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How to conduct a proper phone interview – Part 3 of 3

Get your hiring process off to the right start by through a series of well-conducted phone interviews. Here’s how you can find the right employee…

Image of a man conducting a proper phone interview

Now that you’ve got your questions all lined up, expectations set, and phone interview scheduled, the time has come to hop on the phone with your job candidate. Remember, this phone interview  has a time limit – so stick to it!

  • Be ready to accept the call from your applicant at the scheduled time
  • Have pen, paper and a copy of the resume handy
  • Thank the candidate for their time and remind them of the meeting duration. Explain that you would like to respect their time and that you plan on sticking to the time limit set.
  • Let them know you expect answers to your questions to be  answered briefly and to-the-point.
  • Start asking your questions and write down the highlights of their responses.
  • Also write down your thoughts on HOW they responded (too long, awkwardly, succinct)
  • Allow silence where necessary to force an answer from the candidate.
  • Carefully match answers received with the expectations you have set for the position at hand.

As you progress through your list of questions, you will quickly gain a sense for the candidate’s seriousness about the position and their ability to respond intelligently. You will understand that you have a good candidate on the line when they can control their responses, answer adequately and maintain a positive, interested tone throughout the meeting.

When you reach the end of your questioning list, ask them if they have any questions about the position, company or your hiring process. Hopefully, the candidate will ask 2 or 3 well-targeted questions. Answer those questions, thank them for their time and tell them when you will be in touch.

Be careful not to decide if you’re going to offer a second interview too early! Many managers make the mistake of deciding that just a few minutes into the interview. Don’t do that. You should actually wait to make that decision until after you’ve conducted several phone interviews so you can compare job candidates. Even then, give it a day to reflect on each phone interview. It’s understandable that you’ve got an open position that you want filled asap, but never rush the hiring process. It’s worth it to find the right employee.

After you’ve reviewed your notes and made your decision on who to extend second interview offers to, go ahead and email the candidates. Please do get back in touch with ALL the people you have a phone interview with. Whether you plan on inviting them to have a second interview or not, let them know so you don’t leave anyone hanging.

Well, that’s it. You now know how to conduct a proper phone interview. This may seem like a lot, but it’s worth it if you’re going to put together a great team.  Good luck, and happy hiring!

Here are the first two parts in this blog mini series:

How to conduct a proper phone interview – Part 1 of 3

How to conduct a proper phone interview – Part 2 of 3



This entry was posted in Business, Human Resources, Management and tagged , , by Brian Gabriel. Bookmark the permalink.

About Brian Gabriel

As the Call Center Manager for Sound Telecom, Brian is responsible for overseeing the daily operations and long term success of the company while managing a variety of inbound customer support programs. He also has a hand in taking care of the Solaxis services division. Prior to joining Sound Telecom, Mr. Gabriel held management positions with several prominent Internet Services companies including and Brian started his career in advertising and sales before moving to Washington State. He joined AEI Music in 1995 and supervised their international customer service department and technical support call centers. Brian received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish languages from San Diego State University. Brian teaches adult education at his church and actively supports Christian ministries.