Phone interviews are a critical part of a good hiring process. They allow you to determine if a candidate’s qualification’s experience, workplace preferences, and salary needs are congruent with the position you’re offering in a cost-effective manner. The candidate’s responses will help you decide whether or not to continue with a face-to-face interview. Here are a few tips to help you conduct better phone interviews so you’ll get the information you need.
- Prepare for the interview in advance.
Before you pick up the phone, it’s important that you determine what you’re looking for in a candidate. Once you have a profile set, come up with questions that ask about the qualifications and skills you’re looking for. If you don’t know exactly who you are looking for, you can’t actively pursue the right people.
- Explain the purpose of the interview.
Start off the interview by telling the person why you are calling, where you are in the hiring process, and what you hope to accomplish. This will help you establish rapport with the candidate and set expectations for the interview.
- Probe for more information.
Ask interview questions that keep the candidate talking. Use questions such as: Why? How? Can you give me another example? These open-ended questions dig beneath the rehearsed answers that the interviewee had prepared and give you a better idea of their skills and experience.
- Take notes.
Jot down word for word responses that you like or dislike from a candidate. When you go back and review your notes after the interview, these responses will help you recall an applicant’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Be friendly.
Treat all candidates with respect, even if you can immediately tell they are not the right fit for the job. Having a friendly manner on the phone is a reflection of you and your company.
- Follow up.
Whatever the outcome of the phone screening, make it a habit to follow up with the candidate. If you would like to schedule an in person interview, send an email confirming when a good time would be. If you have decided not to pursue the candidate, send them a thank you note letting them know. Candidates appreciate an answer over silence and it helps to build the reputation of your company.
Using these approaches to phone screening will give you a better idea if the candidate’s qualifications are a good match for the role, and help you weed out those who aren’t before conducting face to face interviews.
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