Before You Hang Up Address The Interviewer By Name
Restating the interviewer’s name toward the end of your phone conversation reiterates personal attention and shows a sign of respect. Be sure to address the interviewer professionally with their designated title, such as Dr., Mrs. or Mr.
Example:“Thanks again, Dr. Seber, for taking the time to discuss the job with me.”
Example:“I appreciate your answering my questions, Mr. Taylor. Thank you again for connecting with me today.”
How To Conduct A Phone Screen Interview To Identify Top Talent
Youve taken the steps needed to gather a talent pool full of great candidates for your open position. Your job ads are well-written and laser-focused on your target market, and youre using the perfect recruitment sources for the position. As a result, you now have a giant list of highly qualified candidates to choose from. Now what? How do you start to sort through this embarrassment of riches? One great place to start is the good old phone screen interview.
Phone screen interviews are a tried and tested recruitment technique that is a great first step in parsing through your applicants to find the top candidates. But, like everything in recruitment, it needs to be done properly to get results.
In this article, well walk you through how to conduct a screening interview over the phone that will set you up for success, explain what happens after the phone interview, and provide examples of questions you should be asking candidates. But first, lets talk briefly about what a screening interview is, and what it is not.
Tips For Acing A Phone Interview
Follow these tips for a successful phone interview:
Create a checklist. Review the job posting and make a list of how your qualifications match the hiring criteria. Have the list available so you can glance at it during the interview.
Have your resume handy. Keep your resume in clear view so it’s at your fingertips when you need to answer questions.
Be prepared to take notes. Have a pen and paper handy for note taking.
Don’t get interrupted. Turn off call waiting so your call isn’t interrupted. Put your cellphone on “Do not disturb” so you won’t hear beeps or buzzes from apps, text messages, and so on.
Reschedule if you have to. If the call wasn’t scheduled, and isn’t at a convenient time, ask if you could talk at another time and suggest some alternatives.
Clear the room. Evict the kids and the pets. Turn off the stereo and the TV. Close the door.
Use a landline. If you have a landline, use that instead of your cellphone. That way, you’ll eliminate the possibility of poor reception or dropped calls.
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Be Aware Of Body Language
Nonverbal communication is important to keep in mind. When youre meeting people during the interview process, remember the attributes you want your body language to display. For example, if you want to communicate confidence, keep your shoulders back, chin raised and chest high. Keeping eye contact as you introduce yourself is another good practice, showing interviewers youre engaged in the conversation and capable of communicating well with your potential future colleagues.
Pro Tip: Unsure about how you may be presenting yourself during introductions? Try recruiting a friend or family member for a practice introducing yourself, including your dress, body language, even your handshake. The mirror is a great practice tool, too.
Youve likely met hundreds of people in your life, and a job interview involves much of the same etiquette you would use when meeting any new person. Your interviewers want to hire a great teammate just as much as you want to be on the teamwhich means they want you to succeed. When introducing yourself at your next interview, confidence, preparing ahead of time and a smile will go a long way.
Tips For Successful Phone Screen Interviews
Since you may not know when to expect the telephone interview, it is critical that you do not wait to prepare for the interview until you have the interview scheduled. You have to accomplish your goal selling yourself, your skills, your experience, and your value with only the words that come out of your mouth now.
You have just three assets for a phone screen your attitude, your voice, and your preparation! What can you do to have the best opportunity for success?
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Focus And Cut Out All Distractions
Make sure youre not distracted. Turn off the TV. Let me repeat that. TURN OFF THE TV.
Nobody wants to ask you about your past performances and work history and hear Sponge Bob in the background. Dont think putting it on mute is good enough either. People can tell if youre distracted and delaying your answers to a potential employer because youre reading the crawler at the bottom of FOX News isnt going to score you any points.
Get comfortable, but dont get too comfortable.
Find a good spot to sit down and have all your prep materials nearby for easy access.
Sit at the kitchen table or at a desk.
Dont lay down. Dont slouch. Make sure distractions are not going to be an issue.
If youre doing the interview at home and youre not alone, make sure everyone knows youre going to be busy for a bit and to give you some privacy. Put the dogs outside. Pop in a video for the kids. Have your spouse keep everyone calm. At the very least go into a room where you can shut the door and focus on the task at hand.
So, now that youre up and dressed, lets get ready for that interview!
First and foremost, make sure youre presenting yourself in the most professional way possible, from the very first Hello, all the way to the Goodbye.
