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Productive Telephone Screens

Newsletter • volume 1 • number 7

Telephone interviews are efficient ways to screen candidates before bringing them in the door for a live interview.

Here are a couple of ideas for screening candidates when time is limited or the number of prospects is large.

Conduct a short telephone interview to discover the candidate's "motivation factor." Determining the candidate's motivation can help you weed out those unsuitable candidates who should never come in and take up the time of your internal interviewers.

In probing the motivation factor over the phone, you determine if the candidate's salary expectations and the position salary are compatible. Be sure to include questions like: "Why do you want to change jobs?" or "What do you expect to find in this job that is lacking in your current one?" You can also use this time to determine whether the candidate can meet the physical requirements of the position.

If the number of candidates is very large, set up a voice mail system where they can call in and leave a short voice resumé. Ask them to respond briefly to several open-ended questions: "What are you looking for in this job?" or "What are the most important experiences you can bring to this job now?" or "What was your major accomplishment last year?"

Responses to such questions can tell you a lot about the candidate's experience and motivation and also reveal how articulate she is, how much enthusiasm he might have or how well she follows directions.

If you limit the responses to one or two minutes in total, you can quickly preview dozens of people and gain more insight than using a resumé alone. However, these voice mail resumés work less well with highly technical positions. They work best for outgoing positions such as sales, marketing and office reception.