When you’ve run that job advert and the resume’s start flowing in, it won’t be long before its time to pick up the phone and start contacting the better applicants.
Obviously, your main line of questioning is about determining if their skills, qualifications and work experience are a good fit to your vacancy. On top of that, here’s a few of my tips from having conducted probably 2,000 – 3,000 phone screenings.
1. It’s all about speed.
If you receive an application that in your mind ticks most of the main boxes for you (and you should have prepared a position description before your advertised – one for another day), then pick up the phone ASAP. Good talent doesn’t sit on the shelf for long. Assume they’re an active job seeker and that they have applied to other job adverts. You need to get your opportunity in front of them quickly so you are at least “in the race”
2. Remember you’re the employer.
Some employers approach phone screening as if the candidate is doing them a favour. While they might end up doing a lot for your business if you employ them, we’re a long way from that point right now. Be clear about your criteria. Not surprisingly, candidates also appreciate talking to employers who are clear on their requirements and the type of skills and experience they’re looking for.
3. Don’t discuss the money now.
Unless you’ve spelt out exactly how much the job is paying in your advert, leave discussion about salary aside until and unless, you invite them in for an interview (the interview is the appropriate place to discuss salary).
Trust me on this point: candidates who ask about salary during phone screening – especially early in the piece and predicating it with “I just don’t want to waste anyone’s time if we’re not on the same page” are the wrong kind of candidates. It might wash for some blue collar and trades positions, but it’s never on for white collar jobs.
4. Is distance an issue?
If you know they live a long way from your business, ask how they would handle the commute and if it might be a concern (ie: after 6 months how are you likely to feel?).
The right candidates will tell you that distance, time etc is not as issue for them. To be fair it is for some, and you’re better off covering this point up-front, rather than waiting for it to be an issue down the track.
5. If it sounds good, jump in!
Long gone are the days when recruiters (let alone employers) could schedule all their interviews for a single day during the week that suited them best.
When you’re competing for good talent, you need to act quickly, bringing in each of your strong prospects for interview as and when you identify them. If that means it’s little inconvenient for you, just remember that if you delay them, your competitor might get in ahead of you.
Remember, the name of the game is to identify, qualify and meet in the shortest possible timeframe.
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