Today, managers look beyond their town, their state, perhaps even beyond their country to find the best talent. Because of this, it becomes more likely you will initially be interviewing candidates, not in person, but over the phone. This change shouldn’t be seen as daunting; rather, it maximizes your access to great candidates. Are you making the most of this amazing opportunity?

How a phone interview is different from traditional interviews

Let’s get one misconception out of the way: phone interviews are not less important than in-person interviews. If you go in with the mindset this isn’t a “real” interview and are underprepared – even unprepared – you are certain to make some costly blunders.

Even so, phone interviews aren’t exactly like traditional interviews; you will need to slightly adjust your goals and methods to get the most out of them. Here are some points you’ll need to consider before starting.

What is your goal during this interview?

In most cases, phone interviews are part of the initial screening process. Your objective, therefore, is to make a preliminary decision as quickly as possible. Does the candidate meet your basic needs, or should you move on? If you ask focused questions, you should have your answer quickly. On the other hand, there may be times where your phone interview will be more heavily weighted. For example, when hiring out of town, especially for a temporary position, you want the decision to be all but made before the candidate ever comes to your workplace. At these times, you’ll need to conduct a more in-depth phone interview. In either case, there are several questions you’ll need to ask ASAP.

1.      When could you start?

If this seems like it should be one of your last questions, you’re not thinking it through. If your need is immediate, but the candidate can’t start for several weeks, it won’t work out. Drawing things out is a waste of your time.

2.      Why were you drawn to apply for this job?

“Because I need a job.” Thanks, but no thanks. A decent candidate can express something about your workplace that appeals to them. A lazy answer to this question may not be a deal breaker (depending on your needs), but it’s definitely a red flag.

3.      What are you looking for in your next position?

A candidate’s expectations about hours, workload and management style need to match up with your needs. In addition, the answer to this question reveals how well they paid attention to your job posting. The best candidates only apply to positions for which they are a good fit.

4.      What is your expected salary?

At this stage, you are likely dealing with pretty vague figures. Even so, you need to know you and the candidate are approximately on the same page. If not, you need to prepare either for difficult negotiations or move on.

Partnering with a professional recruiter can drastically streamline your initial screening processes, leaving time for you to focus on other critical tasks. Our expert recruiters can guarantee you access to the most highly qualified candidates in the region. Contact us today to find out more about our services.

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