5 Reasons Phone Screening Must be Part of your Hiring Process

Phone Screening Candidates

5 Reasons Phone Screening Must be Part of your Hiring Process

It can save you up to 45 minutes per candidate
In our experience, the average phone interview takes around 15 minutes, versus the average in-person interview which is often at least an hour. Essentially, you can conduct three phone interviews in the time it takes to conduct one in-person interview. Statistic Brain published the results of an online survey by AOL jobs that revealed that 21% of resumes state fraudulent degrees, 29% show altered employment dates, 40% have inflated salary claims, 33% have inaccurate job descriptions, and 27% give falsified references. Wouldn’t it be great if you were able to screen out any questionable candidates early on? Considering these statistics, it doesn’t really make sense to bring a candidate in for an interview until you have gone through this initial verification process. Our recruiters find that this step often helps them to uncover inaccuracies in employment dates and salary claims. By getting these initial, fundamental qualifying questions out of the way with a 15-20 minute phone interview, you will be able to narrow down your candidate pool with greater efficiency. Using this method is a proactive step that will ensure you will be spending your valuable, in-person interview time with the most qualified candidates.

Hearing “NO” feels better
The candidate experience has been a subject of many recent articles and meetings held by both SHRM and the American Staffing Association over the last several months. As discussed in a previous Bradley blog, many organizations underestimate the importance of the candidate experience during the hiring process. Making improvements in this area can greatly increase your company’s chances of attracting and retaining top talent. Offering a candidate a more convenient screening opportunity is one way to do this, especially if he or she would need to travel a greater distance for an in-person interview. From a candidate perspective, the investment in exploring the opportunity through a phone call isn’t as great if they end up not being a good fit. Serious candidates will go through a great deal of preparation for an in-house interview. They may have to take time off from work, purchase a new suit, or hire a babysitter. Putting someone through so much planning and effort only to find out in the first few minutes that they are not a good fit can seem inconsiderate. It often leads to poor reviews of your process, and fewer applicants to your company’s jobs. Competition for qualified applicants makes the need to create a positive candidate experience more crucial to building your talent pipeline and facilitating talent rediscovery.

It fosters a more diverse hiring process
Diversity in hiring and recruiting is one of the hottest topics in the corporate world today. Research suggests that human beings in general are inherently and subliminally influenced by physical appearance. A New York Times article discusses how a political candidate’s appearance — not beauty, but a look of competence — can generate an extreme vote swing. By screening candidates initially with a phone interview, you are acting with a greater level of objectivity, and measuring only the candidate’s performance and response during this interaction.  Aside from fulfilling legal obligations and providing good faith efforts to do so, diversity in hiring is both profitable and marketable for businesses. For example, ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform the national industry average, according to a 2015 McKinsey report. The same report found that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to have better financial returns.

Find out who they really are
Scheduling a phone interview with a candidate is a great way to get some basic questions answered and begin to qualify him or her without consuming too much time. This call is a good time to ask why they want to leave their current position, and what they may be looking for in their next role. We encourage employers to use this time to confirm employment and salary history, education and references. Many interviewers will even qualify a candidate based on the way they answer the phone. If they are not courteous to a potential employer, how would they behave if it were one of your customers or clients on the line? This step can also reveal how serious the candidate is about making a job change. If you schedule a phone interview and the candidate doesn’t call in at the scheduled time, or doesn’t answer your call, you’ve established that they may not be sincere in their desire to seek a new position with your company. By not keeping the appointment, the candidate is demonstrating that they are not reliable, or respectful of your time. In this way, you can logically screen out that individual and it only really cost you a few minutes, as opposed to having blocked out an hour or more of your day.

It’s an opportunity to test their skills
If phone skills are part of the job, this is an ideal way to measure a candidate’s ability to communicate effectively in this medium. Roles like call center and customer service representatives and receptionists obviously require excellent phone communication skills. These employees may be required to deal with emotional customers, high call volumes and other stressful situations. An initial phone interview that includes possible customer call scenarios and role playing will help you gauge the ability of a candidate to provide efficient and empathetic resolution to customer issues. This is a valuable skill throughout many different roles, however, it is a great way to determine a candidate’s interpersonal skills. This method also presents the candidate with a realistic picture of the nature of the job. This can help to minimize turnover due to a misunderstanding on the part of the candidate about what will be required of them.

Some examples of phone interview questions recommended by SHRM and Bradley Staffing Group are:

  • What do you know about our company?
  • Why are you interested in working for our company?
  • What reasons do you have for leaving your current (or most recent) job?
  • Describe a project that you worked on that involved a high level of detail.
  • Based on what you know about the position we are hiring for, what skills and experience do you have directly related to this position?
  • What would your previous supervisors say are your strengths? What about weaknesses?
  • What work accomplishment are you most proud of?
  • Tell me about your three major accomplishments and what impact they had.
  • Describe a project that you worked on that involved a high level of detail.
  • If you were offered a position with our company when could you start?

In the current job market where the time to fill an open position has increased to a record 68 days, it is crucial to streamline every step of the hiring process. The longer positions are left unfilled, the more productivity and customer service are likely to suffer. Additionally, developing a rapport with the candidate via a phone interview can lead to a more compelling experience during the in-person interview because both parties will be more composed and prepared for this stage. The type of prescreening that takes place during a phone interview can reveal a great deal about a potential employee, and should be a part of every organization’s process.

Bradley Staffing Group is a full-service staffing firm based in Wayne, PA. We are committed to matching A-level talent with best-in-class businesses. Our knowledgeable and well-trained staff brings a combined 70+ years of staffing experience to our clients and candidates alike.  http://bradleystaffinggroup.com/employers/

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