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recruiter, phone interview

The Best Way To Interview Candidates Over The Phone

recruiter, phone interview

For many companies, the very first step in the hiring process is a phone interview. It’s a great way to narrow down your pool of candidates, to get to the handful of top contenders that you’d like to interview in person. However, when interviewing candidates remotely, it’s important to maximize the opportunity and get all the information you need. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you schedule your next phone interview!

Communicate details

Prior to a phone interview, communication is key. Make sure that the candidate knows who is calling who, the expected length of the interview, and if they should have anything special prepared.

If you have a recruiter or HR team coordinating the phone call, ensure they include your name, title, and contact information. This will ensure that the candidate has the opportunity to do their research ahead of the interview!

Plan ahead

Because phone interviews tend to be a truncated version of their in-person counterparts, you want to have a planned structure. Head into the meeting knowing what information is most important and what you’d like to take away from it. Then, plan your questions based on your ultimate objective. Of course, you can improvise throughout the interview, but having a list of topics to cover will guarantee that both you and the candidate walk away feeling accomplished.

Set the tone

Phone interviews can be nerve-wracking for candidates. As the interviewer, you are responsible for setting the tone of the interview. Host the phone interview in a quiet place with limited distractions. Always try to ease into the conversation with the usual small talk, allowing the candidate to get comfortable. That way, they’ll be able to open up as the interview goes on!

Follow up

After the interview, the candidate will (hopefully) send a thank-you note. This is the perfect opportunity for you to communicate the next steps. Regardless, it’s important that the candidate knows what to expect moving forward. And if you decide not to move the candidate to the next step, the sooner they know, the better!

phone interview

Phone Interview Tips You Can’t Ignore

phone interview

So, you finally decided to test the waters of today’s competitive job market. You’ve read the reports, there are more jobs than available people to fill them. You apply for a few jobs that piqued your interest and you finally get a phone interview scheduled. If it’s been a while since your last phone interview, here are a few tips to ensure you ace it and move onto the next round in the hiring process.

Remove all distractions

This may be obvious but remove all distractions from the room. Don’t just go in the other room. Try to go somewhere quiet where there will be no sudden barking from your furry friend or kids screaming in the background. Get your surroundings as quiet as possible. Turn of the tv, clear off any messes and eliminate anything else that could possibly distract you from your conversation.

And if you can, us a landline to ensure you have the best connection possible. If you don’t get great reception on your cell phone at home, go somewhere that does. The last thing you want is your call to drop in the middle of the interview.

Have a pen and paper handy

Make sure you have a pen and paper ready to take notes during your conversation. Jot down some thoughts during your call so you have talking points later in the hiring process. These notes may also come in handy when writing your thank you note after your phone call. And your next interview may not be for a couple of weeks, so don’t rely on your memory to remember everything you learned during your phone call.

Have a copy of your resume in front of you

It’s always a good idea to have a copy of your resume in front of you. Why? Because the hiring manager or HR professional will probably be asking you questions based on your resume. Even if you think you have it memorized, it’s best to have a copy of it at your disposal so you can refer it during your phone interview.

And if you’re in need of some tips for crafting a killer resume, here are a few to keep in mind.

Be humble

Always be polite, courteous, and humble throughout the phone interview. Employers aren’t just looking at your technical or hard skills; they’re looking for candidates that will be a good culture fit. If you’re rude or arrogant during your conversation, you’ll probably get passed on. Always be kind and be sure to thank whoever you are speaking to for the opportunity at the end of your conversation.

Follow up with a thank you note

Be sure to follow up your interview with a thank you note! Send a quick email to your interviewer shortly after your conversation. Thank them for their time and highlight something you enjoyed speaking with them about. Trust me, a thank you note will go a long way, even in this tight market.

phone interview

You Landed The Interview, Now What? – Part 1

phone interview

With 2018 being a strong candidate-driven market, you are getting more looks from the companies you are interested in. In our first edition of our “You Landed the Interview, Now What?” blog series, we highlighted the different types of job interviews.

