Phone interviews are an important first step toward really getting to know a candidate beyond their resume or LinkedIn profile. Phone interviews require the recruiter or hiring manager to have the skills to establish trust with the candidate. The goal is to create an excellent first impression, gain the candidate’s buy-in, and commit to moving forward, especially if they are top talent that will benefit the company you serve. 

But we’ve all heard about bad phone interviews and recruiters who are less than skilled at this necessary step in the recruiting process. How can you build trust, particularly with an introverted candidate, so that you can really get to know them better? 

The Right Way to Do a Phone Interview 

Video interviews are growing in popularity due to the spread of COVID-19. But they’re also popular because they allow you to see the body language of candidates. The third benefit is that you can save the cost of having a candidate travel to your office for an interview.  

But phone interviews remain the number one way to talk with a candidate—at least at first. To be effective, you must prepare for the phone interview in the same way you would a face-to-face meeting. Taking even 10-minutes before the call to review the resume and jot down a few candidate-specific questions in addition to standard questions will give your interviewee a sense that you’re taking this seriously.  

Interviewers must walk a fine line between asking the right questions and telling the candidate about the job. You’ll have to engage with the candidate using only your words and tone, and this can be difficult if the candidate is awkward. Make sure you’re using open-ended questions to draw the candidate out of his or her shell. Don’t be wooden, even if you have a very specific set of questions to ask. Try to be warm and engaging while still being professional. 

Self-awareness is an important trait during the phone interview process. Police yourself to make sure you’re not falling into one of these categories: 

  • Bare minimum—These interviewers are so abrupt, and to the point, they might as well be reading from a script. If your standard plug about the company is lifeless or if you’ve shorted the interview to a 10-minute checklist, it will not leave the interviewee with an excellent first impression of your company. 
  • Talks too much—When the interviewer talks more than the candidate, that is a very bad sign. Working too hard to sell the company or being so ego-driven that you talk for 20-minutes in a 30-minute interview is an epic phone fail. 

Being the best at phone interviewing requires a savvy grasp of the candidate’s credentials and an understanding of interview psychology. Listening is still the best way to get to know a candidate. The savvy phone interviewer knows the right questions to ask at the right time and is a keen listener for the subtle nuances that signal candidate red flags. 

Exelare can help you succeed during the phone interview process. Our powerful software can help you prepare and conduct the interview process to help you work smarter and make more placements. Contact our team to find out more.