Be Well-Prepared To Pre-Screen Applicants By Telephone

April 1, 2014   //   News

Winnow the applicant pool by pre-screening candidates by phone.

Bob Markey, director of talent acquisition at Day & Zimmermann, a construction and engineering company with 23,000 employees headquartered in Philadelphia, receives more than 50 resumes from candidates for mid- or senior-level positions.

“Obviously, we’re not going to bring them all in,” Markey says. “By selecting the top five candidates and talking with them by phone to assess their interest and overall fit, the company can be more efficient with [its] time and money.”

“Interviewing a candidate in person is a huge time commitment for our management team and the candidate,” says Fran Peters, PHR, human resources manager at SWC Technology Partners Inc., a 150-employee IT consulting company in Oak Brook, Ill. Peters pre-screens top candidates by phone to winnow the field. “We disqualify approximately 75 percent of candidates based on that initial phone screen.”

A good initial phone screen can reveal a wealth of important information, including a candidate’s skills, experience, motivation, professionalism and salary expectations. Phone screens can also give under-the-radar applicants—those who might be overlooked if HR were doing only in-person interviews—an opportunity to shine. “Oftentimes, a candidate you see on paper may not hit all of the bullets, but there is something intriguing,” according to Molly Brennan, managing partner at Koya Leadership Partners in Newburyport, Mass., a national recruiter for nonprofit organizations. “You don’t want to miss a potentially good candidate, but you have to be sure the person is worth the investment of time to meet in person.”

Pre-screenings can help HR professionals develop a rapport with the candidate before the in-person interview, adds Kelly Smith, a corporate recruiter consultant and author of Corporate Recruiter Reveals Who Gets Hired and Why (Excellent Enterprises LLC, 2013). Pre-screening also has the advantage of eliminating visual distractions. According to Rick Baron, SPHR, senior manager of HR operations for a global beverage company in Sarasota, Fla., “The power of the telephone interview, when done properly, is you can focus on what is being said.” (continue with full article)

This article, “Be Well-Prepared to Pre-Screen Applicants by Telephone” originally appeared online at Society For Human Resource Management.

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