7 Useful Guidelines for Phone Interview Process

Phone interviews play a key role in understanding a good deal about prospective candidate and also helps to eliminate applicants who do not meet the minimum levels of proficiency. As phone interview is a key screening tool it needs to be carried out in a planned manner. The HR personnel needs to do the homework properly. It is necessary to have in-depth understanding of the jargons related to issues on hand to sieve out unfit candidates. Though skills are a vital aspect of selecting candidates, desired attitude and approach is equally important.

Phone interview guidelines

A job interviewer must frame questions that help to extract the needed information from a candidate and also gives an insight into his professional behavior. The interview must ensure the candidate remains comfortable throughout the interview and gives honest replies. The interviewer must also not let the interview to go off track and extract as much information as possible in the given time frame. Ideally the conversation should last about 30 to 40 minutes max. While there is no set format for phone interview, the techniques used should be able to identify the suitable match for the organization.

Here are some useful guidelines for the process of interviewing a candidate over phone.

1. Synopsis of your organization.

Aim: Bridge the connection between candidate and you.
Firstly, thank the candidate for setting aside time to speak with you. It is foremost essential to create a comfort zone for the candidate. A quick and short introduction of yourself and your organization would be great to begin with. Also acquaint the candidate with your company culture and emphasis on performance management.

2. Can you narrate a significant achievement attributable to your efforts for the growth of the organization? How did you measure your degree of success?

Aim: Exploring the strength of the candidate and get an idea on how he shall manage challenges.
Most of the times, these narrated achievement reveals the mindset of the individual. Give an understanding of the level of responsibilities in his organization with the previous or current employer. Superior candidates will paint his / her success story highlighting and illustrating the skills that they enhanced in the process.

3. As humans mistakes are a part of learning process. Can you identify one such instance, in recent professional career and your learning from it?

Aim: Ability to take ownership.
Mistakes are inescapable fact of life. Negative experiences are most of the times tough to talk about. Behavioral question is very important and helps to understand the candidate’s past performance and to predict future performances. Bill Gates said “It is fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Accepting failures depicts a candidate’s sense of ownership and responsibilities. Failure is not a positive outcome, but a stepping stone towards positive outcome.


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4. What is the driving motivation for the desired post?

Aim: This is to find out the candidate’s interest levels and perception of / expectations from the role offer.
There are numerous reasons for a candidate to apply for a job application. This question is intended to reveal the passion and commitment of a candidate for the desired post. The question needs to be handled carefully as it indicates alignment of a candidate’s personal aspiration with the aspiration of the organization. Of course you are looking forward to people who are enthusiastic about your company and its product / services. This question will screen out serious candidates.

5. How do you describe your roller coaster journey with your peers and sub-ordinates?

Aim: Find out the interpersonal relationship of the candidates and ability to cope up with challenges associated with it.
These are the most common challenges faced in any organization. Ego is all around, how one faces and overcomes is important. Working in an organization is a group effort. Your chosen candidate should posses the ability to interact with various kinds of people in his professional career. There will be many candidates with a reluctant approach and a foul – mouth and it is interesting to hear how they navigate out of their poor professional relations.

6. Besides your job, what other activities spur you in your life?

Aim: To identify the other side of his personality.
Some people pursue their interest with great passion. A person playing chess – shows his ability to concentrate and plan moves. Interest in adventurous sports shows high risk taking abilities. Working for NGO shows care and concern for others.

7. Anything relevant to our conversation that you feel like discussing?

Aim: Wrap up the conversation and to share information that a candidate needs.
It gives an opportunity to the employer to clarify any misgivings that the prospective candidate may have and builds mutual trust. It also reveals the extent of knowledge that the candidate has about your organization and the competitive environment. Nature of information and questions sought by the candidate may also help you in determining the intensity for securing the job.

So, when preparing to conduct a telephone interview make it a point to list out the qualities that mesh with your organization’s work culture and tailor it into suitable questions.

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