Candidate Phone Screening Tips

If you’re busy running a thriving veterinary practice, you probably don’t have much free time to spend interviewing every single possible candidate for your open positions. To optimize your time and increase the likelihood of finding the best person for the job, your first step should involve speaking to candidates over the phone, before inviting them in for a face-to-face interview. That being said, there are some additional ways you can enhance your phone screening efforts to further improve the overall process and your eventual results. Let’s take a look.

Phone Interview Best Practices

The purpose of a phone screening is to eliminate the least qualified candidates and hone in on the ones who would be the best fit. This enables you to save time and resources by limiting the number of in-person interviews you’ll have to conduct. 

The best way to achieve this goal is to develop a series of qualifying questions in advance that you will pose to each potential prospect while discussing the job over the phone. Remember – you should be looking for specific clues that a candidate not only possesses the appropriate skillset, but would also be a good match with your practice’s culture.

Before starting the phone screening process, you should have already gone through the full pile of resumes and applications you’ve received to date, narrowing down your options to include only the candidates that you feel would be worth further screening. If a candidate doesn’t match all of your minimum criteria for identifying your top prospects, don’t waste your time or theirs on a phone screening.

Recommended Phone Interview Questions

Before hopping on a call with a candidate, have a list of key questions prepared in advance. This will help keep you on topic, ensure that you don’t miss anything important and help you to optimize the time you’re spending on each call. While not all questions will be one-size-fits-all, there are some that should be on everyone’s list. Here are a few to consider adding to your list.

  • How many years of experience do you have in [position]?
  • Tell me about your specific experience with [position]/[role]/[duties]/[program/system].
  • Describe your educational back ground.
  • What is the minimum salary that you would consider?
  • Tell me about your past work in the industry (or role).
  • Can you share some insight as to why you’re interested in the job? 
  • (If not currently working) Why and when did you leave your most recent position?
  • Would you be willing to consent to a background check, reference check and drug screening?

Of course, these are just the bare-minimum basic questions. You should feel free to expand on this list as it makes sense for the role and is relevant to the particular position you are trying to fill. Remember – the more information you gather up front, the easier it will be to shortlist the candidates who would be worth bringing in for a face-to-face meeting.

Ending on a Good Note

How you conclude your phone interviews is just as important as how you carry them out. Regardless of whether a candidate qualifies for the next step or not, you should always be professional and respectful. If someone isn’t a great fit now, thank them for their time, be honest with them and, if it makes sense to do so, ask to keep them in mind for future opportunities. 

For those passing through to the next phase, set expectations right away. Tell them you’re interested in moving forward with the process and ask them if and when they would be available to come in for an on-site interview. If there is a lag between your phone call and the actual interview, make an effort to keep candidates engaged. This will enhance the hiring process and improve your odds of landing the right person for the role as quickly and seamlessly as possible. 

Filling open positions within your busy veterinary clinic can seem like a daunting task. Telephone screening enables you to assess each candidate’s qualifications, experience, cultural fit and salary requirements align with the role and your practice as a whole. The tips above should help you optimize and streamline the hiring process.

Don’t have the time to narrow down your list of candidates or conduct phone interviews? No worries – Dream Team Elite has you covered! We’ll do all the legwork for you and present you with a shortlist of only the most relevant, suitable candidates. Save time and let us help you build your dream team today!

5