Tips for Interviewers: Creating a Telephone Interview Script for Successful, Consistent Interviewing

Are you an interviewer looking for ways to ensure a successful interview? Discover interviewing tips that will allow you to save time during the interviewing process and lead to consistently successful interviews. Read about preparing an interview script below.

| Aspect Consulting | 28 September 2018

Do You Have to Inteview Someone?

Telephone interviews are an easy, time-saving way to screen candidates.  Developing a script or template for interviewing will make conducting telephone screens even more efficient, especially if your organization has more than one person screening candidates for the same job.  An interview script will help to focus the discussion, make your organization sound more professional, and give you the tools to quickly rate a candidate and compare him or her to other candidates, in order to truly gain the time savings that phone interviews are supposed to result in.

Remember, you want your interview to be brief (no more than 30 minutes) and relatively casual, so preparing a common repeatable script can take any bumbling or stress out the experience.  On the flip side, you don’t want to over-engineer the script.  Just remember you don’t want to come off sounding ridiculously rigid or serious; your goal is to be professional and friendly.

Here are some tips for building a repeatable and reliable script. 

Your script should consist of:

1. Brief Intros: Include a brief introduction of the interviewer and a few-second description of your company.

2. Job Description:  Briefly describe the position to refresh the candidate’s memory.  Phrase it so that the top qualities or skills you are looking for are included.

3. Basic Questions:  Add a few basic questions that lead the candidate to discuss their skill set.  You want to get the candidate speaking in their own words.  Ask open-ended questions that lead the candidate to describe their skills, like:

–  Why did you apply for the position?

–  What skills or qualifications do you possess that are uniquely suited to the position?

–  What do you like best about your current position, and what is the most important skill you are currently utilizing?

–  What do you like least about your current position?

4. Tailored Questions:  Work with your colleagues to develop a few pointed, simple questions tailored to the specific position that pin-point whether the candidate can perform a specific job responsibility (e.g. tell me how you would solve…, tell me how you conduct a meeting.., tell me how you would code…).

5. Resume Specific Questions:  Instruct the interviewer to review the candidate's resume and circle any areas where he/she has questions or sees a lapse in employment.  Use this time to ask for clarification about employment history, certifications, etc.

6. Candidate Questions:  Open up the discussion for any questions the candidate might have about the position.  Listen carefully.  Candidates can reveal a lot about themselves based on the questions they ask you (i.e. are they overly concerned about vacation time, or uninterested in asking any questions at all?).

7. Salary Requirements:  Add the agreed-upon salary range for the position.  You can decide whether you want to share that information during the interview.

8. Decision Timeframes:  Conclude with a basic description of when the next steps will occur (we will be scheduling an in-house interview within the next x days/weeks).

9. Thank-you’s:  Be sure to instruct the interviewer to thank the candidate for their time-even if not a perfect fit for the current position, the candidate could be a fit for another.

10. Rating System:  Institute a simply numeric ratings system over a series of categories.  For example, suggest the interviewer numerically rate the candidate from 1-5 over several areas (e.g. experience, technical skills, communication skills, and interest) and record any notes about the candidate immediately after the interview.

With a repeatable script in hand with a method for recording simple results, you will get the most out of your interview process.  Good luck!

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