The Telephone Interview...
What Do You Say After You Say Hello?


A. Prepare a series of technical questions that will be asked of each candidate during the telephone interview. These questions should seek to provide information considered as 'initial qualifiers' in candidate selection. Coordinate your efforts with others involved in the hiring decision. Avoid duplication and appearance of disunity. (Prepare a more extensive set of technical questions for face-to-face interviews.)
  B.   Prioritize the questions: "Must have," "Would like to have," and "Sure would be nice to have, but can live without."
  C.   Review the data and personality profile of the candidate with the recruiter prior to the telephone call.
  D.   Schedule exact time for the call and keep it. (One missed interview is unprofessional; two spells disaster.)

Shaking Hands

Introductions and confirmation of name and confirmation that this is a good time to talk. Confirm the confidentiality of information that will be exchanged. Explain the purpose of the call and the agenda.
  Briefly give the title and responsibilities of the position you are seeking to fill.

Break the Ice

(Some sample script to get it flowing.)
"I know you know something about the position we are seeking to fill in the ___ department. Tell me what benefits you can bring to our company in this position."

Get Technical

"To be fair to you, I'm going to ask you a series of questions aimed at exploring your depth and breadth of technical knowledge. There are no right or wrong answers, so this isn't a test. It is more for judging your knowledge as it relates to our company's needs. Please answer the questions as succinctly as possible, providing any details you feel necessary or relevant to the questions." (5-10 technical questions.)

Check Out The Personality
  "What do you like about what you are presently doing?"
  "What don't you like about what you are now doing?"
"Describe what you would consider an ideal working relationship within a company."
  "Tell me, briefly, about your life when you aren't working."

Sell Yourself

"Now I'd like to take some time and tell you a little about me, my role in the company, and why the company is seeking to attract talent like you." (Here's your chance to shine.)

Transition Question

"Based upon what we've discussed and what you know about us, what questions do you have about the position?"

End it Positively

  "We are interviewing several candidates over the telephone and will be inviting the top three into our company to share first hand the challenge we have."
  "Thanks for considering our opportunity as a step in your career."


1. Qualify the candidate vs. the opening.
  2.   Re-evaluate the opening specifications.
  3.   Rate the candidate on a 1 (poor) to 10 (great)
scale in two categories:

  Candidate vs. the opening.
    Candidate vs. other candidates interviewed.

Communicate as soon as possible your interest or disinterest with the candidate. Set the image of decisiveness. Keep interest high. "Everyone wants to be pursued."

  If employing The Right People is the key to a successful business, then the interviews to determine who you will employ must be as effective and efficient as possible. At best, no matter how many times you've interviewed someone, the process is imperfect, difficult and fraught with pitfalls. And it's expensive. Based on studies of some of the most efficiently run companies, filling a $50,000 a year position will cost between $7,500 and $10,000 in interviewing expenses and an incalculable loss of valuable company production. All this before an offer is even made!
    You can improve effectiveness and reduce expenses by conducting telephone interviews before arranging face-to-face meetings.
    Telephone interviews can significantly reduce expenses by eliminating wasteful face-to-face interviews -- only if the candidate has been pre-screened and pre-qualified by an industry specialist: a service-oriented, professional recruiter who knows your company.

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