Once the applications start coming in, it can get a little overwhelming to call and rank the first round of candidates. But this is a critical first step to making sure you’re bringing in the right people for the in-person portion of the hiring process. With the right job profile, your eligible candidates should all seem positive at first glance, and the phone screening interview is a great way to make sure everything on the application lines up. This can be a great way to speed up the rest of the hiring process – by boosting the effectiveness of your phone interviews, you can be saving a ton of time in the assessment, interviewing, and selection stages. Here are the three steps to improving the structure of your phone screening interviews:
Step 1: Ask permission – This might not be a convenient time for your candidate to speak – perhaps they’re at work, where someone might overhear the conversation. So introduce yourself, state the purpose of the call and how much of their time you will need (10 to 15 minutes). Remember to reference the position and your company – this might not be the only job your candidate has applied to. If this isn’t a good time, make sure to schedule a time to call back. Remember, your best candidates will often be unavailable during business hours, since they likely already have a job that they’re committed to. Flexibility is key here!
Step 2: Clarify your job function qualities – Once you’ve determined that this is a good time to speak (or once you’ve called back at a better time), ask around 3-5 key questions to confirm that this individual possesses the hard skills and experience for the position. Remember – behavioural qualities are impossible to assess at this stage, so right now the focus should be on making sure they’ve got the hard skills you’re looking for.
Step 3: Conclude and schedule a follow-up – After a few questions, you should know if you’d like to bring this individual in for an interview, or if you wish to end the process here. If they’re a viable candidate, assess their interest and invite them in for an interview while clearly explaining the next steps in the process. Will you be sending them a McQuaig assessment? This is the time to tell them! If you have decided that they’re not a viable candidate, thank them for their time, explain that you’re screening a number of candidates, and let them know that you’ll be getting in touch with those who will be invited for an in-person interview by a particular date. If you promise that you’ll get back to all applicants, make sure to keep your promise! Alternatively, you can let them know that you only plan to contact successful candidates.
Read more: check out these 3 tips for writing better interview questions
Ensure you’ve written your 3-5 key questions ahead of time so your conversation is efficient and filled with information. What are you trying to learn during this call? Remember that the most important thing is to clarify any job related skills that you have questions about. By taking the time to make the phone screening interview worthwhile, you’ll be saving yourself hours – maybe days – down the road, and that can be a big relief as the stakes get higher throughout the hiring process.
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