The telephone interview is an indispensable screening mechanism. Online job applications can generate up to fifty resumes for senior-level positions and over 200 resumes in response to junior and mid-level positions, according to Debra McGinty of Inc. magazine. Telephone interviews, if conducted correctly, can effectively reduce an overwhelming applicant pool to a manageable shortlist of impressive talent that meets all the job requirements.
However, although telephone interviews have their advantages in terms of time, they also have specific disadvantages. Many candidates in expert fields do not excel in interviewing skills. An interviewer must be skilled in recognizing such candidates and be able to acquire essential information while being aware of the pitfalls of non-visual communication such as:
- The absence of nonverbal communication cues. A common statistic often quoted is that over 90 percent of information is conveyed through body language or facial expression; a statement that is based on the rule by the famous Albert Mehrabian. A telephone interviewer must be aware of the information that is unavailable with the absence of body language and facial expression.
- An unskilled interviewer may fail to obtain pertinent information or to consider the importance of an organization’s culture. An interviewer must have the required candidate qualifications and skills identified and questions prepared in advance of any telephone conversation. It is important to consider the culture of an organization and the type of individual who will fit the work environment. Discerning individual fit through appropriate questioning is an acquired skill.
- The applicant may be uncomfortable with phone interviews. An inexperienced interviewer may interpret a lack of exuberance to be a reflection of character, but many talented, expert individuals are uncomfortable with certain communication methods. An experienced interviewer is able to ask succinct questions that obtain the required information without causing discomfort to the candidate.
If you have additional questions on constructing a phone interview, contact our team of expert recruiters.