Designing the recruitment process is one of the main tasks of people acquiring new talents for modern organizations. It is extremely important to define the individual stages of candidate selection and to plan ways to verify their qualifications. This task can turn out to be difficult and time-consuming, especially with a large number of applications flowing in and the time pressure that many recruiters face today. Moreover, members of the recruitment teams are aware that an improperly designed selection process can have high costs for the entire organization. If we want to avoid mistakes in recruitment, it is worth planning a telephone screening after the initial CV selection.
During the phone screening, we have the opportunity to verify both the most important qualifications of the candidate and to answer the questions bothering them. As a result, we establish the first contact with potential employees and allow them to better understand the company as an employer. During the interview, we can explain any inconsistencies in the CV, make sure that the candidate has a good understanding of the job offer and set the expected salary. And only then decide whether they should be invited to further meetings, held in a wider group, e.g. with the Hiring Manager. Thanks to this, we save the resources of the organization and the time of company representatives, whom we engage in participation in recruitment interviews, planned in the next stages of the process.
What can phone screening help us with and how to properly conduct it?
Find out in the article.
Purpose of phone screening
The purpose of the phone screening of candidates is, above all, to check the data contained in the application documents, which will help us select the right people for the next recruitment meeting. It is worth using the conversation to ask questions about those aspects that aroused our doubts or sparked curiosity during the verification of the application.
At the same time, we must remember that each interview with a candidate should be based on a partnership relationship. Screening can therefore be used to familiarize the candidate with our offer more thoroughly and to dispel their doubts. So that the other party can also decide whether the working conditions in our company are interesting for them and whether they want to remain in the recruitment process.
How to prepare for phone screening?
We may encounter various obstacles during telephone interviews with candidates. Due to their form, it may happen that the candidate does not feel fully comfortable. In addition, it will be more difficult for us to establish a relationship with him, and through indirect contact, we may not be able to observe the reactions and behavior of the interlocutor. Therefore, it is worth taking care of proper preparation for the screening of candidates in order to minimize the risk of making mistakes.
How to plan telephone screening?
Specify the most important requirements for a given position.
Before starting the recruitment process, the recruiter should each time conduct a thorough analysis of the Hiring Manager’s needs. During the conversation with the future supervisor of a new employee, we will find out which requirements are absolutely necessary and which are ‘nice to have’. This will help us not only in creating an appropriate job advertisement but also in planning the verification of candidates’ qualifications and competencies.
Screening is intended to be a short, introductory interview, so we shouldn’t ask too many questions to the candidate. Let’s choose the most important issues and focus on them during the conversation. All other aspects, such as additional qualifications that are not considered as the so-called “must-haves”, we can leave for the next interview round.
During the telephone interview, it is worth making sure that the candidate has a good understanding of the role offered and that they meet basic requirements, such as availability, appropriate financial expectations and knowledge of the necessary tools for the job. Thanks to this, we will create the criteria for the first recruitment funnel that will help us select people who meet the basic requirements.
Let the candidate know about the interview in advance and check that they have time and space for it
When it’s time for an interview, it’s worth contacting the candidate before picking up the phone. Nobody likes to be surprised. By making an appointment in advance, we will provide the candidate with greater comfort, which will most likely have a positive effect on the amount of information we obtain during the actual interview.
Thanks to this, the candidate will be able to prepare better and provide themself a space where no one will disturb or overhear them. In this way, we will also avoid problems with reception and other disruptions that may accompany us, for example, when the candidate answers the phone while traveling or performing other duties. In addition, we will show the candidate that we care about their time and comfort, and we will be able to calmly talk about issues that are embarrassing for some or require longer reflection and concentration.
Verify the CV before the interview
Before conducting the initial screening with the candidate, we should carefully read their application documents. A phone call will be an ideal opportunity to dispel any doubts that appeared in our heads during their verification. Before the screening, it is worth writing down all the issues that arouse our curiosity or uncertainty and highlight the most important elements of the CV that we would like to ask about. This may be, for example, a request for an explanation of frequent job changes or verification of the reasons for a large gap in work experience.
