You’ve been on the receiving end of a number of phone interviews throughout your life, spanning all the way to when you were in high school trying to find your first job. It’s nerve-racking and you want to be sure that you make a good first impression on your possible next employer.
When you’re the one that’s being interviewed, there are a million things going through your head constantly second-guessing yourself and whether you’re saying the right things. What most people don’t realize is that the interviewer is just as nervous about conducting a good interview that asks the right questions and ensures that you want to work for their company.
The interviewer must make sure they’re asking everyone the same questions as to eliminate variability from the interview process, be consistent with each candidate so you can better evaluate their answers, be able to answer all of the candidate’s questions as to properly represent the company, etc. When you really think about it, conducting the phone interview is just as difficult as it is for the person that is being interviewed.
But don’t fright, this blog post will be going over the ground rules and some tips on conducting phone interviews as well as a free downloadable template that you can keep handy and reference whenever you need to.
Downloadable List of Phone Interview Questions
Before we get in the nitty gritty, feel free to click on the below link to be led to a downloadable template that you can keep handy whenever you need to hop on the phone with a new candidate.
Phone interview etiquette
First things first, you need to understand how to properly convey yourself as well as the company’s mission and message if you want your candidate to take the position seriously. The following are some tips for you to follow to ensure that your phone interviews go off without a hitch.
- Be on time & prepared for the interview
Before each interview, take 10-15 minutes to review each candidate’s resume along with the job description and the questions you want to ask so that you can be ensured that you’re fully prepared for your interview and give off a good first impression. This benefits you because you feel more confident and prepared for the situation, and benefits your candidate because they feel like their time is valued as well as getting a good first impression of their possible future employer.
- Be flexible with your scheduling
When you’re recruiting hourly employees, it’s important to understand that they most often have a number of other responsibilities in their lives like school, another job, etc. So they typically need some breathing room when scheduling out their phone interviews in order to work around some of their other tasks. That’s why it’s best to first ask for their availability, then work around it so that you’re getting them at their best.
- Give them the chance to ask as many questions as they need
Remember that you and your company are being examined just as closely as the candidate is, that’s why you should provide ample time during the duration of the interview to see if the candidate has any questions or concerns about anything you’re saying. As well as allowing time at the end of the interview to see if they had any questions that went unanswered
In addition to helping out the candidate, hearing their questions helps you understand the type of person they are. So make sure that you’re giving them time to speak.
- Ask all candidates the same questions
You want to ensure that you’re providing a fair interview for each and every one of your candidates, that’s why you need to make a list of every question you want to ask to ensure there is no bias in your interview process.
- Understand their motivations
If you really want to understand if your candidate would be a good fit for your organization, then you have to speak with them regarding their motivations and what they’re looking for in their next position.
They could be a student looking for some extra cash or someone that’s passionate about the position and is looking to make it into a career. If their motivations align with your company’s culture and mission statement, then you’ll find that you’ll have an easier time selling them on the position and the company altogether.
- Let them know the next steps
Towards the end of the interview, let the candidate know how the rest of your hiring process will look like, along with when they can expect to hear back. Many companies make the mistake of never getting back with candidates that didn’t make it to the next step.
While it’s understandable that you’re busy and don’t always have time to get back with each and every person, you must respect the fact that they took the time out to speak with you. So you should show them the same gratitude by giving them a response. That said, make sure that you’re getting back with them when you say you will so that you don’t end up hurting your employer brand.
Questions to ask candidates
Now that you’re better familiarized with the etiquette that should accompany your phone interviews, let’s go over some of the questions that you can ask your candidates to better understand them and what they’re looking for in an employer.
- What times are you available to work?
You may just need someone to work morning shifts, someone to work on the weekends, or someone that can come in whenever you need them, but the only way you’ll find out is if you ask. This is especially important for hourly positions where companies need people to work hours outside of the typical 9 to 5.
- What experience do you have in (industry you’re recruiting for)?
Running a nursing home and want someone that has experience with providing care? Make sure to ask and be open to hearing experience from all types of roles. A candidate may not have direct experience in a nursing home, but they could have years of experience in babysitting numerous siblings that could transfer well into the position.
- What made you leave your last position?
This question can open up a lot on the type of person the candidate is and let you know if they’ll be a good fit for your company. If they left because the job interfered with their school schedule, then you know you can work around this, if they quit because they couldn’t work full-time and you’re only looking for full-time employees, then you know it’s not a good fit.
- Ask them about their past positions
The best way to understand their strengths and abilities is by asking questions regarding their past positions and what they learned from them. Not only is it good for better understanding their background, but it’s also great for understanding how they felt about their past positions. If they’re overwhelmingly negative and don’t have many positive things to say about what they did or learned, then that should be a big red flag. If they speak with pride in their work and their performance, then you know they’re most likely a hard worker.
- What are your career goals?
