How is conference calling used to recruit staff?

How is conference calling used to recruit staff? (Image credit: Thinkstock/Steve Hix/Somos Images/Fuse)

When a company is hiring a new employee, those responsible for taking that person on need to be sure they are getting the right man or woman for the job.

Sometimes, this pressure falls on a sole member of staff who will shortlist candidates for interview, conduct it in a face-to-face environment and then make a decision based on the information in front of them.

However, when the situation arises that a group of upper-level personnel need to be involved, the situation can sometimes become a bit of a nightmare for the diary. For larger organisations that have offices located in different parts of the country, or even the world,  getting all of these individuals in the same room at a time that is also convenient to the candidate can become an arduous task.

That said, technology has not been standing still in providing such situations with a solution. On the contrary, one way that everyone can participate in an interview at the same time is by facilitating the call through teleconferencing.

Tips on conference call interviews

As a candidate, this may be somewhat of a daunting experience if you have never participated in a conference call interview before.

There's no reason to feel overwhelmed though, especially if you've had one-on-one telephone interviews in the past. The main difference is that you need to remember there will be more than one person on the call with you, so try to remember the sound of each person's voice early on so you know who is speaking and can direct them personally if need be.

One of the best ways to approach a teleconference interview is to treat it exactly as you would if it were taking place face-to-face. Dress appropriately to get you in the right frame of mind, smile as you talk and speak as you would in a normal interview. 

Because the conversation is taking place over the phone, it can be easy to feel as though you should be more informal. However, try not to fall into this trap as your interviewers will be judging you on what they hear and you don't want to come across as being unprofessional.

Another major aspect to bear in mind is the environment around you. Make sure it is quiet and is likely to stay that way. In the context of an interview, it probably won't go down well if someone else at home bursts in asking for your opinion on something or if you have a dog that is probably going to start barking at the postman as he goes past your home.

Tips on conducting conference call interviews

As the person conducting the interview, you will be responsible for setting out how the conversation will run. This is made more challenging if you are not in the same room as your colleagues, as you don't have the ability to read their body language, for example.

With this in mind, communicating with your fellow interviewers prior to the teleconference is key. Set out who wants to ask what and what you might be expecting. Sharing background information on the candidate is also recommended, just to make sure there are no cases of mistaken identity!

When the teleconference starts, introduce yourself and allow other members of the panel to do this same. Establishing whose voice belongs to who at the earliest opportunity is important for the sake of clarity.

One of the benefits of a conference call interview is that you can confer with one another without having to wait until the candidate has left the room. If you have access to a computer while conducting the interview, you can communicate via instant messaging applications, for example, to check everyone has all the information they need before drawing the interview to a close.

Buzz Conferencing also offers you a conference call recording service, which means you can listen back to how each candidate performed before you make your recruiting decision.

If you are used to holding teleconferences, then there are not a significant number of differences. However, once you have conducted your first conference call interview it is likely it won't be your last – there's a lot to be said for the convenience of this method of interviewing!