Antony Elkington, MD of Trusted Recruiter

Recruiting for a new role can be a time-consuming endeavour, which is why more and more employers are adopting telephone interviews into the process to help separate suitable and unsuitable candidates before meeting for face-to-face interviews. Antony Elkington, Managing Director of Trusted Recruiter, gives his top recruitment tips for conducting effective telephone interviews.

Carrying out a telephone interview allows you to create a shortlist of candidates you wish to invite for a face to face interview and withdraw candidates earlier on in the process. The last thing you want is to spend time meeting candidates or spending an hour or more interviewing face to face when the answer to a basic question completely withdraws the candidate from the recruitment process.

Before the telephone interview, have a think about what are you looking to gain from the telephone interview and what can you find out prior to carrying out a face to face interview that will determine whether the candidate is able to at least carry out the job?

What does the candidate need to know about the job that they do not already?

Before the call, consider what are the key things you are looking for in the candidate and what your key expectations are. This doesn’t have to be an exhaustive list but it must include essential requirements.

Popular things to consider:

  • What are their salary expectations?
  • If their CV does not indicate whether they have the required skills or experience for the job, check this with the candidate
  • Ask them about their hobbies and interests to see if there is a rapport and whether they will fit in with your existing team
  • Find out why they are interested in the job and the reason for leaving their current employer
  • Find out exactly what they are doing currently; don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions
  • Try to keep them talking!

Things to listen out for:

  • Are they in a quiet place and prepared for your call?
  • Do they have phone signal?
  • Are they rushed?
  • Are they aware of who you are and what you do?
  • Is the candidate unprepared for the call, despite having been given sufficient preparation time?

I would also recommend writing word for word notes on answers given by the candidate. This will help you to review them when making your decision and allow you to revisit these answers at the second interview where necessary.

Try score each answer and candidate as you would in a face-to-face interview, rating their performance and suitability between one to four (one the worst and four being best).

Finally, finish the conversation by letting the candidate know the next steps. For those who you are keen on, try arrange the next interview there and then if possible.

Additional Help and Support:

If you would like additional tips or support with interviewing or other aspects of the recruitment process, feel free to get in touch with us.

Trusted Recruiter is a specialist recruiter within Assistive Technology and Healthcare. Please get in touch with one of our consultants to discuss your vacancy on 03330144014 or email

The agency has industry candidates with experience in Lifting and Handling, Seating and Positioning, Bathing and Toileting, Pressure Care, Medical Devices, Digital Technology and many other disability/assistive aids and services.

Key tips for conducting the telephone interview:

1.   Prepare your questions

2.   Allow sufficient time for each call

3.   Do a brief, polite introduction

4.   Ask the same questions of each candidate

5.   Take notes on their answers

6.   Ask follow up questions

7.   With top candidates, arrange the next interview

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