I . . . apply the '4-E (And 1-P) Framework' for hiring that I've found consistently effective, year after year, across businesses and borders. The first E is positive energy. It means the ability to go go go—to thrive on action and relish change. The second E is the ability to energize others, and inspire them to take on the impossible. The third is edge, the courage to make tough yes-or-no decisions. The fourth E is execute—the ability to get the job done. Then I look for that final P, passion—a heartfelt, deep and authentic excitement about work.
The objective of the phone screen is to determine if you should continue the interview process with the candidate. You'll make this determination by deciding, at the 30,000-foot level, if his or her skills, personality, and goals match your organization's needs. Used correctly, the phone screen will increase your recruiting plan's efficiency by quickly narrowing your candidate pool by 50 percent.
Because you have developed a job description that details the ideal candidate's skills and personality traits, you should be able to quickly review the résumés and cover letters you've received, and make a reasonable first cut. Skills are easier to evaluate on paper than are personality traits, which is fine. You're not expected to be 100 percent certain of every aspect of the candidate at this point; that's what the phone screen and the rest of the interview process is for.