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Recruiting: Step 4; phone screen

Remember, your candidates may be nervous; use the art of compassion.
Remember, your candidates may be nervous; use the art of compassion.
Marisa Bianchi

The hook email, caught the attention of a passive candidate. Your created “hook” email is important because it is the first attempt at opening a door to this candidate’s interest level. The hook email template will serve both rapport building and time efficiency, if emailed, thoughtfully.

You have met with the hiring manager, created a matrix for sourcing, an email template with plug in spaces, have your applicant tracking system in place, and you are ready for screening these candidates on the phone. Double-check the background of your hooked candidate; is the candidate qualified according to your sourcing matrix? Ask yourself what is unclear while comparing their background to the matrix before scheduling a phone screen.

Creating questions that are tailored to the candidate is essential for a successful phone screen. Your questions should be 50% qualifying within the matrix and the other 50%, behavior related. Placing candidates in front of hiring managers represents you; surprise the hiring manager with your ability to match complementing personalities.

To hold the interest of the candidate during the phone screen, ask questions about the candidate's career passions, initially. Utilize the art of open-ended questions; asking “yes” or “no” questions sets you up for limited information. Body language is a key element to understanding a candidate's truth to what they are saying; however, over the phone you want to pay attention to voice tone. For example, does the candidate have a flat affect when talking about their current responsibilities? If you notice their voice become more passionate discussing certain responsibilities, focus on those when you are selling the position. If you have the candidate's needs understood, you can frame the position into an appealing perspective.

Your introductory questions will entail gathering information related to their career vision. Reflect back what you heard from the candidate to allow the words to be heard and understood; this is how the candidate will begin to relax and be more authentic with you. After your reflective listening skills paid off, provide a summary of the company’s vision and highlight what would be appealing to the candidate's goals. Ensure that the candidate understands the information you have relayed by asking how they understand the vision; again, reflective listening is key. If the candidate practices reflective listening, this is a strong interpersonal skill; you want candidates that have this ability.

During the phone screen, be sure to confirm the following: 1) Authorized to work in the United States. 2) Double check your matrix; does this candidate meet each “must have?” 3) Candidate’s availability for a phone interview; document at least 3 different time/day options.

Set aside a window of time each day to complete phone screens including a 5 minute break to take fresh notes for each candidate. The habit of a scheduled window allows you to analyze how many phone screens you are completing within a consistent time frame.

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