you generic, high-level questions about yourself and your background during phone interviews to determine whether they should move you on to the next stage of the employment process. You should be prepared to discuss your background, the reasons you're interested in this particular position and firm, and your reasons for seeking employment.

The pool of candidates who will be invited for in-person interviews is trimmed down through the usage of telephone interviews. Just like you would for a face-to-face interview, get ready for a phone interview. Be ready to discuss your qualifications and provide answers to inquiries. Create a distraction-free environment for the call so that you can concentrate on the interview.

A phone screen would often be used to determine whether the applicant is who they claim to be. Sadly, close to 50% of applicants fabricate their resumes. This is why having a phone screen is so important. The phone interview allows for a more in-depth examination of your background, abilities, and goals. Senior software developers can expect this interview, which frequently follows a technical coding challenge, to focus on understanding your leadership style and soft skills.

In order to determine whether the candidate's profile aligns with the job openings, recruiters will request information about the candidate's education, background, skills, and work history. Recruiters and interviewers appreciate it when a candidate's skill set is a good fit for a job position. However, having solid technical knowledge by itself won't be enough to get you the job. Recruiters want to work with applicants who are enthusiastic about the position and eager to pick up new skills.

One thing that comes to me is that you need to refrain from speaking over the interviewer. Even more so than in face-to-face interviews, interrupting the interviewer on the phone is awkward and rude. You might be eager to make your point or share your experience.

Here are some of the questions that are asked in a phone interview:

  1. Tell us about yourself
  2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  3. How do you keep yourself motivated?
  4. Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?
  5. Why should we hire you?

Apart from these, there should be some technical questions related to your field of interest.

View more FAQs


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