Tips on Connecting with a Candidate During a Phone Interview

​Guest Post by Samantha Rupp

Often times interviewing can feel somewhat cold and unexciting for business owners or managers. When interviewing over the phone it can feel even more so. So how do you ensure a meaningful connection with a candidate when performing a phone interview?

#1 Recruit in the right places

Look at the size and scale of your business. Do you need to open your recruitment process to the whole world via online job boards such as Indeed and LinkedIn, or are you better off starting by asking existing employees for referrals and perhaps even posting the opportunity on local job boards?

It’s important to recruit at the right scale for your business because it determines the type of candidates that apply. This is important to keep in mind when reaching out for the initial phone interview because you could be talking to a local referral or you could be talking to someone across the country. Knowing what kind of applicants you’re calling to interview gives you a better chance of making a connection quicker.

#2 Do your research

Before hopping on a phone call with a candidate, do your research on them. Vet candidates in the early stages of the recruitment process to make sure you only reach out to ones you believe will be a good fit for your company. This saves you time and headaches in your process, hopefully setting you up for only great interviews.

Check out a candidates’ resume information and look at their social profiles to make sure all the information matches. Make note if there are any small discrepancies or if you have any further questions about their work history. Checking their social profiles is a good knockout tool as finding large discrepancies about their information or any unprofessional content can quickly week out candidates before having to waste time calling them on the phone to find this out.

#3 Perform necessary background checks

After you’ve narrowed down your search to just a few candidates, you want to perform the necessary background checks to ensure their education, vehicle, and criminal records are clean. It’s important to do this before an interview so that if you choose a candidate and they turn out to have charges against them, you don’t burn your bridge with the other few candidates you interview.

​Performing background checks before the phone interview will help you to have a smooth conversation with the candidates you choose to interview already knowing their background. Make sure you’re in compliance with state and federal laws when performing these checks and know whether you need to disclose the information to them.

#4 Go into the Phone Interview Confidently

Now that you have prepared properly for the interview, you can go in with confidence. At this point, you have narrowed down your search to the right scale and have trustworthy candidates with clean backgrounds.

Call the interviewee promptly and maintain and friendly tone throughout the interview. Start by giving the candidate an overview about the company and about the position. Stop frequently to ask if the candidate has any questions. Many times, candidates will be very nervous. Giving them time to ask any questions on something they may have missed will likely make them feel more at ease. Wesley Ward, VP of Marketing for Hausera, advises:

“Make sure you are prepared. Jot down questions and specific points you want to discuss with the candidate, that way you avoid forgetting specific topics you want to touch base on while also creating a conversation and making the candidate feel more comfortable. Making the candidate feel at ease at the beginning of the phone call will really set the stage to facilitate an open conversation for the rest of the phone interview.”

Remember that interviews are not only about the candidate making a good impression on you but is are about you also making a good impression on the candidate in the name of your company. Give a detailed overview of the company culture, employee benefit information, and company values you find important for them to know.

Putting all the information about your company out on the table will help to foster an open conversation to see if both parties are a good fit for the future endeavor. Ask any questions you may have regarding their previous employment, specific job duties they have performed, as well as questions about them as a person. Gauging candidates not only as a professional but as a person will help you quickly see which candidates’ values align with those of your company.

#5 Tie Up the Conversation Nicely

After asking all the necessary questions you need to know and getting to know your candidate a bit personally, write down any notes you’d like to refer back to. Ask the candidate one last time if they have any other questions for you and know that they might come prepared with a series of questions for the end of an interview.

Make sure to tie up the conversation nicely by thanking them for their time and letting them know when they can expect to hear back about the position. Confirm their contact information such as email address and phone number to ensure you have the most up-to-date information. After all questions have been asked you can hang up with the candidate.

When performing phone interviews during the hiring process, you can sometimes feel like a robot going through the motions of asking candidates the same questions. Following these steps will help you better prepare for your phone interview and give you the opportunity to better connect with your candidates by weeding out ones who wouldn’t make a great match and by asking the right questions to help you to get to know your candidate both professionally and personally.

​Author Bio: Samantha Rupp holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and is a contributing editor for She lives in San Diego, California and enjoys spending time on the beach. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.

Nancy Gaines

Nancy Gaines is CEO/Founder of Gain Advantages Inc. and has been advising small businesses and Fortune 100 companies how to increase revenues through proven systems for almost two decades. She is a best-selling author and international keynote speaker. Nancy has been named in the Top 100 Productivity Experts to follow on Twitter and has a global podcast downloaded in over 95 countries. Her main focus is creating business processes with actionable steps so her clients achieve more consistency, ease, and ultimate success.