How to Set Up an Interview Call

When you call candidates, ask if they are available at the moment.
When you call candidates, ask if they are available at the moment. (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Preparation is the most important element in making an interview call. Knowing when you are available and how long the interview will likely take keeps your phone call short and to the point. This is especially important if you catch the candidate at a time he cannot talk on the phone for an extended period.

Write down a list of times in the next few days that you are available to do a phone interview. This helps the phone call go faster as it prevents the repeated question between you and the applicant of “When is good for you?”

Know how long the interview is likely to take so that the applicant can schedule the right amount of quiet time she will need to answer all of your questions. Knowing this information also keeps the conversation on track when the interview occurs, which is important if you have other candidates to interview.

Identify yourself slowly and clearly when you call and speak with the applicant or leave a voice mail. Be sensitive about leaving a message if you call the applicant at work. He may not wish anyone in her office to know he is seeking another position. Just leave your name and number, not offering who you work for or what you are calling about.

State what job you are calling about when you identify yourself. Although the applicant may be very organized and know exactly what position you are referring to, if she is busy when you call it may take a few moments before she remembers. This is especially true if she has applied to many. Do not cause her to struggle to remember what job she applied for. Your introduction may say, “Hello, I’m Mary Smith from ABC Consultants. I’m calling to see if I could arrange a time to do a phone interview with you for the assistant position you applied for.”

Ask the candidate if that moment is an OK time to talk through some preliminary questions for a few minutes, or ask if he has enough time to do the whole interview. Understand that the interviewee may be about to leave or be surrounded with children and unable to properly concentrate on the interview right then. If you cannot talk then yourself or the candidate cannot, offer the times you wrote down that you are available.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you email the candidate to set up a phone interview, include all of the introduction material you would say on the phone. Also title the subject something related to doing a phone interview. Include the name of the position. You might write, "Phone Interview for ABC Consultants Assistant Job."

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