55

I got an email from a company asking me if I'm available some time for a phone call (~30 min).

Is it appropriate to ask if that phone interview will be a technical one?

80

Yes. You should know whether to prepare for one, even as simply as having pen and paper ready. Do ask what resources you will need - computer, simple calculator, etc. Don't complicate this one.

63

Perhaps more broad than your question, when scheduling a call with someone or a company you do not know, it is always appropriate to ask, "What is the purpose of the call? How best can I prepare?"

In your case you may want to word it as, "I can be available. Can you please tell me what to expect during this call so that I am prepared?" It is respectful and helps everyone use their time effectively.

9

Yes it is fair to ask. By that you will be able to know that what type of questions will be asked on phone call.Sometime it happens that phone call is by HR only to get overview about you , Sometime it is by technical lead who ask about all technical things.

So for you better is ask in advance about phone call so you can be ready according to that before call.

3

If you are a very senior person , the interview will not likely be technical as an other senior person will likely talk to you regarding your profile and then schedule future interviews based on their impression.

If you are a junior person , the interview will most likely be technical by a panel of one or more.

But again , you should be prepared for anything as you have begun the job search and should be ready at all times for anything from a coding test to a technical interview to a presentation to a general HR interview.

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    I don't think you can make this sort of assumption based on seniority of the position – Matt Wilko Dec 18 '15 at 16:39
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    That is why the word "likely" was used in the response. It is based on experiences and processes of major organizations. – Learner_101 Dec 18 '15 at 16:55
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    You didn't answer the question, either. – Lightness Races in Orbit Dec 19 '15 at 13:15
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    In companies that rely on technical phone screens, only one person does the screen at first. It may or may no be outsourced. I don't know where you came up with this "panel" bit.You don't know that the organization in the OP's question is "major" whatever that means. You don't know why they contacted the OP or the content of the exchange. That's why the OP should ask why, not make very specific assumptions based on their own seniority and nothing else. The last point is wrong -- coding interviews can require a computer, Internet etc., while I can likely take an HR chat without these. – user42272 Dec 19 '15 at 22:08
  • This advice is just wrong. I've never had a technical screening interview as a first scheduled call, either as a junior employee or as a senior one. The first phone call is almost always just the HR person/internal recruiter. And even thought, they usually say it may last 30 minutes, it is almost always less than 10 minutes. – Stephan Branczyk Dec 20 '15 at 7:53
3

In a word, yes.

I always ask. If asked why I'm asking I say it's so I can be properly prepared. This, IMO, demonstrates professional behaviour.

Look at it this way, you wouldn't go into an exam (even if it was only 30 minutes long) without adequate revision or preparation. Why should you treat a phone call that may lead to a job or contract offer with any more levity?

I concur with @Learner_101's assertions on the type of interview you may face, but this is really up to the interviewer. If you ask your question, phrased correctly, then you should be able to elicit this information too though.

2

Yes, you must ask who will perform the interview so that you can prepare accordingly. If the interviewer is HR then they will ask basic questions. If the interviewer is a technical expert then they will ask more complicated things, and expect more in depth answers. You would prepare differently for each of these situations.

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