Conducting an Effective Phone Interview

When filling a position at your company, it is imperative that you use all the resources at your disposal to ensure you pinpoint the most qualified applicant. A simple tool to help focus your applicant pool is a short phone interview. By properly conducting a phone interview, you can save valuable time and resources and reserve in-person interviews for the most serious and impressive candidates. Below are a few tips for an effective phone interview:

Be Consistent

To make sure you have clear standards for identifying the best candidates, you’ll want to be consistent in both the amount of time and the questions you ask during each phone interview. Schedule your calls so that each interview will be of roughly the same length, usually 15-20 minutes. Also, have a script ready beforehand with questions tailored to the position you are filling. Asking consistent questions of each candidate will allow for fair and clear comparison of responses.

Take Notes

When interviewing each candidate, it will be helpful to have resumes or relevant documentation on hand to guide the interview. The interviewer may also want to take notes during the conversation regarding first impressions and subtle information that may be difficult to recall later. Was the applicant clear and enthusiastic or did they seem hesitant and distracted? Were they reluctant to discuss certain topics? Take down both positive and negative observations that will help guide your decisions later.

Be Thorough

The more thorough and focused the interview is, the better position you are in to select the most qualified candidates. Less qualified or interested candidates may seem hesitant, irritated, or have trouble answering questions as the interview proceeds. Ask direct questions about the applicant’s work history, career experiences and goals, and ask them to describe the skills and qualities they will bring as a part of your team. Finally, look for positive attitude and enthusiasm—these qualities are essential for long-term viability.

A simple phone screening will help you devote valuable resources to only the most viable candidates—and keep you competitive in today’s market.

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