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Telephone interviews have become a standard first step in interviewing candidates.  The phone interview is a time saver:  a quick way to glean whether a promising candidate on paper has the technical and communication skills that make them worth engaging in a more time and resource intensive in house interview.

Here are some tips for the interviewer to help focus the discussion, and truly gain those time and effort savings.

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Telephone interviews are an easy, time saving way to screen candidates.  Developing a script or template for interviewing will make conducting telephone screens even more efficient, especially if your organization has more than one person screening candidates for the same job.  An interview script will help to focus the discussion, make your organization sound more professional, and give you the tools to quickly rate a candidate and compare against other candidates, in order to truly gain the time savings that phone interviews are supposed to result in.

Remember, you want your interview to be brief (no more than 30 minutes) and relatively casual, so preparing a common repeatable script can take any bumbling or stress out the experience.  On the flip side, you don’t want to over-engineer the script.  Just remember you don’t want to come off sounding ridiculously rigid or serious; your goal is to be professional and friendly.

Here are some tips for building a repeatable and reliable script. 

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Congratulations!  Scoring a telephone interview means you have made it to the pool of promising applicants.  While a telephone interview sounds like it’s easy, there is an art to successfully interviewing over the phone-you don’t want to make a misstep and ruin the opportunity.  You may not be a former boy scout, but Be Prepared should be your motto when it comes to a successful telephone interview.  So what should you know?