You could be speaking with someone that ends up managing one of your stores, but you wouldn’t know that until you ask them directly. Asking a candidate about their career goals can give you a transparent view of what they hope to accomplish along with what they’re looking for in their next role. Which is a great way to see if they would be a good fit or not.
- Can you tell me an experience where you had to deal with a troublesome customer?
Hourly employees are known for having to deal with customers that can sometimes be rude and difficult to deal with it. No matter how much trouble a customer may be causing an employee, it’s crucial that they keep calm as to ensure they live up to their employer’s standards of conduct and don’t hurt the brand. That’s why it’s a good idea to ask them about their past experiences when dealing with less than ideal customers and how they fared in these situations.
- How long did you stay at your last job? Why did you leave?
Hourly positions are notorious for attracting candidates that stay for a short amount of time, then quickly move onto the next job. That’s why it’s important that you better understand an employee’s past work experiences so that you have a better idea of whether they’re there for the long haul or not. Getting hourly employees to stay is hard enough, you should make it easier on yourself by finding the employees that are the most dedicated.
- What are your experiences like working as part of a team?
Restaurant, hospitality, as well as a number of other industries, rely heavily on collaboration and teamwork amongst their employees in order to reach their goals. Which is why it’s a good idea to ask your candidate questions revolving around their past experiences working as a team, as well as how they feel about teamwork in general. Also, if you’re having scheduling issues with your employees or are receiving complaints regarding your systems for organizing employee shifts, then take a look at some of the features offered by Deputy. Also, feel free to to learn more.
- Do you have reliable transportation?
Once again, industries with hourly employees are demanding and you never know when you’ll need someone at the last minute to come and cover a shift. That’s why it’s a good idea to touch on how they plan on transporting themselves to and from work each day. This doesn’t mean you should only hire people with their own car and drivers licenses, just that it’s an important topic to touch on before they’re hired and reveal that they have to come in 20 minutes late each day due to the bus schedule.
- How do you respond to high-stress situations?
Have you ever been working at a restaurant during a lunch or dinner rush? If you haven’t, just know that it’s pandemonium and things get really stressful for the employees. Even in the context of a busy lunch rush, your employees need to keep their composure and ensure they’re living up to the employer brand. Make sure to ask them a few questions regarding how they’ve responded to being in high-stress environments in the past, this is especially important if you’re looking to fill a position in restaurants, where the environment is highly susceptible to stress.
- When are you available to start?
This question should be asked towards the end of the interview when you’re feeling positive about the candidate and think they’ll most likely be hired. If you really need someone by the end of the week, then you should make it known to the employee so they understand what’s expected of them.
Tips for conducting phone interviews
Now here are some quick tips for you to keep in mind so you can be assured your interviews go off without a hitch and are representing your company to the best of your ability.
- Send them a phone interview email invitation so they know exactly when the interview is, who they’ll be speaking with, along with any other important pieces of information.
- Have the candidate’s resume in plain sight so it can be easily referenced while you’re asking questions.
- Find an area that is quiet and will not have any distractions.
- Keep some notes during the interview so that you can compare notes regarding all of your candidates at the end of the interview process.
Along with assuring that you’re providing a high-quality interview process, you also need to be on the lookout for red flags that signal you’re dealing with a bad candidate. Some of these red flags include:
- Being Late: We all understand that sometimes life gets in the way and we end up being late for certain things. That said, unless your candidate has a good excuse for their tardiness, showing up late is a no-no and is a negative indicator of their future work performance.
- No Distracting Noises: Just as you went the extra mile to ensure that you were in a distraction-less space, they should also give the same courtesy by ensuring they’re in an area where no side noises will leak into the call. So if you hear a TV in the background, you know they didn’t put that much effort into building a distraction-less environment.
- Being Unprofessional: The candidate should be showing you the utmost courtesy as well as having their best manners on display. If they’re being stand-offish or difficult to deal with, then that shows they obviously aren’t to interested in getting the position.
Whenever you conduct a phone interview, you’re often the very first person from your company that the candidate has interacted with. So it’s crucial that you prepare properly in order to give a good first impression. That said, don’t forget that it is still an interview and that the candidate should be going the extra mile. Also, don’t forget to keep your downloadable template nearby for all of your phone interviews to ensure that they go smoothly.
Once your candidates get past the phone interview stage, you’ll need a way to build and send out employee schedules efficiently so that your managers can focus on other tasks that maximize your store. Click on the button below to schedule a time to speak with a representative that can fill you in on what Deputy can do for your business.
The information contained in this article is general in nature and you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs. Legal and other matters referred to in this article are of a general nature only and are based on Deputy's interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied on in place of professional advice. Deputy is not responsible for the content of any site owned by a third party that may be linked to this article and no warranty is made by us concerning the suitability, accuracy or timeliness of the content of any site that may be linked to this article. Deputy disclaims all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded) for any error, inaccuracy, or omission from the information contained in this article and any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.