|By Nicole C. Moss & Debra Woog|
More than eight million positions are advertised on the job boards right now, and an estimated three to four million active job seekers are using these resources. The rate of hires has barely changed during the recent economic shift, yet the new talent in the applicant pool has increased significantly.
A surfeit of candidates for open positions can pose some interesting questions and problems for small business owners. It’s easy to end up spending far too much time wading through resumes, e-mails, and voicemails to determine which candidates merit interviews. A thoughtful, thorough telephone screening process can dramatically reduce the valuable time spent selecting top candidates prior to conducting in-person interviews. Here are seven steps that can help you develop a telephone screening process that will save you time, and quickly get you to face-to-face interviews with the best applicants.
1. Define Your Goal
2. Define Your Culture
3. Know Your Price
4. Know Your Deadline
5. Create Your Question List
6. Conduct the Phone Interviews
If you decide that the candidate is one that you may want to bring in for an in-person interview, let them know what to expect next. At the end of the phone screen, explain that you are creating a shortlist for in-person interviews, and set expectations for your decision date. If you are certain by the end of the conversation that a candidate is not right for the position, then be up front about it. Politely disengage the conversation, explaining why their qualifications do not meet your criteria. Don’t underestimate people – candidates almost always understand these reasons, and will still find the interview to have been a positive experience if they believe they have been fairly assessed and fairly treated. Remember, you may come back to this candidate for another position, and you want them to welcome the opportunity to be considered again.
7. Follow Up
Nicole Moss provides emerging companies with recruiting consulting services through her company Blueprint. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Debra Woog, principal of connect2, provides customized, cost-effective human resource management on an interim basis. She welcomes your comments at email@example.com.