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Conducting Phone Interviews Effectively
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Conducting Phone Interviews Effectively

When we think about job interviews, more often than not we think about the candidates and how well they fit the job criteria and the person specification. However, just as candidates should prepare meticulously for job interviews, interviewers should do exactly the same. Conducting phone interviews bring slightly different challenges from interviewing people face to face. If you’re conducting face to face interviews depending on the size of the organisation, there may well be someone from an HR (Human Resources) department that gets everything ready for you. But the chances are if you’re conducting phone interviews, you will have to make the preparations yourself.

Here are my tips for conducting phone interviews effectively.

1. Be prepared. Make sure you have re-read any information you have on the candidate, and ensure that you have paper and more than one pen to record answers. Have a glass of water available to keep your voice hydrated.

2. Avoid distractions. Turn off all electronic devices. Unplug landlines (if you just take them off the hook they can start to buzz). Put a do not disturb notice on the outside of the door.

3. Check timings. Check that you are aware of the timings for each question. It is your responsibility to ensure that the interview is conducted in the allotted time and make sure that each candidate has an equal chance to answer all the questions.

4. Have a clock/watch visible on the desk, so you can keep track of the time. If you’re not used to conducting phone interviews, timing can be a real pitfall.

5. Sound welcoming and smile when you ring the candidate. They may not be able to see you, but they need to feel that you’re pleased to talk to them.

6. Before you start the actually interview, check that the candidate can hear you very clearly. Remember, a candidate may not want to say so and appear rude. It’s far harder when they can’t see you.

7. Tell the candidate how the interview will be run. Tell them how long the interview will be, whether you’re going to use follow up questions and when they’ll have the opportunity to ask questions. Remind them how long the interview will be and if you intend to do so, tell them you will interrupt them if you need to move the interview on.

8. Give the candidate time to think. This is one of the hardest things to judge when you’re conducting phone interviews. When you’re face to face, you can see someone thinking about an answer. On the phone you can’t. Give them time to think, but if you’re going to have to move on, warn them.

9. Speak at a measured pace. Remember to speak at a slightly slower speed than you would when talking normally. At this point you are not different from the candidate You want to make sure that you breathe properly so that you voice is not lost when conducting the interview.

10. Close the interview properly. Thank the candidate for their time and tell them when they can expect to hear from the organisation.

The key to conducting phone interviews effectively is just the same as it is for a successful job applicant. Preparation, preparation, preparation.


Street Talk

Kyle  

As an employer I can safely say that phone interviews are one of least desirable aspects of owning a business...living in a remote and global world, phone interview skills are becoming far more popular and being prepared for these as your article outlines can make all the difference in the world.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
  

Thanks Kyle. You're right, I think anyone involved in recruiting need to be aware of the importance of phone interview skills in a global market place.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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