For Employers: 4 Ways to Maximize the Usefulness of Phone InterviewsMGR Accounting Recruiters in
While phone interviews certainly don’t give you as much insight into a candidate as an in-person interview, they can be excellent time-saving tools when used to determine whether a candidate’s qualifications merit scheduling a traditional face-to-face meeting. However, when done poorly phone interviews can cause you to miss a great candidate simply because the situation wasn’t conducive to having them perform at their best.
Below are four items you can do to get the most out of this time-saving technique:
- Impromptu vs. a scheduled time. Holding the phone interview immediately upon getting the candidate on the phone the first time is certainly an option, but in our experience it is more effective if you encourage the candidate to schedule a later time to hold the interview. Many applicants don’t want to be rude and will agree to talk at that moment even when it is not the most opportune time. Obviously if they are in the middle of something else or not in a quiet place, it is going to be more difficult for them to focus on the conversation. Allowing and even encouraging them to schedule a later conversation gives them the opportunity to be focused, and also makes it fair for you to expect more from them on the interview. It’s difficult to expect a candidate to be very polished when they have just left the grocery store or even if they have just left another interview. Giving them the opportunity to mentally prepare generally makes the interview more productive.
- Set questions. Using similar questions for each applicant helps you better compare and contrast candidates in phone interviews. Generally the conversation will lead to additional questions for each applicant, but if you have a set list of questions for every candidate then you will have a better idea at the end of the interviews which candidates rank highest.
- Take notes. Taking notes is important even in phone interviews. With notes you are able to go back and review the entire conversation instead of just the parts that happen to stick out. Without notes, it’s easy to find yourself leaning towards the candidates that were more charismatic on the phone and not necessarily the candidates that are the most skilled for the task. If charisma on the phone is an important trait for the job, then that may be fine. If it isn’t a top qualification though, then you risk missing candidates with a more appropriate skill set.
- Give the ‘benefit of the doubt’. Many candidates simply do better on in-person interviews than on phone interviews for one simple reason – they can see how they are doing. During an in-person interview, they can take non-verbal cues from the interviewer and are able to identify if they need to expand on a topic or be more concise. That is difficult on a phone interview. There again, this may be fine if the job involves a heavy amount of phone work, but if not, then judging a candidate merely on their performance on a phone interview may cause you to miss a great candidate. Giving the ‘benefit of the doubt’ may cause you to interview a few extra people face-to-face, but it also can save you from missing out on a great candidate.
These are just some ideas on how you can make the best out of phone interviews should you decide to utilize them in your next hiring process. They aren’t always the best tool, but for some positions they make a lot of sense.
I wish you the best in all your searches.