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Checklist for Job Candidate Screening over the Phone

When calling potential prospects, it is of great importance to be able to screen people, to separate the gold from the silver. It is very important to be good at screening, so that you avoid wasting your own time and, of course, the time of the people that you contact. Not all identified potential candidates will have equal credentials for the job. It is therefore very important to sort the right candidates from the wrong ones as early as possible in the process. This is of great interest not only for yourself, so you do not have to waste time on unproductive interviews, but also in the interest of the candidate, who also does not want to waste time.

The two levels of screening candidates over the phone

There are basically two different screenings or telephone interviews that take place when you hook up with someone who could be the right one:
  1. The first interview, called a basic screening, is conducted when you want to figure out if someone is a fit. This is when you are using a template.
     
  2. The second telephone interview, called development of a potential candidate, is conducted after you have decided that someone appears to be on target, but you need more complete background information in order to have an accurate picture. It also enables you to get right to the questions and the essence of the candidate when later interviewing this person.
Basic telephone screening of candidates

In trying to decide whether to go further with a candidate, you will sometimes find that the candidate's written presentation (resume) does not clearly state what you need to know. By comparing the requirements listed in the template you prepared at the very beginning of the search with the candidate's resume, you should, in at least half the cases, be able to tell if somebody should continue in the process. But, there will always be people you need to question by phone in order to screen them. In some cases, you will even deal with people who are afraid to submit a resume (even if they are very interested). When this is the case, you just have to get everything you need over the phone so you can create your own complete resume on the prospect. During the telephone interview process you always need to ask the same questions, so it is very helpful to use the template.

If the person in question has received the position specification/ candidate profile, keep in mind that you can ask him to take the page with requirements listed and match them up with his own background, in writing. When doing this, the person has to be specific. If you choose to do the match-up at this point, you should not ask the prospect to do the match-up after the face-to-face interview.

Candidate development screening over the phone

The development of a potential candidate interview is used when you want to flesh them out, after knowing or believing that they are on target. The information that you gather is basically what you need in preparation for the in-person interview. By following the checklist below, you should be able to gain enough information to write a career brief before even meeting with the candidate. By obtaining every piece of background information before meeting someone, you will find it easier to spot the weak spots or potential gaps in the career history or moves that appear to be happening. You can and should, basically, by having someone "developed" before the meeting, be able to cut to the meat. In developing a candidate workup, you should obtain the following information about prospects that you plan to interview:

Checklist for candidate development screening over the phone
  • Education and work experience, dates with gaps reconciled
  • Succinct organization descriptions-what business, scale for each company
  • Position titles
  • Organizational chart (above, on line, and below)/reporting relation-ship
  • Size of the department, division, or group responsible for
  • Position responsibilities
  • At least three major accomplishments in each position
  • Motives for interest in position
  • Reasons for job change
  • Personality
  • Thoughts on why this prospect might be a good candidate
  • Accomplishments relating to the specific responsibilities enumerated in the spec
  • Details of source(s) by whom mentioned
  • Level of interest and obstacles
When covering the foregoing information for a prospect, remember to write down the search number, log number, date, and year as well. If the next step is to interview the prospect, make a copy of the information covered and place the original in the search folder and the copy in the interview folder.