Despite face-to-face meetings being the best way to interview candidates, more and more companies are using phone interviews to recruit new employees. This can be a matter of policy or convenience – for instance, a candidate is moving to a new city and is looking for a new job.
When interviewing over the phone, you need to be shrewd, as candidates will have the upper hand; you will not be able to judge their physical reactions, body language, appearance, etc.
If you’re partnered with a quality recruitment agency, you can be sure that the candidates put forward have already been thoroughly screened, so you needn’t worry about making a bad hire. If you’re yet to partner with a recruitment agency, you’re missing out. We offer the entire recruitment service, from sourcing to short-listing, all for a low-cost fixed rate. Our screening process starts with CVs, which are read by real people, not automated systems. We then follow up suitable applicants for further questioning, in line with the job vacancy and personality fit.
Here are the essential tips for conducting telephone interviews.
Prepare a checklist
As with conducting any interview, you can reduce the need for second interviews or follow ups by properly preparing ahead of time. As you’re on the telephone, use whatever tools work for you to ensure nothing is forgotten – notes, laptop, etc.
Research as much as you can about the candidate. Read the CV and covering letter and devise questions based on their experience, goals and expectations.
Use curveball questions
You should do this in a face-to-face meeting, but it is especially important for a telephone interview. When you can’t see a person’s behaviour and facial expressions, you need to use every method to test them, so don’t rely on everyday questions that candidates expect to be asked.
This isn’t a way to catch candidates out, but rather see how they perform when caught off guard. These are the types of questions you should prepare for:
Cultural fit questions: you want to find out why the candidate is interested in working with your company, as well as what they can bring to the table that other people can’t.
Personal questions: prepare questions about the candidate, their personal values and career objectives. It is not rare to discuss a candidate’s weaknesses, as well as their strengths, which many are happy to discuss readily and happily.
Background questions: it is important to ask candidates about their last jobs and why they left or were terminated. If there are employments gaps, find out why and what the candidates were doing with their time.
Prepare for the worst
You want to make sure that landlines are used to conduct telephone interviews. Mobile phones, though reliable, are not infallible. Landlines reduce the risk of dropped calls and bad signals.
Preparing for a telephone interview isn’t brain surgery, but some diligent planning will help to overcome the limitations of not speaking to a candidate face-to-face.