The phone interview is an essential part of any recruiting process and is often overlooked. Let’s break down the phone interview to ensure you’re prepared.

Phone Interview with HR or Recruiter

If the call is with HR or a recruiter, this is where you need to know and understand the job description and your resume. You should pull up both on your tablet or laptop, so you can reference them during the conversation. HR is looking for two essential things.

First of all, they want to ensure you’re able to talk the talk and that your experience lives up to your resume and/or cover letter. Let me be clear: Don’t stretch the truth on your job application. This will come back to haunt you in the long run. Again, if you don’t have the exact experience they’re looking for, you need to have clear talking points as to why your skills and background have brought you to this point, as well as why your experience satisfies the hiring manager’s desired qualifications.

To address this, we recommend the three Ps of interviewing, especially if it is a stretch role. Those are practice, prepare and practice again!

Additionally, HR is looking to see if you are a good “cultural fit” with the company.

Generally, here are the questions HR wants to be answered during a phone interview to determine culture fit:

  • Does this person add value to the discussion?
  • Do they “smile” on the phone?
  • Are they enthusiastic?
  • Do they seem like a good fit for the organization?
  • Do they have awards or other skills that aren’t on the resume/CV that could add value to the organization?

Some companies look for candidates that vibe with their current employees and hold the same values and vision. Others are eager to embrace different skill sets and diversify their team. There are good arguments for both, and it really just depends on where the company and culture are at any given time.

Regardless, HR and recruiters are screening you to make sure you’re a good fit for the position and the company.

Phone Interview with Hiring Manager

If the call is with the hiring manager, you need to embrace the 3 P’s (which we discussed above) and do extensive research on the company, hiring manager, and even the team. Do your research on LinkedIn, (and no, it’s not “unprofessional” to look at their profiles) and search for common ground that can ultimately become talking points during your phone call.

Also, make sure to check out the company’s social media accounts. Corporate social media is a wonderful place to get a better feel for the company, check out any recent press releases, or even product launches. (This can also often give you a sneak peek into their company culture!) Remember, they will be doing the same with your social accounts. Do an online audit of yourself and make sure everything is professional.

Again, like with a phone call with HR or a recruiter, have any necessary documents you need in front of you to reference during the interview.

Above all else, be yourself and be confident in your skills. You got this!

So you landed an interview... Now what?

So, You Landed An Interview… Now What?

So you landed an interview... Now what?

First, congratulations are in order. It can be tough to get an interview! So what do you do now? Well, it depends on the type of interview that you get. Let’s look at a couple types of interviews and some things that can push you to the top of the candidates that are interviewing for the same role.

You get a phone screen with the recruiter/someone in HR:

  • This one is sometimes overlooked, but can be a quick deal breaker. You must do your due diligence on the company and the role.  This is where you want to make sure you know what the company does, goals, growth plans, recent mergers, relevant news on the company.
  • Study the role and the description. If this is a stretch role for you, you need to have talking points as to why it makes sense that you are qualified to take on this role.
  • If this is a growth role, you need to clearly articulate what you have done that brings you to the place you are today and why that experience makes you qualified for the role.
  • Have this info ready and at hand to reference on the phone.

Interview with the hiring manager (phone or in-person):

  • The same above applies, but you really need to add a couple things.
  • Research the hiring manager on LinkedIn or other publications that they are referenced in.
  • Note: You aren’t stalking them, you are looking for similarities. Did you attend the same university? Do you both enjoy hiking?
  • Even if you both volunteer with the Humane Society, you now have talking points of similarities that you can bring up during the small talk part of the interview, or you can bring those similarities up strategically when they ask you if you have questions. (Just be respectful with this information and be sure to mention where you saw it, e.x. LinkedIn profile)
  • If you are on the phone, have all this info pulled up in front of you so you can reference it quickly on your laptop/tablet.
  • In person, you need to make sure you have studied this info beforehand, so you can have it at the ready as you need the info.

