In-person interviews can be a significant time commitment, and sometimes you know right off the bat if a candidate isn’t a good fit, but still have to go through the process. Phone interviews are a way to perform the initial screening in a low-pressure manner without meeting in person until you know the candidate is worth pursuing. This doesn’t mean that phone interviews are a casual interaction – on the contrary, they actually require strategic planning to make the most of the limited time. Use these tips to conduct an effective phone interview.
Pick the Right Environment
Phone interviews are at risk of logistical distractions that don’t generally occur with face-to-face interviews. Before the interview, ensure you have a low-noise place in which to conduct it, as well as a reliable phone. If possible, opt for landlines for phone interviews to reduce the risk of poor reception.
Have Specific Criteria
Prepare for phone interviews by developing a clear and consistent list of minimum threshold requirements (i.e., the qualities needed to consider inviting them in for a face-to-face or video interview). Keeping the list of questions consistent for all candidates will allow you to compare candidates more accurately and determine which ones best meet the minimum requirements to go into a full interview at a later date.
A rule of thumb for conducting effective phone interviews: Maintain the same level of professionalism as you would if the candidate was right in front of you. Resist the urge to multitask while on a phone interview or you could miss out on key information, especially since the interaction is briefer and more removed than personal interviews.
Take Detailed Notes
The lack of face time with phone interviews means that your memories of the conversation may not be as vivid and easy to recall. Don’t risk forgetting candidates or getting them confused with one another afterwards. Make the interview as useful as possible by taking notes that are as close to verbatim as possible so you can refer back to them when it’s time to make your decision on who to move forward in the hiring process.
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