Interview Questions to ask for the First Round of Interviews

First Interview Questions for first round telephonic interviews Free PDF Download Pic

What’s the Purpose of First Interviews?

The purpose of first interviews is to quickly eliminate weak candidates. It’s impossible to tell whether someone is a good hire just from the first interview. That’s what the rest of the interviewing process is for. But the first time you interview someone, you will very quickly know whether or not you’d like to interview them again. If you use this technique you can save yourself significant interviewing time. (FYI if you’re looking for the best first interview questions to ask job candidates, click here to download)


Use 30-Minute First Interviews to Save Time

First Interview questions for first interviews to quickly filter job candidates in 30 minutes jpeg

Interviewing is time consuming – if you do first interviews of 10-20 people of an hour each then you’ve just lost half of your workweek. But for the first interview, you don’t need an hour. You need at most 30 minutes to make the decision whether you’d be prepared to interview them again or not. You also don’t need face-to-face interviews, you can use phone interview questions to save time. Saving 50% of your first interview time is a very worthwhile saving – imagine what you can do with an extra day or two.

Just a quick side note - hiring is difficult and the recruitment process can be daunting. That's why I started the Boss Camp program. It shows you how to make managing easy, including how to hire the best person for the job.





The Purpose of First Interviews is Fast Filtration and Elimination

Good first interview questions will help you quickly filter and eliminate weak job candidates jpeg

Hiring is a process of filtration. You start off with a pile of resumes to try and find the best person for the job. It’s impossible to interview every candidate, which is why each step of the process narrows down the selection:

  • Start with a lot of resumes (in this job market, this could easily be 100 resumes),
  • Out of which you pick 5-20 candidates for first interviews.
  • Out of this 3-10 candidates are chosen for second interviews, etc.


The numbers can be pretty overwhelming.  Spending a lot of time on each resume or each first interview simply isn’t an option. This is why we recommend super fast, focused first interviews of maximum 30 minutes. Preferably using phone interviews to save both of you time.



First Interview Questions to Ask:

First interviews aren’t about the difference between the best and second best candidate. First interview questions don’t go into a lot of detail in individual competencies. Therefore first interview questions are not strongly competency focused like the second interview behavior questions (LINK). First interview questions are more about a general check to see if this is the sort of person that does good work and will fit in well in the company. Good first interview questions are the sort of interview questions that give you a lot of information in a short period of time.


First Interviews aren’t about deciding who to hire. First interviews are about quickly eliminating candidates so you can spend quality time on your second interviews.

If you’re wondering what are the best interview questions to ask in first interviews. You don’t need to wonder anymore because I’ve developed a set of first interview questions for your download. Click here to download first interview questions.


Do you have any tips and suggestions for interviewing job candidates? Help the rest of us by sharing in the comments below.

The Hiring and Interviewing Series

This is part of the Interviewing and Hiring Series. This series covers how managers can increase employee performance through hiring better employees. And how managers can avoid common hiring mistakes.

Topics in the Series Include:

Other Relevant Resources:

Power Interview Pack: The complete set of interview questions to get the best candidate for the job. Increase employee performance through hiring the best staff and avoiding bad hires. Link here. 

Hiring for Performance: How to hire the best employees and improve employee performance, engagement and retention. Link here.  

Employee Onboarding for Performance: If employee onboarding goes wrong, your new hire may leave you in the lurch or become a demotivated low performer. But motivate and integrate your new hire well and you will have a happy, productive team member. Link here.

Boss Camp

As a manager you can get upset when your employees do something wrong, you can get annoyed that they don’t do what you ask. In short you can be the chocolate teapot boss. Or you can learn how to be a boss, like a boss at WWW.BOSS.CAMP. The program includes topics such as:

  • How to hire for performance,
  • How to motivate employees,
  • What are bad employee motivators,
  • What you must do as a manager but isn't on your job description,
  • How leaders get power.