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The 4 Step Process for Phone Interviews

Posted by James Patrick Kahler on December 4, 2014

Remember those things called blind dates? They use to be somewhat commonplace (although awkward) amongst American singles before websites such as eHarmony or “dating” apps like Tinder came to be. how_to_conduct_a_phone_interview

There’s a reason why blind dating has become a thing of the past. People want to know whom they’re meeting up with before they actually meet. They want to know what they’re like and most importantly, what they look like. Now it’s just weird to expect any sort of a connection with a stranger prior to communicating with that person. 

This same idea can be applied to interviewing job applicants. If you expect a natural to come to your interview without talking to him or her beforehand, then you have high hopes my friend. Successful businesses have multiple stages during their interview process for a purpose—it works! 

Phone interviews are traditionally the first steps of successful, structured interviews and are the easiest way to select qualified applicants for face-to-face meetings. Gaining a better sense of the applicants’ personalities, their work experience and knowledge of the business helps hiring managers choose who should be brought in for round two of the interview process.

The 4 Steps


If you’re a hiring manager or HR professional looking to improve your interview process, try conducting phone interviews using this simple four-step process:

  1. CREATE AN INTERVIEW GUIDE—develop a series of questions that ask the applicants about: their career goals, job history, what they’re good at, what they’re not good at and anything else that’ll help you get a better sense of who they are as both individuals and professionals.
  2. PLAN FOR THE CALL—phone interviews should only last about 30 minutes, however it’s a good idea to schedule a little more time just to be safe. It’s an even better idea to block off a full hour on your schedule. That way you’ll have time to prepare before the call and take notes afterwards. Don’t forget to send an email to the candidate the day before the call as a friendly reminder of the interview.
  3. DIAL UP—once you’ve created a guide to follow and scheduled the call, it’s time to talk to the candidate. Listening is the most important thing to keep in mind during the interview. Since you’ll already have your questions to ask right in front of you, the easy part should be listening—but some people tend to mess this up. Hear what the candidate has to say and see how his or her answers match up with what you’re looking for in an ideal employee.
  4. SCORE THE INTERVIEW—it’s crucial to write down any additional notes you may have immediately following the call. You’ll want to do it then while everything’s still fresh in your mind. After that, read through your notes and evaluate the candidate’s responses. Think about what you’re looking for in the perfect employee. If the candidate seems fit for the position, schedule a face-to-face interview.

Part of the hiring process is elimination. These phone calls help you avoid wasting time talking to candidates who are unfit for your open position. By the time you have scheduled your face-to-face interviews with your qualified candidates, you should have a pretty good idea of what they’re like before the meeting. 

So the next time you interview a candidate, set up a phone interview first. That way there won’t be any uncomfortable surprises like the ones blind dates may cause, like finding out your date has a swastika tattooed on her forehead! 

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Interviewing Help, Hiring Tips, Hiring

James Patrick Kahler

About the Author

James Patrick Kahler is Hireology’s Copywriter & Content Specialist. He is a graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and has over four years of professional experience writing for various industries. Outside of the office (and sometimes inside), he has a passion for comedy, advertising and his Cleveland sports teams…all of them.