Phone Interview Questions To Ask Your Top Job Candidates
As a hiring manager, you know what a good resume and cover letter look like. You also know that despite their promises, they might fail to deliver the candidate you need. The phone interview questions you ask during this first round of vetting will be a critical piece of winnowing the field and making a successful hire.
Time always matters, so you should be both efficient and strategic during this initial call. Questions for a screening interview will touch on whether a candidate’s hard skills, experience, education and certifications are right for the open position. But as you check off the boxes, follow these phone interview tips to pay attention to soft skills and how the candidate presents during the call. At the end of a phone screen interview, you want to be confident a candidate can do the job and also mesh well with your organizational culture.
Open-ended, in-depth questions arent necessary at this stage of the hiring process. A screening interview is typically a 15- to 30-minute phone call. Your objective here is to narrow your list of top candidates to the handful you want to consider for formal interviews. Thats when you can go deep.
Read on for some phone interview questions to ask during this first call, tips for what to look for including red flags and what comes after.
What To Know Before Rescheduling Your Interview
We all know how hard it can be to find a job. Simply getting an interview for your ideal career is exponentially difficult. If youre one of the lucky ones, you applied for the right position, successfully made it through the screenings, and have now landed the all-important interview. But then, life throws a curveball at you and a critical conflict arises, leaving you wondering should I reschedule my interview? Its a tough decision, and one we cant make for you, but we have some helpful factors for you to consider before making your final decision.
Another red flag in the minds of these leaders is the possibility you lack sound problem-solving skills. Conflicts and unexpected circumstances arise in all aspects of life after all, change is inevitable, right? As you are being considered as a future employee, rescheduling could bring up the following questions:
- Will personal matters consistently override work priorities?
- From a workflow perspective, will situations, issues and surprises interrupt your day-to-day work?
- Will you be able to effectively manage conflicts, re-prioritize and tackle these issues, and then get back on track with your work?
Of course, as mentioned earlier, life happens and if you find yourself in a completely unavoidable situation, make the call. Youre working with people in this process who will understand if your reason is valid. Should you need to reschedule, keep the following in mind:
What Is An Interview Request Email
Recruiters usually send an email to applicants after reviewing resumes and deciding to interview a handful of candidates. If you pass the initial resume review, youll be invited to interview. Sometimes hiring managers will directly call you if your phone number is on your resume or application, but most times, theyll send a short email inviting you to interview.
These emails are informal, but theyre the first contact youll have with the company. Its important to understand what theyre asking and sending back an appropriate response.
Invitations to interview usually include:
Clarification of the role you applied for.
Proposed interview dates and times.
Questions about when youre free to interview.
Location or method of the interview .
Requests for extra documents
Name or position of the person who will be interviewing you.
The most important thing to do when you receive an interview invitation email is to read the email a few times, so you dont miss any crucial details. You want to make sure your response fulfills all their requests, so reading over the email a few times will help you get everything over to the person youre emailing.
How To Respond To An Interview Request
Scott SingerPresident, Insider Career Strategies
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Email Sample : Responding To And Accepting A Face
Next, if youve been invited to meet in person, you can use this template to set up a day and finalize everything!
Thank you for getting back to me. Id love to come in and have the interview. Is this a full-day interview? Or how many hours should I set aside?
Im available Monday Thursday, 7:00 am 2:00 pm Central Time.
Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Best regards, Your name
This is a basic structure for responding to the company, but you can also add other details/questions as needed. For example, if you want to ask for the names of the people youll be meeting with, or the number of people youll be meeting, thats a good idea. If you need help finding the company location for a face-to-face interview, you can ask if they have instructions for arriving, too.
However, I like to get the scheduling sorted out first, and then ask other questions. Thats why I kept the email template above dead-simple. Take it one step at a time, and youll avoid confusion and complicated emails.
So Id recommend using the sample email above, and then ask further questions once a day and time is set!
Template Vii To Reply An Interview Email Confirming Time Schedule
I write to acknowledge your invitation for an interview with me. I applied for the post of the radiologist in your diagnostic institute. I am exceedingly grateful for this opportunity. Nonetheless, the time and date for the interview states tomorrow by 9:00 am in your facility, but I happen to be outside the state at the moment to visit my mother who just got hospitalised.
