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8 Tips for Conducting a Phone Interview On a Conference Call

8 Tips for Conducting a Phone Interview On a Conference Call

When businesses are looking to hire a new employee, each vacant position attracts roughly 250 candidates. While most people won't make it to the interviewing process, there can still be a lot of people to meet.

Conducting a phone interview is beneficial for businesses and applicants. This process can save both parties plenty of time, money, and stress. Since most calls typically last no longer than 20 minutes, companies can speak to all potential employees within a few hours.

Learning how to conduct a phone interview requires different skills than an in-person interview. This article is going to walk you through 8 tips that will help you conduct the best phone interviews.

1. Prepare Phone Interview Questions

Taking the time to brainstorm some questions and write them down before the interview can prevent any stumbling. Keeping this list in front of you to reference during the call can help you remain calm and confident. If you ever find that there's a lull in the conversation, you can move on to the next question.

Some common phone interview questions for employers are as follows:

  1. Can you tell me about yourself?
  2. Why are you interested in this job?
  3. Can you tell me about your biggest accomplishment?
  4. How do you handle problems in the workplace?
  5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  6. Do you have any questions for me?
  7. When can you start working?

These questions are general, but they can be helpful for screening a large pool of candidates.

2. Reference Their Resume

Now that you have a list of general questions that you can ask each candidate, you should review their resume right before the call so you know who you're talking to. You can make highlights on specific skills or experiences that are relevant to the job.

These highlights can be a visual reminder for you to ask them to elaborate on what they've learned from previous jobs.

In order to weed out resume padders, it's always great to ask individual questions about work experience. A great question to ask is what skills can they bring to this job or what things have they learned from previous jobs.

3. Record the Call

Recording the call is always a great idea. When you interview a lot of people, details can get muddy. If you have recordings of each conversation, you can reference their answers to compare and contrast people's strengths and weaknesses.

4. Pay Attention to Tone

One downside to phone interviews is that you can't pick up on someone's body language. However, you can still tell a lot about a person by the tone of their voice.

Although interviews make everyone nervous, is the candidate confident in selling their abilities to you? Do they sound genuine?

People who speak calmly and clearly usually fare better than people who can't be heard. This job likely comes with some stressors. If a person can't handle the stress of the interview, they might not be confident enough to handle the job.

5. Don't Be Afraid of Silence

Interviewers and interviewees can both agree that the process is awkward. However, both parties have to try their best to stay collected.

After you ask questions, be sure to give your candidate some time to think carefully before answering. If they pause in the middle of an answer, don't cut them off. Remember that a little bit of silence can lead to a composed and thoughtful answer.

Make sure that your candidate feels like they have enough time to fully answer each question. Rambling for 5 minutes on each question isn't appropriate, but speaking for a full minute with a few pauses can get you great insight.

As the interviewer, don't feel strange about silence either. Make sure you have enough time to sort your thoughts and conduct a smooth interview. If you need a minute to take notes or find something on their resume, you can inform them that you need a few seconds to get organized.

6. Take Notes While Conducting a Phone Interview

Even if you record the interview, taking notes can help you stay focused on the conversation. When you're not face to face with someone, it's easy to let your mind wander. When you're writing details down, you're actively assessing each candidate.

Sitting through each recording can also take a long time. If you take a few crucial notes on each person's strengths and weaknesses, that can save you a couple of hours.

Once you narrow the pool down to a handful of people, you can sit through just a few recordings instead of a dozen.

7. Practice Proper Phone Etiquette

Knowing how to start a phone interview can be challenging for anyone. Both parties are uncomfortable because of the tension. Remember that each candidate is a person and you should treat them as such.

Always start with polite small talk by asking them how they're doing and if they're ready to start the interview.

Be sure to find a quiet space with minimal distractions. If the candidate hears a lot going on in the background or they can sense that you're not paying attention, you can lose a potential employee.

Remember not to talk for too long unless they have a lot of questions about the company or job.

8. Ask Follow Up Questions

If you can sense that a candidate is not the right fit during your call, you can stick to asking a handful of general questions and politely end the call.

For candidates who have the most potential, you should try to get as much useful information from them as possible. If one of their answers really interests you, don't be afraid to ask them to elaborate.

Having a list of prepared questions can help guide you through the conversation. However, you don't have to stick to the list. If you delve deeply into a side conversation, that's okay. This can mean that there is a good chemistry between you two, which is also important in company and employee satisfaction.

How to Make the Best Conference Call

Now that you know the best tips for conducting a phone interview, you're one step closer to finding your dream employees. Using the most up-to-date technology can make your phone interviews and other business calls even easier.

If you want to learn how Conference Town can revolutionize the way you conduct business, check out our features.


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