10Having Human Resources Conduct Phone Screens

There are many places where the process/policy is that HR conducts phone screens in the place of managers. This is, in principle, a good idea, because it’s yet another gate, another screen, another set of eyes looking for reasons to say no. And in the case of HR, versus you and your directs and perhaps one or two peers, they’re going to have a different perspective. That’s good.

But . . . there’s a huge misunderstanding that occurs when HR conducts phone screens as policy. What happens is many managers think that HR conducting “A” phone screen means that HR is therefore conducting “the only” phone screen. That HR “owns” the phone screen process. In most cases, we’d guess, managers assume that HR is doing some special, different, HR-informed, previously trained phone screen of which the manager is incapable, and for which the manager is unauthorized.

This is a laughably wrong conclusion in 90% of situations. Don’t assume that HR is doing the phone screen (as if there is such a thing). Don’t assume that HR is therefore doing the only phone screen. Don’t assume that HR is the phone screener of record for your firm.

BTW: What is HR doing in a phone screen? It depends on the experience of your HR professional. Almost every HR phone screen includes some obligatory information about the company (meaning the HR person is talking—briefing the candidate, versus evaluating the person). There are probably some assertions regarding equal opportunity ...

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