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The value of a good phone interview

by Paddy Collins on December 13th, 2018

 

Adapted from an article by Lou Adler, CEO and founder of the Adler Group, a training and search firm helping companies implement Performance-based Hiring

With the demand for talent exceeding the supply for these jobs it turns out there is just no time for face-to-face interviews. Instead, people are being hired after one or two phone screens. There are powerful reasons why this actually might be better than the in-person interview.

The big benefit of an in-depth phone interview is the ability to more accurately assess ability, fit and motivation by eliminating the visual impact of first impression bias.

I stumbled upon this concept long ago when I realized I could save a lot of time by conducting a thorough phone screen before conducting an onsite interview. As I started meeting candidates screened this way, it became apparent very quickly that the person’s first impression, good or not so good, had little impact on the assessment if I had already determined these people had the ability to handle the major performance challenges of the job.

As I handled more national search assignments it wasn’t generally possible to meet candidates in-person before presenting them to my clients. To get around this I conducted multiple phone interviews, one preliminary screen and a second one equivalent to the in-person performance-based process described above. When I subsequently met the person, it turned out the phone assessments were more in-depth, more objective and more accurate in predicting actual performance.

For one CEO appointment, the candidate hired for the job told me candidly that the phone interviews I conducted with him were far superior to any of the in-person interviews conducted by the board members.

This leads to my conclusion stated earlier: A series of properly conducted performance-based phone screens are more effective than interviewing candidates in. The impact of first impression bias and all of the factors associated with it cause interviewer bias – this doesn’t happen over the phone!

Regardless of how it’s done, phone-based interviewing with no video results in a more business-like interview and assessment process. The research clearly shows that interviewer bias and lack of objectivity are the top causes of hiring mistakes including not hiring the best person for the job. You’ll solve both problems by picking up the phone first.

 

 

 

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