Whether you’re hiring an executive assistant or HR staff, there are many different types of interviews you will encounter – panel, face-to-face, video, competency, technical… the list goes on! Each of these have their time and place depending on a variety of factors. Similarly, there are situations where conducting a phone interview is definitely the best approach to take. This is likely to be in the beginning stages of the interview process, where employers are looking to screen a larger number of candidates by asking them a few key questions.

If you choose to start the process with a phone interview, it’s essential to prepare in order to get the best out of the experience. Find our telephone interview tips below!

How to conduct a telephonic interview

Consider this a ‘pre-interview’ screening call

Instead of thinking of this call as an interview, consider it as part of the screening/’pre-interview’ process. This will allow you to focus on a few important questions without trying to cover too much information all at once. Choose your questions carefully, as the answers you’re given should be able to dictate whether or not you continue with the interview process.

Focus your questions

If you’re not sure what questions to ask in a phone interview, the key is to prepare no more than five, focused questions which hone in on technical skills and experience. By asking a candidate these questions, you’re able to learn whether they’re qualified for the role quickly and efficiently. As a screening call is one dimensional, you’ll find yourself concentrating on how the interviewee answers questions much more than you might in a face-to-face meeting. For example, are they answering in a concise, confident way? Are they giving good examples?

At the end of the day, your gut feeling about the way the conversation flowed and their manner of communication will be a good indicator as to whether you’d like them to continue with the process.

It’s not all about their answers

While their answers to your questions are obviously important, make sure to look at the experience as a whole. If you called the candidate at a scheduled time and they didn’t answer the phone (or they were late calling you), they may have an issue with time management or prioritisation. During the call, how was their phone manner? Were they enthusiastic to be talking to you, or did they seem distracted or bored? The answers to these questions may give you an indication of their interest and dedication to the process.

Keep your options open

At the end of your call, there is no need to commit yourself to continuing with the interview process. Instead, thank them for their time and let them know when you’re expecting to be in touch. Once you’ve put the phone down, take the time to think about how the interview went and how they compare to the other calls you’re making. Remember, if you’re unsure, you can always ask them to continue the process just to see how they perform in another environment. It’s better to do this then lose your chance with a dream candidate!

On the hunt for new permanent or temporary staff? The Tiger team can help organise telephone interviews as a pre-screening initiative. Get in touch today.

Looking to find out more about hiring? Our comprehensive interview guide for employers covers best practice on many steps throughout the interview process.

Author David Morel Tiger Recruitment Team