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4 Reasons Why Phone Interviews Can Improve Your Hiring Process

August 23, 2016

phone-interview.jpgAccording to a recent SHRM survey, the average number of job openings that a recruiter is actively trying to fill at a given period in time is 40. HR professionals are master multi-taskers, but the volume of candidates applying to those requisitions likely translates to a very large workload! Even if a recruiter’s requisitions only attract 20 candidates each, it still means processing 800 candidates’ applications, likely in a short amount of time. After factoring assessments, online applications or resume reviews into the hiring process, the number of qualified applicants will likely drop, however, numerous candidates will remain in the queue for a recruiter or hiring manager to interview.

Unfortunately, the interview is one of the most time–consuming and costly steps in the hiring process. So what can be done to streamline the interview process? Consider adding a structured telephone or video screening interview, preferably after a candidate has completed an application or submitted a resume, and passed any required assessments.

Hiring managers are likely familiar with the in-person interview, however not all utilize a telephone screening interview, or “phone screen” in their hiring processes. In fact, according to the SHRM survey mentioned earlier, only 41% of responding organizations conduct phone screens for executive level positions, and only 55% do for hourly positions. Conducting a structured, behaviorally-based phone screening interview, based on competencies that have been shown to predict success in the target position, can be a fairly easy way to streamline the interview process so that you are only inviting top candidates to interview in-person.

Here are four reasons why utilizing a phone screen is a smart bet for your organization.

  1. Organizations can save money by not having to invite as many candidates on-site for an interview. After utilizing a phone interview to screen out candidates that are not qualified for the position, only the final, best-matched candidates need to be invited to interview in-person. On-site interviews can be costly, especially if candidates are traveling from out-of-state, and the organization is footing the bill for travel and lodging. Let’s assume that a flight costs $300, a hotel costs $150, meals total $50, and the time spent with the candidate ranges from $20-200, depending on the salaries of the interviewers, and how long the interviews last. By implementing the use of phone interviews earlier in the hiring process, an organization could save over $500 per candidate.

  1. Phone screens take less time to conduct. Unlike an in-person interview, which may require having to take the time to put together an agenda, find lunch companions and coordinate multiple schedules for a half or full day interview, a phone screen interview can be as short as 15 minutes, or as long as an hour or more. Regardless of the phone screen structure, the information gathered by the interviewer will inform whether the candidate should progress to the next stage in the hiring process or be rejected, with less of a time commitment on either individuals’ end.

  2. Make candidates happy. Many candidates will be very pleased to learn that they do not have to take a day off of work and dress up in a suit in order to attend an interview. An organization can gain some goodwill from job applicants by creating a hiring process that only requires the most serious and best-matched candidates to commit their time and energy to a longer in-depth, in-person interview. There’s no such thing as too much good PR, and creating a candidate-friendly hiring process is a great way to boost an organization’s favorability in the community and beyond.

  1. Cover more ground and make significant progress in whittling down the candidate pool. By dividing the interview process into a couple of stages, interviewers have the ability to ask candidates more questions, covering more competencies for applicants who progress to an in-person interview. Additionally, the phone screen interview is a good time to verify that the information a candidate provided on his or her resume or application is accurate and consistent. For example, it would be beneficial to find out that a Welder candidate does not have a welding certificate or any experience in that field prior to bringing them onsite to speak with a prospective supervisor. That candidate could be removed from the hiring process based on the information that he provided, by confirming that he did not meet basic qualifications of the position.

Goals of having more money, time, happiness and progress are values that most organizations and job applicants share. By adding a phone screen to your hiring process, your organization may be able to achieve at least some of those goals, while allowing hiring managers to make an informed selection decision.

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Vicki Marlan Vicki Marlan is a Consulting Associate based in the Pittsburgh office of PSI. Vicki provides client support across many different industries including manufacturing, technology and healthcare. Her areas of expertise include developing selection tools and interview guides, providing training and support for PSI’s applicant tracking system, as well as assisting clients with requests and questions regarding tools and processes.