The term phone interview is used to describe a technique that is sometimes utilized by a hiring manager, or a human resources person, to screen potential job applicants. Since the interview is held over the telephone, it is less formal, and stressful, than traditional face-to-face interviews.
Phone interviews are typically arranged by a member of the hiring company's human resources department or the hiring manager. The interviewer and job applicant will agree to a mutually convenient time for the call, ensuring there are no interruptions during the interview. Being asked to participate in a phone interview is a positive sign, since it usually means the job applicant has passed the initial resume screening process.
If the hiring manager, or human resources person, is pleased with the applicant's responses to their questions during the phone interview, they will normally arrange for a follow-up, in-person, interview during that same call.
Phone interviews allow the hiring manager to be more efficient, and reach a broader range of applicants than otherwise possible. Hiring managers often use this technique to clarify questions they might have about a job applicant's work history or the objectives appearing on the applicant's resume or cover letter.