A Barden Guide to Phone Interviews for Hiring Managers

A Barden Guide to Phone Interviews for Hiring Managers (1)

The way companies are conducting interviews is changing and you can expect phone and video interviews to be a part of the future.

At the moment, while some in person interviews are happening, many are switching to phone and video interviews, especially for the earlier stages of the recruitment process.

In Barden we expect, and are prepared for, much more of this over the coming weeks. As a hiring manager you should be too.

It goes without saying that the usual interview prep tips still apply (see below for more on these), but there are a few other things you need to keep in mind when preparing for a phone or video interview.

  1. Dress as if you were heading to the interview in person. Why? It helps to get you in the right mindset and brings an air of professionalism.
  2. Prepare your interview space…avoid slouching on the couch! Set up a quiet, comfortable space where there will be no interruptions. And have a glass of water at hand.
  3. Background noise might be an issue…especially if others are at home too. Make sure to try and eliminate any background noise…pick a quiet room, close the door (sounds obvious but something that could be easily forgotten) and wear earphones or ear pods.
  4. Switch off all notifications on your phone, and laptop (if you’re using one).
  5. Have your CV, pen and paper handy if you wish to make notes.
  6. Another obvious one but…make sure you’re not eating or chewing gum during the interview…remember the sound will travel!
  7. SMILE…smiles can be heard so make sure to smile as you talk.
  8. Make sure to PREPARE…using our usual interview prep tips below…

Usual Interview Prep Tips

  • Develop an interview framework that will really help you find out what you need to know. It’s about digging deeper – way beyond skills, academics and job titles to really establish how, in simple terms, this person will perform in conducting the work you need them to do.
  • Employer brand and an interesting role/culture are all great, but ultimately it’s your personal brand that will make the difference. People work with people, not companies.
  • Remember that interviews are not “normal” situations. It’s your responsibly to make the person you’re interviewing feel at ease and get the most out of your time talking. Try using a person’s hobbies or interests as an ice-breaker.
  • Explain the format of the interview and while you sometimes need to ask the hard questions, do so in a way that avoids confrontation and allows for the best, most honest response. This will allow you to see the candidate’s full potential.
  • Try to understand the person and not just the experience. Attitude can’t be taught; technical skills can.
  • Manage expectations about feedback and if you set an expectation (such as “we’ll be back to you tomorrow”), stick to it. Nothing damages a personal and employer brand more in the interview process than mismatched expectations. If in doubt, it’s better to pleasantly surprise than to marginally disappoint when it comes to setting expectations on turnaround time for feedback or a decision.
  • Don’t leave people behind. After a first interview, it can be very easy to move on with your shortlist and forget about giving feedback to the people that have been unsuccessful. You never know who they know, so protect your personal and employer brand by running a tight process.
  • Remember to include some ‘eye-opener’ questions, which will require the person you’re interviewing to dig deep and give you something less scripted than your standard questions…
    • What would your boss say about you if I met with them for a coffee?
    • What element of your job do you dislike the most?
    • What would you do in [blank] situation?
  • Above all, keep it focused. This is even more important when you are doing the interview over the phone or via video. Don’t be tempted to use stock standard interview questions that you’ve googled at the last minute. Taking ownership for your interviewing strategy will reap rewards in future years, not to mention time in the short run.



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