Telephone interview advice
Often the first stage of the recruitment process, a telephone interview is a really useful way to assess some of your candidate’s key skills and motivations. This can be especially beneficial if your candidates are not within an easy commuting distance of your location.
If you decide to conduct telephone interviews, then there are certain things you need to consider.
Do your research before your telephone interview
What information do you require from the candidate to progress their application? How will you structure the interview to find this? You need to consider these before you start. Creating your questions around the essential topics will help the telephone interview to flow, and will enable the candidate to provide you with relevant information.
When it comes to the interview itself, make sure you treat it as you would a conventional face-to-face meeting. Have your candidate’s CV and contact details ready before you call – and make sure you make a note of any questions you want to ask. You should also make sure you’ve booked out a private, quiet space so you can give the candidate your full attention. Remember you’re being assessed too; it almost goes without saying that you should ring on time, or keep them informed on the rare occasions where this isn’t possible.
Put the candidate at ease.
Whilst this is still part of the formal recruitment process, it’s a good idea to open in a warm manner. Some of the very best candidates can struggle with interviews; if they are high performers, they may not have had much interview experience. So if you open proceedings by showing some personality and not being overly corporate, you can expect more of the information you want. You should also be mindful that you don’t want to be speaking too much; once you’ve settled them in, the candidate should be doing most of the talking.
Remember that you want your preferred candidate to work for you. The best way to inspire this is NOT by badmouthing their current employer, but by pointing out your positive attributes such as your successes and growth. It’s also worth mentioning potential motivations, such as career advancement options, so your candidates are aware of their options. At the same time though, it’s wise to avoid asking too much about money at this stage. Of course you want to ensure that their expectations roughly match yours, but at this initial stage it’s better to focus on the role and the business. If you and the candidate are both interested, you will have the opportunity to ask this later.
If you’re interviewing via video over Skype, Facetime or ODRO
When conducting a face-to-face distance interview you ought to apply the same rules as above. In addition, make sure you check your internet connection in advance. You don’t want a broken video interview because of a weak or slow connection.
You should also make sure you’re in a suitable location, not only in terms of noise but also in appearance. The candidate should have the best impression of your practice, so don’t sit in a chaotic or cluttered environment. Ultimately you want your candidate to focus and you and your interview, not what’s behind you on their screen!