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5 Reasons Why Phone Screening is Doomed!

Phone screening is so simple isn’t it?  Once you have narrowed your pool of job candidates to say six or fewer, you simply pick up the phone and call those in whom you are interestedrotary phone to learn whether you want to bring them in for a face to face interview.  This saves the hiring manager a great deal of time by not interviewing someone they might have otherwise rejected within the first five minutes of meeting them.  So why is such a simple and beneficial process on the way out the door?

Many companies have found an even easier solution and one that is more revealing than a phone screen.  With the increased prevalence of high speed internet and webcam penetration (79% of all laptops), video interviewing is finally giving many what we have dreamed of while watching our favorite sci-fi movies: the ability to both hear and see the person we’re screening, either virtually or live.  A recent survey by Office Team showed that 63% of HR professionals often used video interviewing in their hiring process in 2012.  Here are a few reasons phone screening is on the way out.

#1 – Phone screen scheduling hassles – A recent survey by Sarah White Associates showed that for some companies, scheduling phone screens took up to 30 minutes.  Not only that, but the two parties involved must often speak at a time of day inconvenient to either one or both of them.  I once spoke to a job candidate who told me his phone screen with a particular company was scheduled, cancelled and rescheduled over a dozen times. Automated video interviewing solutions allow the user to interview themselves at a time of day convenient to them.  Additionally the hiring manager can quickly review the video interview when it best fits their schedule.

#2 – Phone screens are time consuming – When conducting phone screens, especially with candidates who might be customers, giving the candidate a full 30 or 40 minutes is necessary even if they aren’t a good fit.  As one executive at Ocean Spray who now uses video interviewing explained, “With live telephone interviews, I’d give everyone, even those we knew weren’t going to go on to the next step, the full 45 minutes.  After all we sell products and we didn’t want the candidate to stop buying them.”  With a virtual video interview one is able to review a candidate’s video interview in minutes and make a decision on whether to forward it to the hiring manager.

Additionally, because a recruiter’s time is burdened with so many applicants, they must be choosy of who they decide to phone screen.  A senior recruiter at Oregon based Adidas explains, “Because of time constraint, in the past, we had to make some very hard calls in order to pare the list to a manageable four or five.  Now we can have 10 to 15 people take the video interview and I’m sure we’ve hired some people who wouldn’t have gotten an initial interview in the past.”

#3 – Comparing phone screens is hard – Most phone screeners have to take notes during the phone screen and organize them before sending onward to the hiring manager.  Not only is this time consuming but the notes are often inaccurate and make comparing candidates more difficult.  Most video interviewing tools record the candidate’s interview which can be reviewed, compared against other candidate interviews and shared with other decision makers allowing the decision process to flow more efficiently.

#4 – Phone screens are not structured – With an automated video interviewing solution each candidate is asked the same questions regardless of race, gender, age, ethnicity and so on thus reducing the chances of discrimination creeping into the initial screening process.

#5 – You can’t see the candidate over the phone – Some may argue that seeing the candidate before the face-to-face is bad but in this age of high employment turnover, the need for culturally fitting candidates is greater than ever.  Nothing helps you better determine a candidate’s enthusiasm and potential for success then by seeing them.

Weep not though for the phone my friends!  Many video interviewing providers now offer video interviews on mobile devices.  So while phone screening may be out, video interviewing on phones will soon be hotter than ever!

About The Author

Ryder Cullison

Ryder has more than 10 years of experience working with retained search clients as a search professional. As a pioneer of Interview4 he has great knowledge of video interviewing. He writes about all things hiring and looks forward to engaging with his audience on topics of leadership, recruiting, candidate screening, and employee satisfaction. Follow him on Twitter: @hireintelligent and @cullison1

3 Responses to “5 Reasons Why Phone Screening is Doomed!”

  1. Cindy Postanco
    May 30, 2013 at 9:18 am

    I’m not a fan of video interviewing as you are describing it here, as I believe you can receive better results by using a pre-screening solution that will allow you ever better number to crunch.
    I’m more in favour of video interviews as a replacement of the face to face interview, as it’s a lot easier to conduct them and don’t worry about flying the candidate for an interview that might not lead to anything. It will just save both you as a recruiter, and them as interviewees a lot of hassle.

  2. May 30, 2013 at 9:31 am

    While I don’t agree that a video interview should totally replace a face-to-face interview, I would concede that if you were to use this process, that a live video interview be used rather than an automated. I agree with your comments about time savings. Recent research suggests that organizations using video interviewing are saving greatly on travel costs associated with hiring.

  3. Maximilian
    June 20, 2013 at 3:44 am

    Hey Ryder,
    I really liked your article. Hope you don’t mind me sharing it on LinkedIn.

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