Stay Up To Date With The Latest Employer Insights & Events
They may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but telephone interviews have a lot of advantages. They are fast, easy to arrange and arm you with just the right level of information to begin whittling down your applicants.
Of course phone interviews present challenges too. Mostly arising from the fact that you can’t see the person you are talking to. Here’s a primer on the kind of questions you should ask to get the best out of your phone interviews.
Keep things simple…
It’s important not to get carried away with telephone interviews. Remember they are intended as a screening measure to decide who to invite for a face-face interview. You don’t need your candidate’s entire life story. Simple questions are the best policy.
Candidates can often be nervous, which can make for an uncomfortable conversation where you fail to get the insight you need on your candidate. Put interviewees at ease by introducing yourself, explaining how long the interview will last and telling them how it will be structured.
What type of questions should you ask?
Remember to keep things simple. The lack of visual interaction means that phone interviews are not suited to complex questions that require lengthy answers. Of course, you want your candidates to be thorough with their answers – but don’t attempt to ask anything too brow-furrowing.
1. What made you apply for this position?
2. Screening questions
Are you willing to travel?
Do you have a clear driving license?
Do you have PRINCE2 certification?
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Set A Friendly Voicemail Message
Ideally youll actually pick up the phone when the interviewer calls. But in case you cant for whatever reason, youll want to make the best impression you can offlineand this means setting up a professional voicemail message.
Try something like: Hi, youve reached . Im sorry I missed your call. Please leave me a detailed message and Ill return your message as soon as possible. Thanks!
Your Resume Mentions That You Were Responsible For A 60% Increase In Sales At Your Last Company How Did You Achieve That
This is an example of a custom interview question. Like we mentioned above, its important to review the interviewees information and prepare a couple of questions that are completely unique to them. This allows you to gain a better understanding of their background, and fact check some of their statements.
If you would like to get help with the recruitment process and relieve your team of the initial hiring administrative tasks, such as conducting first-round phone interviews, we can help.
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S To Prepare For Phone Interview
Just like anything, adequate preparation makes everything ultimately easier. Here are some tips on how to prepare for a phone interviewer.
Curate a list of candidates to call. Before any interview takes place, you have to review each applicants resume and cover letter to decide which candidate best fits the position. If a candidate has the required experience, theyre added to the shortlist. If the candidate does not make the cut, it may be best to send them a rejection email.
Define your objectives. Different jobs have their specific needs, a particular criterion thats non-negotiable for the job. This should be the main focus of your phone interview. Do you need a candidate with mastery of WordPress? A candidate with a masters degree? A candidate thats willing to work remotely etc.?
Remember, its not the interview. You may get carried away and think this is the primary interview. It isnt. A phone interview is just a peripheral before the main course. Do not ask the candidate questions that should be asked in the main interview. This is only to determine if the candidate is suitable for the main interview.
Prepare For What You Need
If youre a compulsive list-maker, eat your heart out because this is your time to shine, baby! List everything that youll need during your interview slot:
- Your phone Make sure the phone is charged and have the charger handy just in case.
- A quiet place No bustling coffee shops or your kitchen when everyone is home for the day. Choose a quiet space that allows you to focus on the interview. Its also important in terms of professionalism. If youre in a chaotic environment, it might make your interviewer feel like you didnt prioritize the meeting enough for you to seek out a quiet spot.
- A notepad and pen Hopefully youre going to ask some questions, even if its just to build rapport with the interviewer. Keep those notes so you can do a follow-up, or better yet, provide feedback when you land the in-person interview.
- Your notes Having your notes on-hand is kind of like taking an open book exam. You dont get any award for not using notes! Youll know exactly what to do in a phone interview, which takes some pressure off the interview.
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Tip : Be Flexible With Scheduling The Phone Interview
When scheduling interviews, its best to ask the candidate for their availability first, and work around it. This could mean being available during the lunch hour, or outside of normal business hours. Your candidates are just as busy as you areif not more, because theyre juggling their current job with the job seeking process. Make it easy for them to schedule a time to chat.
Do You Have Any Questions For Me
This is crucial for any interview. Candidates should be allowed to ask questions. This way, they can decide for themselves if the company is the right fit for them. The kind of questions the candidate asks also gives you insight into what motivates the candidate.
It also tells you whether or not the candidate took the time to research your company. If they choose not to ask any questions, it may be a red flag.
After the phone interview, the next stage is to screen the candidates and decide who makes it to the next interview stage. Phone interviews usually last from 10-30 minutes. The interview is usually left for more in-depth technical questions. The questions in this article are interview standard questions that will make sure you hire the most competent candidate.
