on a phone interviewA study by Cisco on the International Workforce has revealed that mobile working – be that at home, cafe, or  hotel – is becoming the norm. In fact 60% of the survey respondents suggested ‘that they don’t need to be in the office anymore to be effective’.

In an increasingly mobile workforce where top talent can be under time pressure, on the move or in far flung places, the phone interview has real advantages over the face to face interview. This is because phone interviews are largely location independent, require only basic facilities, last a shorter amount of time, have no dress code, and tend to be able to occur at much shorter notice.

Experience has shown that the most effective phone interviews will adhere to a range of best practices and we  have outlined 7 tips for performing effective phone interviewees below.

1.)        Call should occur between land-lines

Thanks to advancing technology, you have an overwhelming selection of technologies that you can use to perform the phone interview. However,  it should always be the goal to have both interviewee and interviewer conducting the call from land-lines to ensure good quality reception and no interruptions. This is also an excellent environment for both asking and responding to questions and for providing clarification.

2.)        Use Skype video interviews if you can guarantee good picture quality

With broadband services now being increasingly stable, Skype video call is now a viable alternative to the phone interview. In fact, it can enhance the level of communication and interaction during the interview  as  both parties can observe each others respective body language. (Research has suggested that up to 93% of communication is non verbal.)

However, be sure to check that there is a good quality camera at both ends along with a good broadband connection, as poor picture quality can be distracting for both parties.

3.)        Using Skype for Phone Interview Is Advantageous

Another advantage of Skype is that it is a multimedia communication channel, which means that as well as being able to voice message each other, participants can text each other in order to clarify points, questions, spellings etc.., which will enhance communications. Also, files can be transferred and links can be exchanged and reviewed during the interview. It all adds up to a far more information enriched phone interview process.

4.)         Use Structured Interviews

Structured interviews –  which involve asking candidates the same preset questions –  have been shown to be the most reliable predictor of candidate performance as opposed to informal chats. Structured Interviews are best practice for face to face interviews and this process should also be adopted for phone interviews.

5.)         Use Behavioral Questioning

Behavioral questioning is where candidates must respond to questions by giving real examples of how they have behaved in the work-place in similar situations. The idea is that past performance is the most reliable predictor of future performance. Use behavioral questioning in phone interviews for maximum effectiveness.

6.)          Explain the format of the interview to the candidates

During a phone interview, the interviewee will  be ‘in the dark’, figuratively speaking, and working on minimum information. There will be no visual clues, hints or pointers available to them. Ensure to communicate effectively by explaining the schedule for the meeting and doing a mid-point time check to help all parties keep a track of time.

7.)         Tone and Manner and Behavior

Ensure to sound open and welcoming when you first speak to the candidate, as they may not be able to see your face, however, you want them to feel well received and therefore relaxed.

Try to speak at a slightly slower speed than when face to face and be sure to enunciate as the candidate is lacking the additional visual cues, and will need to focus more on your words in order to comprehend what you are saying.

Avoid conference phones if possible, as the quality is not good and there can be a tendency for speakers to move around which means their voice fades in and out, making comprehension harder.

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