Conducting a phone interview is the go-to method for narrowing down a large pool of applicants prior to face-to-face interviews. However, a bad phone interview could leave hiring managers unsure about who should have in person interviews and good candidates may fall through the cracks. Since the interviewer will not have the benefit of non-verbal cues, it is even more important to focus on what the applicant has to say. With the right preparation, interview questions and attitude, a hiring manager will be confident of their hiring decisions.
Here are 8 tips for conducting an effective phone interview
• Be Prepared. The interviewee has prepared for this interview and so should the interviewer. Review resumes, applications, online profiles or other information available to you to see if you have questions about what is in, or not in, them. Missing dates in their work history, or questions you have about certain job experiences or skills, should be noted ahead of time.
• Be Present. It is not enough to just “show up” for the interview; the interviewee deserves your undivided attention. This is not the time to multi-task, look ahead to other interviewees or think about what you are going to have for lunch. Have all of the applicant’s information at your fingertips prior to the interview, as well as your interview questions, so you can focus on what the interviewee is saying and not on what you want to say next.
• Be Engaging. Don’t show off by using a lot of company buzzwords that the applicant would not understand or clichés. An interviewer should provide information about the business, but should not spend the whole interview ‘selling’ the company to the applicant.
Take the time to ask open-ended questions that encourage the interviewee to go into detail about their experiences. There is a difference between asking, “You worked on project teams, right?” versus “Tell me about the process you went through to complete projects.” You want to understand an applicant’s motives, career objectives and desires. Questions that require a yes or no answer will not get an interviewer that information.
• Find Somewhere Quiet. Conducting an interview in a restaurant, park, moving vehicle or other noisy area is not conducive to a good interview. Find a quiet location, like an office or conference room, where you can focus. If you have a landline available to you, use it so there is not an issue with the connection.
• Take Notes. Even if you think you’ll remember what each applicant had to say, it is best to write them down, either on a computer or with pen and paper. When you assess each applicant after the phone interview process, you will be glad to have those notes for reference.
• Let Them Talk. You should only be talking 20 percent of the time, so give the applicant plenty of time to answer your question before you move onto something else. A short pause in the conversation is okay; the applicant might be thinking before answering. This is a good trait for an employee to have.
• Assess Their Skills. Did an applicant really do all of the things they said on their resume? If you are looking for specific skills, ask the applicant to provide examples of how they handled certain situations or used those skills in a real-life situation. You will be able to identify those who may have padded their resume versus those who actually have the experience based on their response.
• Keep Score. As you interview each applicant, keep score of their answers. This will help you to objectively look at each applicant based on their ability, not just their likeability.
A phone interview requires as much thought and effort as a in person interview. If you want to learn as much as possible about the applicants, make sure you are as prepared for the interview as they are.
How Spring-Green Can Help
Hiring, training and retaining the right employees can be a challenge for any business owner. When you become a strategic partner with Spring-Green, you have a team of experts who will provide you the advice needed to hire, train, and retain employees, not only from the Spring-Green support team, but from other franchise owners as well.
“Spring-Green’s support team has been instrumental throughout the process, keeping us on track to meet our long-term goals,” said David Roman, Spring-Green Franchise Owner in Logansville, Georgia. “They want us to succeed, so as an organization we can all succeed.”
Spring-Green can help you grow and diversify with our 40 years of experience and our proven expertise in business development. Learn more about how Spring-Green can expand your lawn care, landscape and pest control services. Call 1-800-777-8608 or visit us at www.growmygreenindustrybusiness.com.