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Tip : Give Candidates The Opportunity To Ask Questions
Candidates are screening you just as much as you are screening them, and its in your best interest to ensure a mutual fit. Allow the candidate to ask their own questions throughout the phone interview, and leave time at the end of the call for anything else they would like to ask. You may even glean some additional information about the candidate from what they ask, so pay attention to the things theyre interested in speaking about.
Additional Tips For Phone Interview Success
- Make your answers detailed, but brief. The interview should be a 50/50 exchange.
- Smile on the phone. While the interviewer cant actually see you, smiling on the phone will make you sound warmer and friendlier.
- Keep your phone fully charged.
- Do not chew gum during the interview.
- Use headphones. It reduces background noise and will help the interviewer hear you better.
- Have a bottle of water nearby in case you need to clear your throat.
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Ask For The Appropriate Individual
If a receptionist does answer your call, ask for the appropriate individual after you introduce yourself. For example, ask for the interviewer using their first and last name. If the interviewer answers your call, use this step to ensure you are speaking with the correct individual. Here are two examples for each case:
Example:“Hello, I’m Gemma Rutherford, and I’m calling for a scheduled interview for the accounts payable clerical position. May I speak with Jackie Renshaw, please?”
Example:“Hi, this is Gemma Rutherford, and I’m calling for our scheduled phone interview today. Am I speaking with Jackie Renshaw?”
If You Were Hired How Soon Can You Start
Oh boy. If youre an out of area hire and are required to relocate, this answer is far from a simple one.
First off, dont ever answer with Now! Not only will you come off as desperate, but if youre already employed with another job, youre going to have to do the right thing and give notice.
Its easy to get intimidated and over-commit to an early start datebut the worst thing you can do is give a date to a new employer and then have to ask for more time. Not the right way to start out your long and mutually beneficial working relationship! Then you have to factor in the actual logistics of making a move.
Even one just across town can be as daunting as one across statesor in some cases, countries! Depending on the size of your move you could be looking at anything from a few days to a few months.
Again, be honest!
Many employers, if theyre genuinely interested in hiring you, will have programs in place to help you relocate and ease the burdens that come with a full move.
If they dont, make sure to take that into consideration as well. Words to the wisealways ask for MORE time than you initially think youll need. Trust us, in the long run, its far better to have more time than you need than to run out and have to ask for an extension.
One thing NOT to focus on during an initial phone interview is salaryat least not until youve had a chance to read our article When And How To Discuss Salary During The Job Interview Process.
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What To Expect In A Phone Interview
The last point is key. Its quite rare that you will get an offer of an in-person interview at the end of your phone call. But dont be discouraged!
The general practice is for the hiring manager to assess all of her phone interviews and create a short-list of candidates to be brought in for in-person interviews.
If youve followed our tips, youll surely be getting another call from her to be brought in.
OK, so how do you prepare for this bold new frontier of employment screening? Luckily almost all of the standard rules from in person interviews still apply, so the basic prep work is essentially the same but there are some tips specific to phone interviews than can really be of help:
Phone Interview Questions About You
- What are you looking for in your next job? What is important to you?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- What is your greatest strength?
- Describe a typical work week.
- How would you describe the pace at which you work?
- How do you handle stress and pressure?
- What motivates you?
- Questions about your career goals.
- What type of work environment do you prefer?
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Take Notes And Ask Questions
Take notes and ask questions during your phone interview. For instance, take notes on specific requirements for the job or additional resources to help you prepare for the role if the interviewer mentions them. Similarly, if something is unclear to you, ask the interviewer about it. You can add their clarification to your notes for later reference.
What Are Your Salary Expectations
Do NOT give a number here. If you say a number thats too high, youll scare them off. If you go too low, youll hurt your negotiating power later. Its a no-win situation for you.
Theyre not even sure they want to hire you or continue interviewing you yet, so you have no leverage. Theyre just gathering info that will help them.
The best strategy for this interview question is to tell them you dont have a number in mind yet. That way, they cant push you or pressure you with multiple questions.
Heres how to answer this question in a phone interview:
I dont have a specific number in mind. Right now Im focused on finding the position thats the best fit for my skills and my career. Once Ive done that, Im willing to consider any offer you feel is fair.
If they push back, just repeat, I really dont have a number in mind yet.
If you want more help, heres a full article on how to answer salary expectations questions.
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