Phone Interview Tips for Hiring Managers

By The Pachera Group

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What do hiring managers hope to get from a first phone interview?

For job candidates the phone interview helps to determine if they want to come and work for your company and for you. For the hiring manager the process often begins with a phone screen – a litmus test of sorts, to determine if the candidate qualifies enough to warrant bringing them onsite to meet with the team.  

The phone screen is a golden opportunity to begin selling the candidate on the company, the role and what it would be like to work with you.  After all, no matter how skilled they are, if you failed to garner their interest then only half the goal has really been met.

Interview Tip:  This easy to remember TEST for hiring managers will keep the conversation in balance so both come away feeling the time – regardless of outcome – was well spent.

Thanks.  Thank them at the top for their time with you today.

Expectations.  Let them know how much time you plan to spend on the call and what you would like to cover.

For example:  My goal today is to get a sense of who you are and to determine if you have enough qualifications to bring you onsite to meet with myself and the team.  

We’ll spend ~45 minutes together.  I’ll start by giving you some high level context about our company and how my team and this role fit within the organization.  We’ll spend the rest of the time discussing your background and interest.

Note:  Fit is not about discussing the org chart, it is about the value your team and this role bring to the business.

Skills.  This is where you want the candidate to give you the elevator pitch on their experience and where you want to dive in on specific questions to establish their qualifications for the role.

Thanks.  Thank them once again for their time and allow them to ask any additional questions they may have.

Most candidates that are interested will ask what the next steps are.  If they met your litmus test and you know you plan to bring them onsite, tell them.  If you’re unsure, or if you know they are a pass, I always advise my clients to let your HR Representative or Agency Recruiter properly close out with the candidate.

Next time you’re doing a phone screen, write TEST on your Starbucks cup as a reminder!

About the Author:  Gwen Moore

A long-burning passion for organizational development inspired Gwen’s move from marketing, where she got her start, to human resources. She is a veteran of global firms like Electronic Arts, Cadence Design Systems, and National Semiconductor, most recently serving as Senior Director of Marketing and Human Resources for a children’s entertainment company, and has founded two startups, one in technology and one in entertainment. The marketing of products, brands, and talent itself all fall well within Gwen’s bailiwick. Follow @pacheragroup 

Image credit: Quozio


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