6 awesome tips to conduct an effective phone interview

HR Insight

Your job descriptions are well-written and attract a long list of talents. Now, how to narrow down the candidate list is the next question. One great way to start is by conducting a phone interview. This initial interview tends to be quick and simple, but, it needs to be done properly to get results.

Adecco Recruitment Consultants provide 6 simple tips to help you get the most out of a phone interview.

Be structured

The length of a phone interview should be around 15 to 30 minutes to quickly assess candidates’ qualification while keeping detailed questions for the possible in-person interview later.

Hence, it is recommended that you should carefully design your interview structure beforehand. You can start with a brief introduction of yourself, the company and summary the job duties. Then, give the candidates 1 – 2 minutes to introduce themselves and their previous experiences or the reason for applying. After that, you can ask relevant questions to learn more about the candidates such as their motivation, personality, and soft skills. Finally, give them time to ask you back.

Create your question list

Once you’ve already structured the phone interview with the above suggestions, you will have approximately 10 – 15 minutes to discuss. You should draw up a question list that reflects this timeframe.

Before working on your questions, make sure that you clearly understand the job descriptions, the department’s goals for new recruits and your business strategy. Come up with a question list based on these factors and use it for all shortlisted applicants to ensure fair comparisons and evaluations.

The most important questions, usually about must-have requirements, should be asked first to help you instantly indicate unqualified candidates. Also, prioritize open-ended questions which allow the candidates to give clear and sharp answers, so you can record and make a better decision later.

Ask about issues in their profile

Before making the call, remember to bring all needed material in fronts of you, such as the candidate’s CV, cover letter, portfolio, social media profile, and your job descriptions. Take a look at these items to see if there’re any concerns about their skillset and experience. If it does, ask them to explain and jot down their answers carefully for further consideration.

Make a quick fact check

Job seekers can intentionally overrate themselves and pretend to be the best fit for the job. As reported by the Bangkok Post, more than half of candidates lie on their CV. Fortunately, a phone interview can help you spot these untrue applications out.

Whenever the candidate cites a specific figure, especially ones related to their achievements and skills to excel the works, you should note down and ask about it again after a few questions. If they keep the same answers, it’s most likely that they’re being honest about their ability.

Be aware of burning out

Relentless pressure from the turnover rate and recruitment process may push you to cram as many phone interviews as possible in one day. However, this is probably not going to work, and even makes things worse. You will end up getting interview fatigue from having too many calls in one day. In consequence, you will feel less engaged in the discussion, pay less attention to the information provided by the candidates and likely to make poor hiring decisions.

Mention the next steps

Before you hang up the phone, remember to share the next steps of the recruitment process with your candidates. This will help you control redundant follow up such as emails or phone calls from rejected candidates, asking when you will contact them back. Your courtesy will surely enhance your candidate experience, benefit your employer image and maintain your active talent pool.


Next time you start a round of phone interview, keep our handy guide in mind to identify the best candidates without investing too much time or effort.

If you need any recruitment support, contact us now via our email vn.info@adecco.com or our telephone (84) 28 3636 5811 (Ho Chi Minh City Office) or (84) 24 3218 1190 (Hanoi Office).

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