6 Red Flags To Look Out For In Phone Interviews
Phone interviews are an important step in the staffing process. After reviewing a candidate's resume and application documents for the position you're hiring and determining that they could potentially be a good fit for your church or ministry, the next best step is to make an appointment for a phone interview with them. The phone interview is your first chance for personal interaction with the candidate, and if the phone interview goes really well, your next step is likely a face-to-face interview.
The phone interview is also your candidate's chance to make a good first impression. Here are 6 red flags to look out for when conducting phone interviews.
1. The candidate doesn’t answer the phone.
This is, hopefully, an obvious one. Unless your candidate has a really good, valid reason, missing the scheduled time for the phone interview is a difficult thing to overcome. What that conveys is that the candidate doesn't respect your time, or that they’re too disorganized to have a calendar and schedule that they adhere to.
2. They interrupt you.
Sometimes technology makes this impossible to avoid, between poor mobile phone reception and the lack of facial cues to let your candidate know when you are finished speaking. But if the candidate consistently interrupts you, this shows a lack of consideration, social awareness, or general rules regarding polite behavior. (Likewise, it's important as the interviewer to allow your candidates to say what they want to say - within a reasonable time frame - rather than just jumping in with your questions before the answer is out of the candidate’s mouth.)
3. They spend 15 minutes answering one question.
As the interviewer, you should have given your candidate an idea of how long your conversation will last before beginning so that you can both plan accordingly (because, let’s face it, you both have other things to take care of!). And more likely than not, you won’t be devoting several hours to this one phone call. So be wary of candidates who go way over the allotted amount of time for the interview and don't let you speak or move the conversation forward. Thoroughness is appreciated, but giving a mini-presentation is generally not. The best candidates provide enough information and context to sufficiently answer the question, and allow the interviewer to ask follow-up questions if necessary.
4. They offer one-word answers.
If you have to drag information out of a candidate, then it should make you wonder how they’ll interact with your church or ministry team. This is their chance to make an impression. This doesn’t mean that quieter personalities or introverts have to pretend to be the most garrulous and social people on the planet, but if a candidate is difficult to talk to or get to know, they may not be a great culture fit for your team. The reason you have scheduled a call with the candidate is to get to know them better, and overly short answers don’t help you do that.
5. They don’t answer the question that was asked.
Another red flag is when it seems like a candidate is avoiding answering a question because they think their answer may disqualify them for the position. If the candidate is redirecting the conversation or avoiding questions, or you get the feeling they aren't being totally honest in their answer, they may not be the best fit for your team.
6. They don’t have an answer for why they’re interested in the position.
If your candidate can’t articulate at least one solid reason for why they’re pursuing the role, it should make you think twice about why you would want to hire a candidate so seemingly unenthusiastic about your organization and the open position (and why they’re bothering to spend valuable time talking about it). If they can’t come up with a reason beyond “It’s an open position and I need a job,” then it’s probably not the right role for them.
What are ways a candidate can make a bad impression in a phone interview?
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