Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Telephone Interview - A Necessary Part of the Interview Process

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Many companies are using the telephone interview to cut down on time and money spent during the formal interview process. While it is a great tool to save time and money, it should also be used to glean certain information from the applicant. There is a lot you can find out about a person from one short telephone call, but it does require some investigative skills on the part of the interviewer to show the true character of the person on the other end of the line. Here are some tips that should help narrow down the field more accurately.

Firstly, the telephone interview is a great way to check for communication skills and phone etiquette. Listen carefully to background sounds. If a candidate is driving while on a scheduled interview, you may want to consider their professionalism and the effort taken to display their interest in your company and the job. Things like putting the interviewer on hold to take another call, or holding this important call whilst on public transport can be a sign that the applicant does not view this initial communication and the first impression they make as being important, but it is the more subtle things that will really show you a person's character. For example, take into account the way the candidate converses. Are they colloquial, as though they were talking to a friend, or are they responding in a businesslike tone, which would be most appropriate.

If the candidate often interrupts you when you are asking a question before you've even finished it, this may show that they are not listening to you or that they are impatient. It is these subtleties, demonstrated in the way the person conducts themselves over the phone, which can reveal a lot about a person's phone etiquette and professionalism. Do not discount the importance of this, because in the majority of cases, your staff will have to communicate to clients via the phone, and they need to do this in a way that will set forth a positive image of the company.

The telephone interview gives you the opportunity to reiterate your expectations regarding the position - such as salary, hours, employment terms, location, and general duties and outcomes of the role. At such an early stage of the selection process, it gives you the opportunity to weed out those whose expectations do not match or who show no interest in your employment terms. Many times I have called candidates to discuss salary, interview times and start dates only to discover that their salary expectations were significantly higher than my budget could allow. You want to know people's expectations upfront, as if there is a big discrepancy, it's likely that you will never come to their desired figure, so it may be best you discount them now and focus on others that may be more in line with your price point and can be trained up. Often if money is a problem in the beginning, it will remain so.

Another thing to watch for is if your candidate's answers are very long and they don't stay on topic. This could be because they have a tendency to ramble, but they could also be taking longer to explain themselves because they are generally not able to express themselves clearly or succinctly. Take into consideration that interviews are very stressful, and some applicants may be responding to their stress when their answers are long-winded. Just make sure the rambling stays on topic for the most part, and watch for other signs of dishonesty at the same time, such as stammering, repeating the same phrase, or speaking of old bosses or coworkers in a negative light.

You are obviously calling the candidate for an interview because they meet your basic requirements for the position, but do they really want this job? A telephone interview can be a great means of determining whether the applicant has given thought to this vacancy before applying or whether they were desperate for a job, any job, and have applied to just about everything. You can determine this by asking their interest in the position and why they would like to work for your company. You can also ask how this position aligns with their long-term goals. Listen closely and take notes, so that these can be used as a reference if the candidate was to take part in a face-to-face interview later in the process.

In order to find the absolute best match for your vacancy, ask the candidate questions about their experience, such as statistics, awards or achievements gained from their previous positions. You want to look for consistency in the information provided between the interview and in their resume. If a candidate truthfully received an award or was successful in their efforts, then they will know all the details about this and should be happy to discuss and share the positive attributes that enabled them to succeed. Candidates who may have embellished or exaggerated their achievements don't expect the hard question to come until the actual structured interview. In this case, it's not just about the information given but how confident they are in the telephone interview, versus those who are struggling to explain. This is just another way of weeding out those who are simply desperate for any job, from those who have considered how this position is one that they would enjoy doing and the company is one they would enjoy being a part of.

Employers often overlook the importance of the telephone interview as they try to limit their interaction with a candidate. They may believe that they can make a better assessment face to face. If used correctly, the telephone interview can save you time as it can quickly eliminate some of the more 'undesirable' people who do not regard your core needs as being important before you invest precious time in person in a structured interview. While at the same time it ensures that every person who is brought in for a face-to-face interview is familiar with the position, requirements and pay before an offer is made.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/

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