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How to master telephone interviews

Written by Kimberley Startup | March 9, 2012 | 2 Comments

Hiring manager conducting telephone interviewWant to quickly assess the suitability of a pool of candidates? If so, as an employer, conducting an interview via telephone might be just what you need.

Telephone interviews are an excellent way to begin the recruitment process without investing too much time or money. A 10 minute discovery call can help you to identify strong candidates, assess communication skills and gain insight into their suitability for your business.

Here are some tips to help you prepare and conduct a successful phone interview:

Preparation: The first thing you should do after creating a list of potential employees to call is to write down the phone interview questions. Come up with a list of points you wish to ask the candidate to ascertain they meet the basic requirements, whilst outlining the sort of answers you expect in response.

It’s important to keep the call moving along and avoid any silent spots, as these can make you look less professional and break the flow of the call.

Applicant CVs: Keep a copy of the applicant’s CV close to hand in order to clarify information and use as a reference as needed when conducting the phone interview.

Know the role: Make sure you know the position you are looking to fill so that you can clearly communicate what it entails and are able to answer any questions as needed. Outline the structure of the department, general responsibilities of the position and the current status of the opening. Be prepared to explain your hiring process and what the applicant can expect.

Assess: It’s always harder to assess an applicant when you can’t see them face-to-face. In order to overcome this, evaluate the applicant’s experience by asking them how they see their skills fitting in and improving your business.  This will give you a feel for how they will manage in your work environment.

Make sure they’re committed: Make sure you gauge how serious the applicant is in securing the position. The last thing you want to do is waste your time. Follow your instincts and if the interview goes well, consider inviting the applicant to see you in person. However, don’t invite the caller in for the interview during the conversation; instead explain that you will be in contact soon upon completing all initial interviews.

Don’t forget to smile: Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, when you conduct a phone interview, stand up and smile: it makes your voice more pleasant. There are many advantages to a phone interview when you’re not face-to-face. You can walk, you don’t have to be as aware of your body language, and you can read from your notes if you run out of ideas.

In summary, here’s a quick checklist for interviewers to refer to when conducting the telephone interview:

 Provide the candidate with a brief introduction of yourself and your department
 Present a general overview of the career opportunity
 Take good, concise notes
 Listen to what the applicant says and how it is said
 Ask each candidate the same main questions
 Question inconsistencies in what the applicant says
 Take the time to answer the candidate’s questions
 Don’t make commitments you can’t keep
 Explain the rest of the selection process

No matter which side of the phone you are on, telephone interviews are always nerve wracking. For more information, the University of Kent’s guide provides further great insight.

Have you conducted a telephone interview? What tips do you have that you could share with us? Share your thoughts with us below.

2 thoughts on “How to master telephone interviews

  1. Pingback: 10 Quick Tips for SMEs Looking to Recruit | Online Recruitment Blog | Job Hunting & Recruitment Tips Tricks & News

  2. Pingback: How to conduct a group interview | Online Recruitment Blog | Job Hunting & Recruitment Tips Tricks & News

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