Phone interviews are a valuable screening tool. That’s because they are inexpensive and easy to conduct, and are a great first step to help you sort through a list of job candidates. Still, you should follow several best practices to maximize your phone interviews and make them an efficient hiring tool. Here’s how.

Fill Your Funnel with the Most Qualified Candidates

You can speed up your interviewing process by narrowing down your choices to only the most qualified candidates. To do this, make sure your job description is specific and lists all job requirements, including education, past experience and vital skills. Organize these requirements from most important to least important. You may also wish to include salary range.

It can also help to work with a recruiter, as staffing firms have access to extensive databases of candidates. This can help you quickly locate highly qualified candidates.

Phone Interviews: Best Practices

Once you’ve found job candidates, a phone interview can help both you and your potential employees learn more. You’ll get to know them better, and they can learn more about the open position and whether or not they are interested. Follow these best practices for efficient phone interviews.

  1. Invite others to participate in the call.
    This can include the person who will be managing the candidate, peers or any others key players who will be interacting with the candidate on the job.
  2. Draft an agenda.
    This will help keep your phone interview on track and moving along. Remember to keep it quick: phone interviews should be no longer than 15–30 minutes long. A sample agenda could include the following:

    • Introduce yourself and others on the call
    • Thank the candidate for his or her time
    • Provide information about your company
    • Explain the job role and responsibilities
    • Ask the candidate to introduce him or herself, and give a brief overview
    • Give the candidate 5-10 minutes to ask questions
    • Close the interview and let the candidate know your plans for follow up
  3. Provide the agenda to the candidate ahead of time.
    Include a list of who will be on the call and what their role is within the company. This way, the candidate can be prepared with what information he or she will need to provide, which will help the phone interview to move along.
  4. Ask clarifying questions during the call.
    Since you can’t rely on body language, ask plenty of questions, such as, “Can you expand on that?”
  5. Speak as clearly as possible.
    Don’t get overly complicated in your communications during a phone interview. This can make things confusing for the candidate and can alter your results.
  6. Take plenty of notes during the call.
    Plan to review your notes soon after the call so you don’t forget your impressions or confuse candidates with each other.
  7. Review your notes with the other participants.
    Again, do this soon after the completion of the phone interview. It can help you to get a more complete view of the candidate.

Onward and Upward!

At the conclusion of the call, let the candidate know your timeline for follow up, next steps (such as in-person interviews) and by when you expect to fill the position. Remember to keep the phone interview to 30 minutes or less. All you need to gather is a first impression of the candidate and his or her fit for the job.

Find Best-Fit Job Candidates with Accountable Search.

To fill your funnel with qualified candidates, it can help to work with a staffing partner. The expert recruiters at Accountable Search can help you locate highly qualified finance and accounting professionals in the Chicago area. To learn more, contact the experienced recruiters at Accountable Search today.

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