Chemistry, Life Science & Engineering Recruitment

Initial phone interviews are invaluable, so if you’re not already doing them, we highly recommend you start!

They are a solid investment of time as they are;

  • Easy to incorporate into your schedule
  • Negate delay (which risks losing your candidate)
  • Can occur irrespective of your/candidate’s location
  • Unearth a lot in a short space of time – highly efficient
  • Assess personality fit for the team/company

Here are our essential questions that hiring managers should be asking candidates at this early stage:

1. "Talk me through your CV"

  • This should have a confident delivery; it's all about them!
  • Having their CV bought to life by them really helps you better understand them - intonation and context are wonderful things!

2. "What do you know about our company?"

  • Have they researched your company or are they just reading your “about us” page over the phone?
  • A candidate should confidently talk about what they have researched, it demonstrates they have done their homework and are committed to the opportunity

3. "Tell me what you know about the role?"

  • Again, have they prepared for the interview?
  • This is an opportunity for you give them further details about the position; fill in the gaps for them, job descriptions only go so far
  • Hopefully you’re interviewing high-calibre candidates – sell your role!!

4. "Why are you interested in this role?"

  • Now it’s their time to sell themselves, and a good opportunity for you to ensure they understand & possess the qualities required to excel in it

5. "Ask any technical deal breakers"

  • Ask questions around the role’s key skills
  • Ensure their capabilities align with the demands of your role
  • Their answers should fill you with confidence!

6. "Tell me about yourself? - Describe your personality?"

  • Aimed to help you get a better ‘feel’ for their personality and fit for company/cultural
  • Their answer should hopefully have a much more personal tone

7. "Why did you leave? Why are you looking to move on?"

  • This should have a well thought out and confident answer which aligns with what you have to offer
  • Ensures both parties’ expectations align

8. "Do you have any questions for me?"

  • An opportunity for the candidate to get any of their deal-breakers answered
  • Also, it’s always interesting to see what is asked, as it can reveal their drivers and what they deem important

Then finally our last bit of advice, which are not 'prescribed' questions, is ensure you double check the logistics i.e. location, commute expectations, relocation, notice period, counter-offers, non-compete clauses, etc. If some is too far away and not willing to relocate then there's no point in interviewing them further or inviting them on-site or a similar result if their salary expectations are far beyond the positions budget.

For more advice on conducting phone/video interviews feel free to contact VRS Recruitment on 0161 976 4000 or email

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