Check the candidate’s motivation
During the first contact with the candidate, it is worth verifying their attitude and asking about the reasons that led them to apply for a given position. We can check what motivates the candidate to work, what they care about most in the performance of their daily duties and what they know about the industry in which our company operates. Thanks to this, we will be able to get to know the potential employee better and recognize how much they will fit into the company’s reality and whether we are able to offer them all the benefits they count on when changing employers.
Provide all the most important information to the candidate
Remember that each recruitment interview is a dialogue. During the interview, it is not only the recruiter who obtains information about the candidate. The other side also has a lot of doubts. Therefore, when building relationships with candidates, it is so important to leave space for their questions. When planning a phone screening, do not forget to check whether everything is clear to the candidate and whether there is anything else that we can explain. Let’s tell about the company and the position for which the recruitment is being carried out. Let’s introduce the candidates to the manager and potential teammates. If the recruitment concerns a specific project, let’s tell them about it. At the end of the interview, let’s ask the candidate if we can clarify any other issues that we didn’t think of when planning the interview. The easier it is for the candidate to imagine everyday life in a new job, the better decision they will make when they receive the final offer from us.
Questions worth asking during the initial recruitment interview
Phone screening may take the form of a spontaneous interview. However, it is worth preparing a few basic questions that will give structure to the conversation and help us get all the most important information.
What kind of questions should arise during screening?
- Basic information questions, so general questions that test the correspondence of the answers with the information contained in the candidate’s CV, e.g. “What were the main responsibilities at your position at your last company?”.
- Questions to dispel the recruiter’s doubts that we ask if some information is missing or unclear in the CV, e.g. “What influenced your decision to change the industry?”.
- Questions verifying the candidate’s motivation, which allow to determine the candidate’s suitability to the organizational culture and check what motivates them to take up a new role, e.g. “What made you most interested in our job offer?”.
- Questions about financial expectations that are worth asking especially in a situation where the job advertisement did not include information about the earnings offered for a given position.
- Questions about the availability and flexibility of the candidate, which allow determining when the candidate can start working in the company, in what form (stationary, remote, hybrid) and in what number of hours.
Checklist of a well-conducted phone screening
The first contact with a recruiter is a great opportunity to present yourself from the best side, both for the candidate and for the company. We still make mistakes that may significantly affect the candidate experience and, at the same time, the image of the entire company.
What should we do in order for candidates to positively mention the initial interviews with recruiters in our company?
- Let’s not surprise the candidate with a phone call. It is worth making an appointment that is suitable for both parties, even if the interview is to last only 15 minutes. It’s best to do it by e-mail/message on LinkedIn, so as to remind the candidate what the offer is about and let them prepare for the phone call.
- Before the interview, let’s prepare verification questions, which should be discussed in a maximum of 20 minutes. Telephone screening should not last too long or take the form of a so-called “Questioning”. Let’s only ask about the necessary issues that check the basic assumptions and requirements of our job offer.
- Before the interview, let’s prepare the candidate’s application documents so that they can be viewed during the interview. It is worth preparing notes in advance so as not to forget to clarify all the content in the CV that raises our doubts.
- Let’s treat the interview as a dialogue during which both the recruiter wants to meet the candidate and the candidate wants to meet the company to which they are applying. At the beginning of the interview, let’s remind what kind of advertisement we are talking about and provide more details about the offer that were not included in the job advertisement.
- After answering the candidate’s questions, do not forget to present the next steps of the recruitment process. The candidate should know exactly when to expect contact from us and in what form they will receive feedback.
- Always provide the candidate with feedback.
If you are looking for support in hiring IT specialists, contact us. Our trained recruiters know how to conduct an effective phone screening.