How to conduct a great phone interview
Phone interviews are the go-to method for narrowing your list of candidates and moving on to face-to-face interviews. Phone interviews are typically short and sweet, but if you’re not properly preparing you may be wasting time and missing out on top talent. Here are some quick tips for conducting a great phone interview.
Review: Phone interviews should only last between 15 and 30 minutes. Before you call any applicant, review the job description for the open position and check candidate resumes once more.
Gather: Prepare a list of interview questions that are both role-based and candidate-specific. Gathering all information beforehand will allow you to better focus on what candidates are saying in the interview rather than searching for relevant files during the conversation.
Introductions: Introduce yourself and communicate the structure of the phone interview– the first 10 minutes will be focused on the candidate, the next 10 minutes will be focused on the job and company, and the final 10 minutes will be used for questions.
Take notes: Even though you think you’ll remember what’s said, it’s important to write notes down. This will help you later when you’re discussing interview details with other team members.
Skillset audit: Phone interviews help to cut out the individuals who “fluff” their resumes and separate them from the top talent. For example, if you’re looking for a senior developer, you may ask them to describe the largest project they have completed. This is a great way to determine if their past roles fit in with your idea of a senior developer.
Conversations: Allow the candidates to do the majority of the talking, and be patient. Don’t think you need to fill the awkward pauses in the conversation. The candidate could be thinking through their responses before speaking.
Manners: You want your candidate to display specific phone etiquette during the interview, so it’s important to display the same manners. Find a quiet place to chat.
Questions: Give the interviewee the opportunity to ask questions. The level of specificity they use when asking questions could be a good indicator of their knowledge of the field.
Closure: Avoid simply thanking and ending the call. Inform the applicant of the next steps and let them know someone will be in touch soon.
Review: Look over your notes from each phone interview and rank them in order of most qualified and skilled to least.
Follow-up: If the candidate checks all or most of your boxes, reach out to schedule an in-person interview.
Improving your interviewing skills can take time, but the payoff is worth it.
Effective interviews = one step closer to hiring the right people.
Download our How to Conduct Phone Interviews Guide!
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