The time involved in reviewing resumes, setting up interviews, and actually conducting interviews is a huge time commitment. No one wants to waste their time sitting through another  awkward hour-long interview that won’t lead to a job offer.

As a hiring manager, there’s nothing more disappointing than being 10 minutes into a face-to-face interview and knowing this candidate isn’t the one. As a candidate, there’s nothing more frustrating than taking off of work and preparing for the interview only to not get the job.

What’s the alternative? I propose 10-15 minute mini phone interviews.

Mini phone interviews:

  • Can be conducted by anyone
  • Focuses on questions that show basic knowledge of processes and/or definitions related to the position
  • Results in decisions whether to have a full length phone and/or face-to-face interview

Here’s some starter questions for mini phone interviews…

  1. Describe the steps you’d take to…
  2. What are three things you’d take into account when…
  3. How do you define…
  4. What laws, policies, or regulations relate to…

Note that these questions are declarative or ask for basic procedures. These questions are different from the typical questions that you ask in a full interview that get to how someone handled a specific situation. You’ll also note, there’s no follow up questions to get more information. As a result, anyone could conduct the interview with zero experience or subject matter expertise in the job.

After the call, the interviewee’s answers are checked. You can then make a decision of whether to spend any more time with the candidate with very little upfront investment of time.

Just 10-15 minutes could save you hours in interviews and the candidate hours in preparation.

As a bonus, using these mini phone interviews are great opportunities for administrative staff, junior employees, and even interns in conducting low-risk interviews to develop communication and interview skills.

If you’ve ever used a mini phone interview, please share your experience in the comments. Or, if you’ve been a candidate that was in a mini phone interview we’d love to hear what your experience was on the other side of the phone.