How to Conduct an Effective Phone Interview

Unsure whether a candidate is right for your company? Or are you curious to find out more about them?

Woman working on laptop at office while talking on phone, backlit warm light

Conducting an initial telephone interview is a great way to quickly and cheaply screen a job applicant and add depth to their CV, as it gives the candidate the opportunity to provide more information to you about their experience and achievements. From this, you can make a better decision about their suitability for your role and progress or halt the recruitment process based on more accurate knowledge.

It is recommended that telephone interviews should last around 30 minutes to give yourself time to ask all the relevant questions as well as (hopefully) enjoy an engaging conversation. Just like face-to-face or video interviews, it is good practice to research the candidate beforehand using their CV, cover letter or LinkedIn profile. It would also be useful to prepare a checklist of the questions you would like to ask to ensure that the discussion remains on topic and relevant.

Some questions you may want to consider include:

  1. What do you know about our company and what we do?
  2. What are your motivations for leaving your current role?
  3. What made you choose to apply for a role with our company?
  4. What experience do you have that will help you succeed in this role?
  5. What skills did you use in your last job?
  6. What are your salary expectations?

You should make notes throughout the interview and pay close attention to the candidate’s tone of voice. Since you are not able to assess the individual’s body language, it is important to look for other signals such as how comfortable they seem whilst giving their answers, their enthusiasm and their confidence. Asking the applicant at the end of the interview if they have any questions for yourself (or any concerns) will also reveal how serious they are about the job and provide an indication as to how to progress with their application.

Now watch our video about the benefits of conducting video interviews

Or find more employer advice here