I have booked the only available flight back, but expected time of arrival is 9:15 am and another 20-minute drive to your institute. If it pleases you, I will appreciate if the interview holds by 10:00 a.m.I do understand that time is of the essence and there are other applicants available to be interviewed, but I hope you consider my plight.
I await your decision.
Thank you in anticipation for a positive response.
Yours faithfully,Mr. Ryan Petrelli
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Smart Questions To Ask When Scheduling Your Interviews
- Post author
The call when the interview is scheduled provides a great opportunity to collect information.
The more you know, the better you can prepare, and the better prepared you are, the more likely you are to succeed.
Collect information about the people, process, and logistics before the interview to arrive at the right place and time.
Typically, recruiters schedule interviews over the phone, but whether the interview is set up over the phone or via email, dont be afraid to ask for this information.
When To Send The Email
Ideally, you’ll send this email soon after the notice of the interview.
Here’s one exception to sending an interview acceptance email: When you receive notice of an interview, hiring managers might mention that they plan to send a confirmation email to you. If that’s the case, wait for the email to arrive. If you don’t receive a confirmation message within a day or two, follow up with the hiring manager to confirm.
There is no need for you to send an email if the hiring manager plans to do so.
When you get an email from an employer confirming an interview, you can simply respond by saying that you are looking forward to meeting with them and appreciate the opportunity.
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How Would You Handle A Client Who Insists You Gave Them Incorrect Information About Their Appointment
A scheduler must be accurate, concise, and pleasant when dealing with clients. The goal of the question is to evaluate the candidate’s response to an upset client, their ability to handle conflict and to provide a resolution. What to look for in an answer:
- Ability to self-regulate emotions and stay calm in a stressful situation
- Communication skills to ask questions and provide detailed information concisely
- Interest in providing a positive experience to all clients
“If a client insisted I gave them incorrect information about their appointment, I’d start by apologizing to defuse the situation. I would then ask questions about the appointment and look into it further for them at that moment. I would then…”
Request To Reschedule An Interview Example
Subject: Your Name – Rescheduling Interview Question
Dear Ms. Calibran,
Would it be possible to reschedule the interview we had scheduled for the social media assistant on August 17th at 10 am? Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend at that time. However, I would very much appreciate the opportunity to talk to you about the position.
I’m available on any other day and time this week, whenever it is most convenient for you.
Thank you very much for your consideration.
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Be Patient After This
If you still havent gotten a response at that point, Id be patient. Theres a chance that an important person in the hiring process is on vacation, or that the person youve been emailing is extremely busy, sick, etc.
So I recommend waiting a minimum of 48-72 hours at this point, and in some cases, a full week is better to wait.
Sending another follow-up sooner than this wont help you get the job. So try to focus on other tasks in your job search while waiting to ask for an update again.
Once you do feel its time to take things further, heres who to email and how to write the email
Pick the next logical person in the company to email.
For example, if you were emailing an HR person before, try the hiring manager or somebody in the department youve been talking to in your job interviews. Or vice versa if youve emailed the hiring manager multiple times with no response, then try checking in with HR, a recruiter, or another relevant contact within the company.
Since this is a brand-new email thread, youll need to write a subject line. I recommend keeping it simple and using one of the example subject lines that I shared earlier in this article.
Tips For Scheduling Interviews With Candidates
- The Checkster Staff
In todays competitive recruiting environment, candidates are savvy, resourceful and in high demand. A critical step to ensuring you secure the best candidates in the market is to properly schedule interviews with them and do so in a timely manner.
These days its all about the candidate experience. Candidates are more likely to respect and consider joining your company if their interview experience is smooth, offering good communication and accurately set expectations throughout the process. Many a candidate has been lost due to gaps in scheduling or miscommunications.The faster and more structured your interview process, the better your odds of landing that perfect new hire.
Here are some best practices to follow for scheduling interviews with candidates:
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Email Sample : Responding To Accept A Phone Interview Request
If youve applied for a job and the hiring manager or HR department has responded to your job application and invited you for a phone interview, heres a sample template you can use to respond.
Thanks for getting back to me. Id love to have a phone interview and learn more about the position and what youre looking for.
Here is my availability this week:
- Tuesday Wednesday, 11:00 am 5:00 pm Eastern Time
- Thursday Friday, 8:00 am 3:00 pm Eastern Time
The best number to reach me: 555-182-5872
If none of these times work, please let me know and Ill be happy to come up with some other options, too. I look forward to speaking with you.
