How to Conduct a Phone Interview

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First thing first:

What is your main objective of the phone interview?  What are you aiming to achieve as a result of this call?

For me, I’m wanting to hear and feel the person as I’m talking to them.  I’m aiming to get an understanding of them, and what about this job grabbed their attention and held their interest.  Recruiting is selling after all, and those are the first two steps to a sale in any product or service.

Keep it simple when it comes to a phone interview.  This is usually my first contact with the candidate, so I’ll introduce myself and ask if they have time to talk if the time hasn’t been scheduled.

The most important first step, in my opinion, is to ask for their permission to ask a few questions.  No one likes it when you just take control.  Remember they are evaluating you as much as you are evaluating them.

My first question is usually

What is it about this role that grabbed your attention and held your interest enough for you to apply?

I’ll make a note of their response, and take the opportunity to explain how our recruitment system works.  How many interviews are usually involved?  When are we hoping to make a decision by?  I tell them if we use testing prior to hiring (drug tests, personality tests, psychometric tests etc) and if so when that may occur in the process.  This means that it’s important to have your plan laid out before you get to this stage so that you can then provide this information to each candidate.

I also like to ask them what they think their previous supervisors might say about them.  Its a tough question for most people to answer, and once they don’t expect.  Amongst other things, it gives me a glimpse into how they respond to a little bit of pressure.

The most important thing, in my opinion, is to have a plan, keep it simple, communicate the next steps and then make sure you keep your agreements.

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How to Conduct a Phone Interview

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