6 questions to ask during phone screens

Identifying the strongest candidates early on.

Phone screens are arguably the easiest way to reduce the number of onsite interviews required to find the right candidate.

Given how resource-intensive onsites tend to be, it’s worth taking the time to develop a set of strong questions that work well over the phone. Here’s a list of 6 for you to consider.

  1. Conflict Resolution: Assume you and your team have determined a plan for the next 6 weeks of development. A few days later, you receive an email from someone in Sales who just got back from a pitch. The email details an idea for a feature that doesn’t fit with the team’s plans. You think the idea is really good, and the email makes it clear that the deal will be lost if it isn’t built within the next few weeks. Describe the next few steps you’d take.

  2. Project Management: Imagine a continuum with a company mission on one end and individual engineering tickets on the other. Describe an organizational system we could use to help keep both ends in sync.

  3. Product Strategy: How would you go about prioritizing a list of three customer problems that your team all believes are equally worth solving?

  4. Product Discovery: Assume that your team is aligned on a customer problem to solve next. Before any design or development work, what steps might we take to increase the chances of the solution having strong product/market fit?

  5. Execution: Assume now that your team has discovered a likely solution to a customer problem and is ready to start building it. How would you break up the work to guide development?

  6. Product Sense: Tell me about an ongoing trend in software or tech that excites you.