CT Staffing and Recruiting News

The latest advice and best practices in hiring and careers.

Upcoming Phone Interview in CT? Make your next one more effective with these tips

Unemployment is on the decline, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be inundated with resumes when hiring.

In fact, the screening process may take even longer now.  With fewer top candidates available, you may be forced to weed through an even larger number of applicants to identify those worthy of an interview.

In the initial phase of the recruiting process, phone interviews can greatly improve your efficiency.  Conducted properly, they can save you a lot of time and aggravation, by keeping you from spending days on in-person interviews with the wrong candidates.

As you prepare for a round of phone interviews with potential CT job candidates, use these ideas from A.R. Mazzotta to effectively narrow your talent pool – by eliminating anyone who isn’t the right fit:

  1. Don’t call everyone.  The phone interview is actually the second step in the screening process.  Before you pick up the phone, eliminate anyone whose resume is obviously not a good fit for the job.  Follow-up with those candidates via email or mail.
  2. Prepare a list of questions.  The questions you plan will obviously be driven by the position available; but no matter what type of job you’re hiring for, ask questions that help you determine:
    1. What the candidate is looking for in a job.  Ask: Why are you in the job market now?
    2. How interested the candidate is in the position (i.e., is he just looking for a “job,” or really interested in your opportunity?).  Ask: What can you tell me about our company?
    3. Why this candidate is worthy of an in-person interview.  Ask:  Why should I bring you in for an interview, over the other X candidates for this position?
    4. Whether or not the applicant has the required skills and experience for the job.  Ask the candidate to briefly review his resume and highlight how his qualifications align with the needs of the position.
    5. Where the candidate is headed in his career.  Ask: If you join our team, to what level will you take your job?
  3. Test your questions.  Ask co-workers holding similar positions to answer your proposed questions.  You may find out that some are too difficult or that some are better left for in-person interviews.  Taking the time to vet your questions will give you the confidence that if a candidate falters during the phone screen, it’s because he lacks a critical skill.
  4. Create a candidate scorecard.  Come up with a standard form you can use to rate each candidate’s technical competence, communication skills, experience and overall desirability.  Fill this out for each interviewee at the conclusion of his phone call.
  5. Know your candidate.  Before you pick up the phone, review the candidate’s resume and conduct a quick online search.  Use the information you learn to create a few applicant-specific questions that will verify some of the claims he makes on his resume.
  6. Start simple.  Your interviewee will likely be nervous.  Beginning with a simple, direct question will put the candidate at ease and help you quickly get down to work.
  7. Take notes during your call.  Before you know candidates well, it’s easy to get them confused.  Writing down your thoughts and impressions during your interviews will help you better communicate results with others and accurately recall your conversations.
  8. Keep it short.  A phone interview is a screening mechanism – a way for you to determine which candidates are worth bringing in for in-person interviews.  As such, limit the time you spend on each to 15 – 20 minutes.  To help you stick to this time limit, tell each candidate you only have 15 minutes to get through your questions.  See if he is succinct in his responses (and able to effectively respond to your questions), or has the tendency to ramble on and on.
  9. End on a positive note.  No matter how poorly a phone screen goes, keep your feedback and wrap-up generic.  Otherwise, you may find yourself spending extra time justifying your decision to each candidate.  End with a “thank you” and indicate that HR will follow-up with him on next steps shortly.

Don’t have time for phone screens?  Let A.R. Mazzotta handle them for you.  As a leading Connecticut employment agency, our experienced recruiters handle the time-consuming – yet critical – process of screening candidates.  Whether your needs are temporary or direct, we’ll only present candidates who are the right fit for your available opportunity.  Contact A.R. Mazzotta today to learn more.