Time is money! Your telephone interviews can quickly establish whether an applicant warrants a personal interview or whether you'll be wasting your time.
A CV or job application form will present the applicant in the most positive light, which is only one side of the coin. For example, applicants may be suitably qualified as receptionists on paper, but with telephone interviewing you can verify fluency in language and a clear speaking voice within minutes.
Have the CV or application form on hand and make notes as you go along.
Many internet sites advise employees to stand up during telephone interviews in order to sound alert, interested and enthusiastic. Those are just the first basic impressions which you can quickly judge. You now need to delve a bit deeper to get past the window dressing.
Note: Our Employment main page has links to many free legal forms for the work place such as application forms, employment contracts, evaulation forms etc.
Test their knowledge!
Ask job specific questions to gauge if they actually know what they're talking about e.g. Salesperson:
Ask a few probing questions about the certificates or degrees listed e.g.
Are the answers forthcoming, without hesitation and plausible? If it appears that a candidate is over-qualified for the job, ask why they want the job with your company. They may just use it as an interim position whilst they're looking for something better.
If you state that you need to fill the position urgently, do they volunteer to renege on their notice period with their current employer or do they say that they cannot leave their employer in the lurch. Either way is a good indication of how they will treat you in future.
An applicant may have listed their current earnings on the employment application form. You can ask how the salary package was structured i.e. contributory pension / medical insurance / incentives / bonuses etc. This can assist you with comparison against your offer.
Any other details not submitted on the CV or if they did not complete a job application form can be confirmed, such as availability, willingness to travel if required etc.
At the end of the telephone interviews you can do a side-by-side comparison of all applications submitted and draw up a short list of candidates to interview. Keep a file for every position advertised and sort applications from best qualified to completely unqualified - moving them from one category to the next as new information becomes available.
Inform unsuccessful applicants of the fact should they wish the return of any documents. Keep copies of all applications with details of your rejection in case your decision is challenged later.
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