Tips for conducting an effective telephone interview

Phone interviews are often nerve-wracking for both employers and candidates. Interviewers strain to detect vocal cues that may denote larger character traits, while respondents attempt to condense their professional experience and accomplishments into cohesive, memorable soundbites. While you may never be able to avoid some of the awkwardness that accompanies phone interviews, you can get more out of these interactions by following these guidelines:

Plan and prepare
Once you've agreed to speak with candidates provided by your executive recruiter, start preparing for the interviews. First, look over their resumes and pick out some peculiarities you want to know more about, the Society for Human Resource Management suggested. Additionally, look for skills that may help them succeed in the role to which they have applied. You will want to explore these competencies during your discussions and use them to shape the interactions. Of course, familiarize yourself with the job description so that you fully understand your search criteria. 

Always follow up with candidates - this will separate your from the pack.Always follow up with candidates – this will separate you from the pack.

Question and assess
When you have candidates on the phone, begin by confirming their current employment status. Then, move into the subject areas you pinpointed during your preparation session. As the conversation continues, take notes and listen for details that might warrant follow-up questions, SHRM recommended. After tackling the skills portion of conversation, move on to more general themes. Ask them why they are looking for new opportunities and discuss their cultural expectations. End the call by outlining the next steps of the hiring process. These interactions should last between 15 and 30 minutes.

Follow up
These days, hiring managers often neglect candidates after hanging up. Even those intent on organizing in-person interviews fail to follow up and leave job hunters hanging for days or even weeks. This approach dismays talent and gives them reason to second-guess potential employers. Don't sow seeds of doubt. Instead, send a message to your candidates and thank them for their time, Inc. advised. Additionally, summarize next steps and give them a sense of where they stand. This seemingly insignificant gesture will give you a leg up on competing companies.  

So, are you interested in scheduling phone interviews with C-level staff who have the executive experience to get the job done? A retained executive search firm like YES Partners can help! Our executive search consultants have access to talent C-level contributors who can grow your business. Contact us today!

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