What’s the point of phone screens?

Google burnItDown
Jul 26 21 Comments

I understand the rationale if you’re coming from an unknown company - before wasting engineers’ time, it’s good to evaluate.

But imagine people from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon etc. who have to interview for some no name startups or companies of similar stature like Airbnb or Uber - what’s the point?

Like somehow you’re convinced people who produced the OS you use, engine you search, the platform you’ll use for marketing aren’t even qualified for an onsite?


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TOP 21 Comments
  • NVIDIA mClD50
    If you think you’re too good for phone screens, then you should have no trouble getting through them with minimal effort. I’m sure you can find the ~45 min needed for them in your day.
    Jul 26 2
    • Google burnItDown
      I’ve personally found them a pain in the ass more than an issue with not clearing them. And I am not interviewing anymore since I joined Google couple months ago.

      It’s not the 45 minute interview. It’s the weird 11 am or 3 pm timings that screw up half your day as well. Imagine doing multiple phone screens on top of that.
      Jul 26
    • NVIDIA mClD50
      I agree they’re a pain in the ass, but my issue is more so with saying that if you’re from FAANG, you shouldn’t have to do phone screens.

      Just because you managed to get into FAANG, doesn’t necessarily make you a good engineer.
      Jul 26
  • Amazon / Eng @>_
    Not everyone that works for those companies was personally responsible for their flagship products.
    Jul 26 2
    • Google burnItDown
      Agree. But a great company is built by great people and every great company makes sure they hire the best they can above a certain bar, else the industry will eat you up.
      Jul 26
    • Lots of great companies employ plenty of shit people who fell through the cracks.

      Source: I’ve worked at Microsoft and Google and have worked with incompetent losers at both.
      Jul 26
  • Oracle k-9
    To filter out strong candidates
    Jul 26 0
  • Oracle zXd43f
    You can discard a lot of people by talking to them. For example, if op given a hint of his high horse attitude, I would discard him in a heartbeat cause he thinks he is special.

    Newsflash, you are not and nobody wants to be around someone who has superiority complex.

    Phone screen doesn’t only help screening technical ability but detect jerks too.
    Jul 26 4
    • Google burnItDown
      It’s not about superiority complex. It’s about redundancy.

      The point of a phone screen is to see if a candidate can do well onsite. Having a standardised test or some credibility of some sort should at least help you weed out and bring down the insane number of man hours a company wastes in doing phone screens.
      Jul 26
    • Google burnItDown
      Also, thank you. I’m not applying to Oracle anyway. I’ve interned there and the farm jobs and the oralinux machines were enough to scar me for life :)
      Jul 26
    • Oracle zXd43f
      You got that wrong. As I said it’s not only technical screening. It’s also cultural fit. You clearly think low of us so you are a misfit. See, it works. I wouldn’t wanna be near you.
      Jul 26
    • Amazon nzwS47
      100% agree with you, Oracle. One thing I look out for on phone screens (in addition to tech ability, obviously) is the candidate's attitude. If someone doesn't even have the self control to be humble during a phone screen, there is no way that they will have a consistently positive attitude in the office. We don't need that on our team either.
      Jul 29
  • Microsoft / Other VeVz48
    The assumption that all the people hired at the big tech firms are quality is false. Some companies specifically don’t want people dripping with the culture from (insert big company name). A phone screen can save a lot of time and money and is smart recruiting for any company.
    Jul 26 0
  • Amazon / Eng

    Amazon Eng

    1. It is also cultural fit.
    2. You usually touch wider range of tech stack with more responsobility at start up. Attitude and enthusiasm really matter.
    3. How can the other company trust you that you actually work at FAANG? Probably by talking to you in person.
    Jul 26 1
    • Google burnItDown
      The second point I think is something I haven’t thought of. Nice !
      Jul 26
  • Apple


    I’m a software engineer. Right now my job is focused on full stack web dev but I love everything related to tech
    Phone screens exist to filter out candidates so they don’t have to spend time on an on-site.

    Anyone can put Amazon or Google on their Resume and LinkedIn. And even if you did work there there for years, you may still not be qualified to pass the phone screen.
    Jul 26 0
  • Facebook calliope
    Culture fit and vibes, but also

    1. Basic logistical shit like your timing (any other offers coming that we should be aware if so we can move as fast as possible? Going on a month long vacation?)
    2. Determining work authorization.
    3. Prepping you for the interview process, role, or team.
    4. Getting a sense of what you want to do next and what you’re interested in.
    5. Sometimes setting comp expectations. Not always, but sometimes.

    No one wants to waste your time or the time of the many people involved with making your onsite interview a great experience. Onsites are a big deal behind the scenes. They’re a huge PR opportunity, right? If you have a shitty experience your impression of the company shifts.

    So do everyone a favor and have a nice phone chat.
    Jul 26 0
  • Microsoft gkb2
    I think it's more about if you give crazy serial killer vibes
    Jul 26 0
  • Airbnb twofer
    Any FANG eng ought to be able to pass a few leetcode style interviews given some prep time. The phone screen ensures they’ve done the prep before bringing them onsite.
    Jul 27 0
  • Washington Gas / Finance OpCN54
    Well just got dinged 2 hours after a phone screen with Amazon, so I can relate lol.
    Jul 26 0
  • Amazon / Eng Pfum24
    They’re afraid of discrimination lawsuits?
    Jul 26 0


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