Also, if youre able to tell me who will be calling, thatd be a big help. I always like to research and prepare ahead of time!
Best regards, Your Name
This is a great way of responding to an interview request because youre avoiding back-and-forth emails for the scheduling, and youre also finding out the person youll be talking to so you can prepare ahead of time!
Employed Be Very Careful
If you currently employed, protect your job by not doing anything related to your job search while you are at work. Phone calls may be overheard and emails or other messages may be read.
If your employer discovers you are job hunting, you may lose your job or, at a minimum, have a very unpleasant discussion with your boss.
Use your personal cellphone and step away from your work if you make a call to ask the questions below to setup an interview . Or, use your non-work email account if you send these questions using email.
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What To Say When You Arrive At The Interview
Whats the best way to introduce yourself at a job interview? How can you start off an interview making the best possible impression? First, impressions can play a major role in how an employer perceives you as a candidate. What you say during the first phase of the interview may make a big difference in the outcome in a good way or in a bad way. You dont want to come across as awkward and lacking in social skills. Rather, youll want to show that you have the professionalism and communication skills to find success in the new job, if you were to be hired.
Some hiring managers may even make a decision to reject a candidate based on what they didnt do when they met them. For instance, if you have a tendency to be late or to check your phone frequently, youll want to curb those habits before a job interview. The hiring manager may perceive your behavior as an inability to make a commitment and follow through not qualities that will endear you to a prospective employer. Little things make a big difference at this stage of a job search. Thats why its important to pay attention to interview manners and to carefully think through how you will introduce yourself during the job interview.
Review these simple steps for introducing yourself, with examples of what to do and what to say to everyone you meet during the hiring process, so you can make a positive impression.
Keep Your Introduction Short And Concise
Youll have an opportunity to introduce yourself on an in-depth basis during the interview. Many hiring managers will start an interview with an open-ended question like Tell me about yourself. The core of your response should focus on the key elements in your background which will enable you to excel in the job for which you are interviewing. Create an elevator pitch and practice it, so youre comfortable describing yourself.
You should carefully analyze the job before the interview, so you can point out the interests, skills, experiences, and personal qualities that will enable you to meet or exceed the requirements.
Tip: Review answers to tell me about yourself questions. Learn the best ways to highlight your skills, experience, and personality without engaging in sharing too much information or taking up too much precious interview time.
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Reasons Why To Reschedule An Interview
Rescheduling is possible when you have a solid reason to change the date or the time of an interview. Be sure, when you state a hungover, broken alarm clock, or a bad memory as the reason you need to reschedule a job interview, you would be denied. There are definite situations that may require a job interview rescheduling, which are the following:
- Problems with Your Health
- Serious Work Responsibilities
- Family or Personal Emergency.
There is no doubt that your health is important, as same as some family matters. However, be aware of the fact that only critical health problems count, thus, when you have a simple migraine, you must attend an interview for sure. In a case with work responsibilities, it can happen when you need to deal with your work obligations on a previous job while looking for a new one. It also can happen when you still remain an employee of a certain company, but want to get another job position. An interviewer can excuse such family emergency like a death in the family or kids serious trauma. If you face another family matter that can wait, let it wait.
When Should You Automate Interview Scheduling For Your Company
Automating your interview scheduling process becomes necessary, particularly when you notice the following patterns in your hiring process:
- A lot of time is spent on finding the right time slot for the interview due to unavailability of the interviewers, or the candidates.
- Recruiters are finding it difficult to standardize and collect feedback from each panel member.
- Candidates are dropping out in the middle of the hiring process because your are unable to update them of the interview results on time.
- The time-to-hire for an open role is more than the industry average.
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Template Vi To Reply An Interview Email Confirming Time Schedule
Dear Mrs. Florence Elli,
Your reply to my application for the post of a marketer with Instafoods was well received. Your email stated you will contact me shortly to inform of the time and venue for my interview. I wait earnestly for your email.
Also, your email included some concerns as regards relocating. I am fully aware of the challenges of marketing and want you to know I love traveling and going to new places. So, moving to another state poses no inconvenience in any way.
I look forward to discussing some marketing strategies and plans with your team.
Thank you for the consideration.