Panel interview with hiring manager, peers, and other leaders:

  • Get the names of the people you will be interviewing with before so you can do the above quick research
  • During your interview, determine who is leading the interview and make sure you are keeping eye contact with them and engaging them in the interview.
  • Whatever you do, don’t answer one person’s question and be focusing on someone else. So, if a peer asks you a question, don’t focus on the hiring manager and engage with them in your response. (This says you don’t care much about the team.)
  • When it is time for you to ask them questions, you need to engage with everyone on the panel if possible. Granted, if you are in front of 10 people, that isn’t quite possible to ask each of them direct questions, but you can certainly try to keep as many of them engaged as possible.
  • You can ask a question of a group of them on the panel. Let’s say you have 3 peers and the hiring manager and his/her boss interviewing you. You can ask the peers a question, something like, “I know I will be working with the 3 of you, can you help me understand how you would like me to interact with you?” Or, “I would like to ask the 3 of you, how does the team interact and engage on a project together?” These allow them to decide who is going to talk and they can all chime in as they see fit.

Interview with a senior level executive who has to approve the hire:

  • Again, LinkedIn and google searching for this person.
  • This usually happens after some of the above interviews have already happened, so you should be doing quite a bit more research on the role and the company as a whole. Get more in-depth with every interview.
  • At this stage, you really need to have a good understanding of what the company is doing and where they are going. Vision, mission, and maybe even financials if they are public to give you an overall picture of how the company is doing. You also need to call in “favors” of those that you know that work there or know the person you are interviewing with.

Companies want to hire people that are passionate about the company and the role. So, if you want to make sure you are at the top of the candidate list for the job, prepare, prepare, prepare and practice.

Want more information on landing your next job? Check out my other blogs here.

How to Ace Your Phone Interview

How to Ace Your Phone Interview

How to Ace Your Phone Interview

Don’t let anyone tell you that a phone interview is basically the same thing as an in-person interview. They are so, so different and it’s important to change up your preparation to fit the situation. We put together our top tips for acing your phone interview, no matter the industry, level or location.

  1. Over prepare (and then prepare some more)

One of my favorite things about phone interviews is that they offer you a unique opportunity that you don’t have during an in-person interview – anonymity. It’s tough to go into an in-person interview with your laptop with the company’s website and social media pulled up, your detailed notes on popular interview questions, and a full set of background information on yourself from your transcripts to your project portfolio. However, during a phone interview, you’re able to have all of this in front of you (and more!)

I always liked to research some typical phone interview questions (or even company-specific industry questions on Glassdoor) and write my answers out. That way, when those questions came up, I could reference my notes and give a well-thought out, concise answer.

  1. Run a test

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, worse than not being able to hear someone during a phone call, let alone a phone interview. It’s awkward, unprofessional, and could ultimately ruin your chances of being hired (even if you’re a perfect fit!) There are many factors that affect how you sound over the phone including your environment, your phone, and elements that are out of your control.

I recommend running a test with a friend or family member prior to your phone interview. Set yourself up for the phone interview exactly how you plan to during the actual event, including your outfit, notes, computer, and exact location. Try every possible scenario including on speakerphone/off speakerphone, moving around, rustling papers, etc. Have your partner tell you if anything sounds off or is particularly distracting.

How to Ace Your Phone Interview

  1. Double-check the details

I can’t tell you how many times there have been phone interview mix-ups concerning time zones, this week vs. next week, and who’s calling who. Prior to your phone interview, make sure you confirm the exact day and time and how you and the interviewer will connect. It can be very difficult to come back from a missed interview, even if it was over a simple mistake.

  1. Get comfortable with silent moments

Phone interviews are often with a member of the HR team or someone else who isn’t the actual Hiring Manager. This means that whoever is conducting your phone interview will probably be taking copious notes to relay to the powers at be, resulting in some quiet moments while they write or type. DO NOT feel that you need to feel these empty spaces with additional explanations. Instead, take the opportunity to prepare for the next question.

  1. Don’t forget to ask about next steps

A phone interview is usually one of the first steps in the interview process. It’s completely appropriate and important to ask about next steps so you aren’t left wondering what you should do next!