As a follow up to the blog entry I did in October regarding the initial phase of the recruitment and screening process for a telemarketing position in our call center, I would like to discuss the second step to this process: the interview. The best thing about the recruiting responsibility of Human Resources, in my opinion, is that it is a defined process to systematically rule in the best candidates for the job opening at hand (and of course, rule out those who are not a fit). Our process involves two distinct interviews that afford multiple members of the team to interact with a candidate before we decide on making a bona fide job offer. A caveat to all of this, though, is the interview, just like a resume, is a screening tool. It will not see into the future and tell us how great of an employee a particular candidate would be, but it will help us judge from the past into the present, where they came from and how they fit into the organization as to the probability of success with our company.
In Interview 1, we conduct a phone interview, which is crucial for a telemarketing position. This audio meeting provides us with the chance to assess the candidate for a number of skills and traits that will illustrate if they are a viable candidate to move to the in-person interview. A few of the primary traits the candidate is being screened for are:
- Phone etiquette – Can they carry on a business conversation without succumbing to common casual chat? Are they utilizing professional speak? Do they sound focused? Are they asking well thought out questions that illicit answers relating to what the job will entail?
- Availability– Was the candidate prepared for the phone interview at the scheduled time? If not, this can be an indicator of how dependable they will be as an employee and also how well they take instruction. I tend to provide instructions for a phone interview via email and request that the candidate call me at a specific time. This is a simple way to screen out any candidates who are not diligent with checking email and following written instructions.
- Follow-up– After the phone interview, does the candidate follow-up with either another phone call or email communication to thank the interviewer for their time and express their interest in the job? This is an important element that we look for, as diligent follow-up and follow-through are key responsibilities for many of our telemarketing positions.
In interview 2, we ask the candidate to come in person to the company to meet with a department manager or team of managers. During this time, the team considers the prior screening results from the resume, hard skills testing, and phone interview and adds a more behavioral interview criterion to the process. A number of factors are taken into consideration when meeting the candidate in person:
- Were they prompt for the interview?
- Are they dressed professionally?
- Did they know who to ask for?
- Once in the interview, can the candidate explain their understanding of the company and the job opening in an articulate, organized manner?
- Do they maintain eye contact?
- Do they answer open ended questions with thought out answers?
- Do they ask open-ended questions that fit with the interview?
- Do they display their interest level?
- After the interview, does the candidate follow-up? A phone call, email or a mailed