Human Resources > Supervisor Resources > Recruitments > Selection Process > Telephone Pre-Screen Interviews

Telephone Pre-Screen Interviews

Telephone pre-screening is typically conducted for higher level positions and/or when the information provided on the standard employment application or application materials needs to be clarified. Screening applicants by phone can help you to identify a list of qualified applicants to move forward for discussions with your selection committee in preparation of face-to-face interviews.

Please contact your Employment Consultant/Recruiter if you plan to use a telephone pre-screen process.

Pre-screening by phone will expedite your recruitment efforts by:

  • Collecting additional applicant job information and clarifying applicants interests in the position to be presented at the first panel search committee meeting.

  • Maximizing panel discussions of applicants backgrounds and qualifications, making this dialogue more meaningful to the panel in the selection and consideration process.

  • Moving quickly into scheduling interviews with identified selected applicants. Saving valuable time for your recruitment search and for the volunteer panel members.

  • Increasing your opportunity to hire the best applicant in your recruitment pool.

As a reminder, you are required to take the necessary time to conduct a good faith search. In addition, a diverse interview panel is encouraged that represents our workforce. When conducting phone pre-screen interviews with applicants as a hiring authority on behalf of UC Davis, you will need to be mindful of the Principles of Community, Equal Opportunity, and Affirmative Action.

Pre-screen interviews with applicants by phone:
Pre-screen interviews are scripted fact finding sessions conducted by telephone with job applicants that applied for your open position. These phone conversations should be brief (typically less than 15 minutes) and should be centered on a few basic questions that support the minimum job functions and skills, knowledge, and abilities (SKAs) listed in the position description. The script is designed to obtain and confirm information about applicants backgrounds and qualifications.

Preparation, Materials & Resources needed:

  • Approved Requisition# and position description.

  • Applicant Telephone Pre-screen Script Worksheet that has your own customized pre-screening questions. Questions should focus on job interest and are similar to writing interview questions to solicit basic job information about applicants ability to meet the position description SKAs.



At the time of conducting a telephone pre-screen interview, you should:


  • Introduce yourself and the reason for the phone call.

  • Ask the job applicant if it is a good time to talk about his or her individual job qualifications and interests in the position. We recommend scheduling phone screen interview sessions with applicants in advance.

  • Briefly explain the job and its place in the department and organization.

  • Ask the applicant(s) job related questions. All applicants should be asked the same questions.

  • Answer any questions the applicant(s) may have.

  • Briefly explain next steps of the applicant process.

  • Be sure to provide the standard hiring salary range for the open position.

  • After the phone screen process is completed, you should evaluate the applicants qualifications based on meeting the minimum job functions and SKAs of the position description.

  • Document and summarize (paraphrase) responses made by applicants to the questions listed on your telephone pre-screen interview worksheet that support and elicit applicants abilities to perform the job functions and SKAs.



Phone Screen Tips:


  • Telephone pre-screen interviews (like face-to-face interviews) with all qualified job applicants should avoid any appearance of discrimination.

  • Be sure that you follow University employment policies and hiring practices for calling applicants by telephone. If you are not interested in pursuing an applicant, continue with obtaining information listed on your customized telephone pre-screen script worksheet. As a hiring authority on behalf of UC Davis, you are not obligated to interview every applicant as long as you can legally disqualify the applicant against the position description. Note: you will be required to provide documentation for non-interview should the applicant not be considered for formal interview.

  • Review the qualifications of applicants that you believe will be most successful in the job keeping focus strictly on meeting the minimum job functions and SKAs, avoiding any form of discrimination.

  • Assess each applicant objectively in terms of qualifications (SKAs) that match your position description.

  • Avoid stereotypes or assumptions based on any "group" (e.g., male or female, age, race, etc.) to which the individual belongs.

  • If you are not sure whether a question, topic, or line of discussion is legal or appropriate, do not pursue it or call your Employment Consultant/Recruiter to find out.

  • Always contact your Employment Consultant/Recruiter for any assistance and advice.



Last updated November 12, 2009

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