How to Conduct a Telephone Interview

If you are unsure about a candidate’s suitability for your company, or are curious to find out more about them, conducting an initial telephone interview can be highly beneficial. 

Conducting an initial telephone interview is a great way to quickly and cheaply screen a job applicant and add depth to their CV, as it gives candidates the opportunity to provide more information to you about their experience and achievements. From this, you can make a better decision about their suitability for your role and progress or halt the recruitment process based on more accurate information than prior.

It is recommended that telephone interviews should last around 30 minutes to give yourself time to ask all the relevant questions as well as (hopefully) enjoy an engaging conversation. Just like face-to-face or video interviews, it is good practice to research the candidate beforehand using their CV, cover letter or LinkedIn profile. It would also be useful to prepare a checklist of the questions you would like to ask to ensure that the discussion remains on topic and relevant.

Some questions you may want to consider asking include:

  1. What do you know about our company and what we do?
  2. What are your motivations for leaving your current role?
  3. What made you choose to apply for a role with our company?
  4. What experience do you have that will help you succeed in this role?
  5. What skills did you use in your last job?
  6. What are your salary expectations?

You should make notes throughout the interview and pay close attention to the candidate’s tone of voice. Since you are not able to assess the individual’s body language, it is important to look for other signals such as how comfortable they seem whilst giving their answers, their enthusiasm and their confidence. Asking the applicant at the end of the interview if they have any questions for yourself (or any concerns) will also reveal how serious they are about the job and provide an indication as to how to progress with their application.

Watch our video on the benefits of conducting video interviews

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