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With so much time spent on planning the face-to-face interview, it’s easy for a hiring manager to neglect other areas of the recruitment process. One area that is often neglected, the phone interview, is actually a rather important piece of any efficient and effective recruitment strategy. Ideally, the phone interview serves as a means of initiating contact with a candidate. Much quicker than traditional mail and more efficient than email, phone interviews are commonly used today as a form of prescreening candidates before inviting them in for a face-to-face interview.

Apart from its usefulness in helping to determine whether or not a candidate is the right for your company, a productive phone interview can help the applicant gain a better understanding about your organization’s day-to-day operations. Moreover, given the fact that a large-scale campaign of phone interviews can be quite expensive and time-consuming to conduct, it’s important to get it right. With that in mind, there are a number of steps one can take into create a productive phone interview.

1. Be Prepared

Make sure you, as an interviewer, are prepared to conduct the interview at hand. To this extent, you may want to double-check your own documents before making the phone call in the first place. This could include a list of potential job duties, some basic questions, personal notes and even the resume of the applicant in question.

You’ll also want to ensure that you are mentally prepared to conduct the interview. For starters, be prepared for any possible answer that may come from one of your questions. It’s easy to catch an applicant off guard, and doing so may result in an unexpected response. If this happens, it’s important to remain professional. The last thing you want to do is paint you or your company in a negative light.

2. Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

As any experienced hiring manager already knows, there is nothing worse than interviewing a candidate who is easily distracted, fidgety or otherwise uneasy. However, these same standards can be applied to the interviewer, as well. With that in mind, conduct any phone interviews from a calm and quiet location. If necessary, don’t be afraid to lock your office door when making such calls. Doing so can avoid help to any distractions before they even occur.

3. Provide a Timeline for Moving Forward

If the phone interview has been a success up to this point, or if an applicant specifically asks, you may want to consider providing them with a timeline concerning the immediate future. You can use this opportunity to provide an in-depth explanation of your overall hiring process, to specify any hiring deadlines and provide the candidate with an estimate for follow-up communications. Not only does this serve as a way of maintaining an applicant’s desire for the job at hand, it lets them know that you are interested in their professional profile.

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