The Casting Call: Sifting through your applicants | ESP IT The Casting Call: Sifting through your applicants | ESP IT


The Casting Call: Sifting through your applicants

Save your company some time and money by beginning your hiring process on the phone.  Phone interviews can narrow down your applicant list and help you find compatible and qualified employees.  However, giving a phone interview can be just as difficult as being interviewed over the phone.  Take some notes from casting directors to conduct a great phone interview and be sure to do the following 3 things:
1. Prepare the set
Use a headset. Ever get a pain in your neck after a long phone call where you shoved the phone between your ear and your shoulder so you could ferociously take notes?  A director doesn’t follow an actor around with a boom mic or push around a camera; he has a grip for that. So why should you do things the hard way?   Instead, use a headset while giving phone interviews.  This allows you to be hands-free so you can more easily take detailed notes about the phone interview. This will set you up to ask better, more pointed questions in your follow-up, in person, interview.
Turn off all distractions.  Before any interview, turn off pop-up reminders and close or minimize your email so that you can stay present in the interview.  It can take up to 25 minutes to regain focus and by that time your interview may be over. The simple act of setting your phone to do not disturb could help you hire the right candidate.
2. Get to know the character
Research isn’t just for the person being interviewed.  Any director will have an idea of what type of character they are casting.  As an interviewer, you need to get to know your candidate.  Read their cover letter, resume, and any other materials you have been given during the application process prior to the interview.  Researching your prospective employee will help you save time for more important questions in the interview and will show the interviewee that you value them enough to learn about them.
Just as a casting director may ask for an audition reel, you may even want to offer an online questionnaire before a phone interview to ask more intentional questions, get a better feel for culture fit, and have a better idea of what questions should be asked in the interviews.
3.Smile and Deliberate
In an interview, you are trying to see if the candidate is a good fit for your company and they are trying to find out if you are a good fit for them.  A director needs an actor to take direction; she can’t do that by sounding annoyed or looking angry (this isn’t a Hollywood movie…well you know what I mean). While on the phone, be sure to smile, but do even more than that: pay attention to the tone of your voice.  Do you sound annoyed, disinterested, harried?  Put your company’s metaphorical best foot forward and be pleasant and inviting.
Also, take a moment to give interviewees a chance to answer questions.  You can practice the 1,2,3 rule and make sure to wait to talk again until you’ve given the applicant 3 seconds to respond.  This will help to eliminate interruptions and give you a chance to think about their response and ask for elaboration or clarification.  Giving the same questions to each candidate is also a good practice because phone interviews offer many limitations.  Using the same questions give you a uniform way to compare each interviewee.
A phone interview, when done correctly, can give you the details needed to find a great candidate for your callbacks (the in-person interview). If you’re on the fence about a candidate, give them the benefit of the doubt and bring them in for a face-to-face, as some things can only be learned through non-verbal clues. By preparing and conducting your phone interviews with these things in mind, you’ll allow candidates to put their best foot forward, and you’ll get yourself an A-list cast.


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