Quick Tips for Building an Effective Phone Screening Process

May 8, 2015 at 1:30 PM Kathleen de Lara

phone screening

Sourcing candidates to create a substantial top of the funnel is one of the biggest challenges in the talent hunt. This is where most people fall off – having a long list of candidates becomes a good and bad thing. Without the right resources, recruiters can fall behind in reaching out to, following up with, and filtering through the right and wrong people.

One way to alleviate the candidate drop-off is to create a quicker interviewing process. Whether or not your company is in an active hiring mode, recruiters may often find themselves doing a multitude of screenings every day. A good phone screening communicates what the company and role is about, and gives a candidate an idea of what the culture is like since it’s the first point of real interaction between the candidate and the org.

Use these techniques to bustle through your candidate funnel.

Follow the 5-20-5 rule.

Tim Vasil uses this rule to keep the interview under 30 minutes, forcing you to create an efficient screening process by being selective about the questions asked and having a set schedule, agenda, and structure. Spend 5 minutes sharing information about the company and role, 20 minutes asking questions, and the remaining 5 minutes to answer any questions the candidate may have. Remember you’re gauging fit on both ends – is this person qualified for the role, and does this role fit what they’re looking for in the long term?

Run through questions with a colleague.

What you’re trying to learn is if your questions are understandable and put the candidate at ease, and if there’s a flow to your process. Start with a question that the candidate know you did research on their background, establishing rapport and hopefully clearing the tension and clouded thinking that naturally comes with being interviewed. Vetting questions and rehearsing the interview with someone, just as you would the real thing, also helps gauge the way a conversation should flow – how someone responds to questions, raises new talking points, and asks additional questions.

Learn how to understand nonverbal cues.

If you’re (still) holding down the fort for phone sourcing, your communication skills are likely better than most recruiters who stick to virtual outreach. While phone interviews aren’t as left field as cold calling, talking on the phone is a much different animal than the in-person meeting. Ultimately the only way to get better at having a smooth phone interview is by doing it, and recognizing patterns in how people react and respond to your questions, pauses or hesitations, excitement, and humor, and adjusting your questions or interview structure accordingly.

Want to learn more about developing a smooth candidate flow? Our webinar with Jobvite, Techniques for Improving Communication Between Recruiters and Hiring Managers, dives into the next step of successfully moving candidates through the rest of the hiring process. Check it out!

  jobvite entelo webinar