Posted by Matt Swistak at

As a recruiter, you need to prepare for a phone interview in much the same way as a candidate would. Because your interview may be a candidate’s initial introduction to a position or company, you want to make a positive first impression. Here are some tips on how to conduct a phone interview the right way.

  • Research the Candidate

Find out as much as you can about the candidate before the interview. For example, read and take notes on their resume, LinkedIn profile, website and other social media accounts. Write down questions about their skills and experience to verify their credibility, as well as anything you need more clarification about. You should also find out where the candidate currently works and what their career path is to see whether they may be a match for an open role.

  • Find a Quiet Location

Ensure you conduct your interview from a quiet location. This may be your office, conference room, bedroom, kitchen or other private room. Ensure you eliminate distractions as much as possible. For example, close your door and ask not to be interrupted for the next half hour. Ask your family and friends not to be present if you’re conducting the interview at home. Turn off your phone features, such as call waiting and text or email alerts, as well as the radio, television or other outside noise. 

  • Focus on Your Conversation

Be mentally present during your phone interview. For example, relate the candidate’s background and the role they’re being considered for to what the candidate is telling you. Determine whether the candidate’s motivations, expectations and career objectives match what the position has to offer. Take notes on what you’re saying and what the candidate is saying so you can better recall the conversation later. Finally, think about whether the candidate is engaging and transparent, leaves a positive impression and would be a good fit for the role.

  • Listen More Than You Talk

Ask open-ended questions, then listen to how the candidate answers them. For example, find out about the candidate’s background, what they liked and disliked about previous roles, what motivated them to stay or leave, and what their goals are. The purpose of your interview is to learn more about the candidate and how they fit with an organization. Because the candidate knows more about him- or herself than you do, sit back and pay attention to what they have to say.

  • Discuss the Next Steps

When closing, thank the candidate for their time and let them know what the next steps are. Tell the candidate whether you feel they’re a good fit for the position and when they should expect to hear from you. By doing so, you can avoid having the candidate call or email you to see where you’re at in the recruiting process or ask why they haven’t heard from you.


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