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6 Tips About How To Source Passive Candidates

If you are a recruiter or works in the staffing industry, I’m sure you know that passive candidates are usually the best candidates. But passive recruiting is often easier said than done. You’ll have[...]

November 13, 2018

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Phone Interview Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of Each Call

As an independent recruiter, you conduct a boat load of phone interviews for both finding good candidates and seeing if they’re the right fit for a specific job. But do you know the different interview formats and how to use them to get the best out of your prospective talent? Have no fear, that’s why we’re here.

Preparing for the Interview

All interviews, conducted via the phone or not, have some things in common. The basics you need to keep in mind are as follows:

  • Limit background noise and distraction - You’ll never earn anyone’s respect or full attention if they know you aren’t giving your all. You need to turn off the TV, close the door, and make sure to give your complete attention to your interviewer. Even if they can’t see you, your voice will give it away.
  • Make sure you have good service/reception on your cell phone - If you are going to use your cell for these calls, make sure it’s fully charged. It won’t look good if it dies or you have to go running around looking for a charger. It might make the candidate feel like you’re unprepared and aren’t prioritizing them.
  • Speak clearly - Make sure to enunciate and keep your voice at a reasonable volume and tone. You don’t have the luxury of having your body language or facial expressions help convey the questions. Vocal communication is all you have, so use it to the best of your abilities.
  • Take notes to help you remember it all later - They won’t know that you’re taking notes, so feel free to use up a whole notebook! It will help you to remember everything after the interview, which will make it easier to add any information to their file later and will keep you focused on the interview and the candidate.
  • Outline the next steps at the end of the call - Don’t leave talent hanging. You should always tell the candidate what the next steps will be so they have an idea of the timeline and won’t be left wondering if they’ve been hung out to dry.

Advanced Phone Interview Tips for Different Styles

But the basics aren’t all you need. There are multiple ways of conducting interviews, and you need to know which will work best for a particular candidate. Here are some phone interview tips for each style:

  • Structured (Formal or Traditional) - This is the normal format for an interview with a job and task description, a beginner ice breaker question, and then answering candidate questions. It is the most known format, but can feel stilted and might not get the best results.
  • Unstructured (Informal) - This is more of a conversational type of interview, where you try to get the candidate to relax and engage in conversation, more than answering a specific set of questions. If you do use this method, try to keep on track and draw out information on skills, previous employment history, etc. not and not just have a gabfest.
  • Behavioral - This interview format is based on the idea that past performance is the best indicator for future behavior. It uses questions based on past experiences of the candidate to gauge how they would react to similar situations in the future. Most of the questions start with “Describe how you dealt with…”, “When in this situation what did you…”, or “Tell me about when you were faced with this type of problem…”. These questions can help you get a glimpse into a candidate’s motivation, leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills.
  • Portfolio - This is where you have access to a candidate’s portfolio to see how they’ve done in the past to get an idea of how they work. You’ll know what talents they have, and you can discuss these achievements to see if they’ll be a good candidate. Some portfolio examples include work in GitHub, their own personal website, or any work included with their resume or job application.

Now that you know about the different types of interviews, you can choose one or meld a few different ideas together to create the best interview format for you. After all, you need to get the most useful information out of the candidates, so you should tailor the phone interview to what you think will be most helpful. Just don’t forget that you might need to change your approach on the fly if the candidate is not responding well to your methods.

Scott Giroux
Scott Giroux
A long-time innovator with extensive leadership experience, Scott served on the executive team of a leading North American staffing firm prior to joining our team. At Crowdstaffing, Scott leads the company’s global operations and account management team and also drives growth of the talent supplier side of Crowdstaffing’s hiring marketplace. "There is so much untapped potential in our industry I’m thrilled to be part of a movement that is pioneering a connected marketplace for everyone in the hiring ecosystem."
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