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Phone Interview: Do’s and Don’ts

Dec 23, 2022

Phone interviews have become the norm. It’s a great way to learn more about the candidate before bringing them in for a face-to-face interview; they save everyone involved time and effort. With the candidate’s resume and LinkedIn profile pulled up in front of them, recruiters and hiring managers can weed out unqualified and uninterested candidates without leaving their desk. But, if you want to be effective in conducting phone interviews, there are a few things to note.

1. ​Prep Before the Call

There’s nothing more frustrating than long periods of silence as the interviewer fumbles over their questions. Be sure to read and review your candidate’s resume, then, prepare a list of questions regarding their qualifications. It’s also important to have a short spiel about the company and job opportunity ready. Having all the necessary information ready before the call will eliminate those awkward transitions.

2. Secure a Quiet Space

Prepare for the interview by situating yourself in a place where there’s less noise and chance of being interrupted. Even if it means leaving the comforts of your desk and locking yourself alone in a conference room.

3. Watch Your Tone

You’re conducting a phone interview, so the candidate won’t be won over by your effortless style or dazzling smile. You can only win them over with your voice, so be mindful of your tone. If you sound upbeat, your candidate will be more likely to stay engaged throughout the call.

4. Ask for the Candidate

Once someone answers your call, don’t rush into your spiel right away! Confirm the receiver’s identity before giving away any crucial information. Be sure that it’s your candidate that is on the line. What if you’ve dialed the wrong number? Or your candidate’s coworker picks up their phone? Better safe than sorry.

5. Have a Proper Introduction

This goes without saying. In your introduction, mention the following before proceeding:

  • Your name
  • The company you’re from or working for
  • Your reason for calling

After that, always ask your candidate if they’re free to discuss further. If not, ask for a time that you can call again. Your introduction should go something like this:

“Hi Julia! This is Janet calling from ABC Inc. I would like to discuss a job opportunity with you. Is this a good time to talk?”

6. Don’t Overwhelm Your Candidate

Remember, the purpose of the initial phone interview is to screen your candidates and narrow down your pool. Ask questions only related to their qualifications and the job requirements. Do not overwhelm them with too much information about the company and job responsibilities. If your process involves an on-site interview, it’s best to stick with asking the basic interview questions during the phone interview. More in-depth questions can be saved for the face-to-face interview.

7. ​ Slow Down

Speeding through an interview will give the impression that you don’t care about what your candidate has to say and just want the call to end as soon as possible. Pace yourself and give your candidate ample time to talk and answer your questions.

8. Confirm their Interest

Done selling the position? If you’re calling an inbound candidate, ask if they’re still interested in continuing their application. If it’s a passive candidate, give them time to consider the opportunity. Then, schedule another call to confirm their interest. You’ll have an easier time narrowing down your talent pool when you know which candidates are serious in perusing the position.

9. ​ Double Check Contact Information

Never end the first call without confirming your candidates contact information. Although you’ve already managed to get in touch with the candidate, they might have another number they prefer you use. If you only have their work email, ask for their personal email. Even if they’re not interested in the position, you can still update your candidate database.

10. Say Thanks

Always thank your candidate for their time before hanging up. Then, follow it up with an email. In your email, you can send the job description and relay any follow-up steps. This helps close your first interaction with the candidate and eliminates any unnecessary follow-up calls/emails.

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