It’s a common misconception that the interview process starts with the formal interview. However, an HR phone screen comes first. Before a candidate speaks with the hiring manager about why they’re the right person for a position, the recruiting team wants to know if they’re qualified in the first place. This saves recruiters valuable time that would be otherwise wasted on interviewing underqualified candidates.
Of course, experienced recruiters know a solid resume and cover letter when they see one. However, they also know that even the best resume can come from a woefully unqualified candidate. That’s why separating candidates early in the hiring process is essential to an efficient recruiting effort. That’s also why the phone screen with HR is so important.
However, what is a phone screen interview? In simple terms, a phone screening involves assessing whether candidates possess the skills and experience relevant to the position. Screening is particularly important as anyone can just say they have the skills listed on their resume. It’s another thing entirely to back that up in an interview. If a candidate’s dishonest on their resume, an experienced recruiter will sniff that out in 15 to 30 minutes – even faster if the right tools are involved.
As such, this process is essential to winnowing the candidate pool, to separate the qualified from the unqualified. This ultimately allows recruiters to streamline the hiring process, and reach the very best candidates before their competitors. It’s only a matter of creating the right phone screen process, designed to efficiently reach and process candidates.
With this information in mind, we can see how the screening interview represents a sensitive point in the hiring process. Truly a make-or-break factor to the ongoing success of any recruitment drive, the screening interview must be handled with particular care. In fact, CareerPlug reports that 58% of candidates reported declining job offers due to poor candidate experience. As such, it’s important to get off on the right foot.
That’s why we’re taking this time to cover some simple phone screen interview tips to help you get started.
Foremost, always be prepared. Approach the phone screening with as much seriousness as you would a formal interview. Make notes. Review the job description. Know the key qualifications. Before the first candidate even picks up the phone, your hiring team should know exactly what the ideal candidate looks like. This prep work is half the battle and allows you to design targeted questions to effectively evaluate candidates.
As part of your preparation phase, ensure that you’re using clear and concise questions. At no point should candidates be confused about what’s being asked of them or what the next steps look like. Design your questions accordingly, and be prepared to map out the entire process for the candidate. According to Finances Online, 83% of surveyed candidates reported that overall recruitment experience would be greatly improved if employers provided a clear timeline of the process.
Then there’s a matter of standardizing the interview. Standardization ensures all candidates receive equal opportunity during the screening phase to show why they’re the right candidate for the position. Plus, providing candidates with the same interview helps mitigate bias. When every candidate answers the same questions, recruiters can easily compare them accordingly without relying on intuition to fill in the blanks.
As we said before, you need to select your phone screen interview questions carefully. So, let’s take a look at your options.
When choosing HR screening questions, consider what’s most important to the role. Save the in-depth questions for the formal interview, and only hit on what’s really important. What qualifies the candidate? What disqualifies them?
Here are some screen interview questions to consider.
And these are only a few examples of potential HR screening questions. Finding the ones that work for your organization require an in depth understanding of your ideal candidate and the needs of the role in question.
How do you know if your interview process is working? Interview metrics. In fact, metrics guide how we design everything about the recruitment process, and allow us to improve over time. What’s more, understanding the metrics behind your interview process can lead to be better recruitment ROI and an ultimately better quality of hire.
First of these metrics we’ll consider is time-to-hire. As the interview phase of the hiring cycle represents the largest time sink in the entire process, it’s a key factor in time-to-hire.
Time-to-hire simply refers to how long a candidate spends in the recruitment process from application to onboarding. To find this metric, simply measure the time between when a hire applies for a position and is onboarded with the company To find the average time-to-hire, add this number for every position you hire for and divide that by the number of hires.
A long time-to-hire represents unnecessary bottlenecks in your recruitment efforts. Once again, as the largest time sink in recruitment, interviews are a prime place to start. Adopting simple solutions such as on-demand interviews allow recruiters to reduce the time spent on screening interviews dramatically.
Cost-per-hire is another important metric to consider. As the name implies, it specifically refers to the average amount spent on new hires. According to SHRM, this averages around $4,129. This is closely tied to time-to-hire as the longer it takes to fill a position, the greater the cost-per-hire. As such, the time spent during the interview phase directly relates to the cost of hiring a new employee.