Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

9 Ways To Gain More Insights About Candidates Beyond a Phone Interview

How can talent acquisition teams gain more insights about a candidate beyond a phone interview?

We asked HR/Recruiting professionals and business leaders what advice they have to develop a fuller picture of potential candidates. From using LinkedIn to find mutual connections to listening for frequently asked questions, there are several ways hiring teams can gain more insights about their candidates.

Here are nine ways to gain more insights about candidates beyond a phone interview:

  • Use LinkedIn to Find Mutual Connections
  • Conduct Personality Tests
  • Get Your Team Involved
  • Develop Questionnaires
  • Assign Case Projects to Assess Skills 
  • Conduct Employee Screening and Background Checks
  • Verify Previous Work Performance
  • Research Social Media Profiles
  • Listen for Frequently Asked Questions

Use LinkedIn to Find Mutual Connections

It’s no longer 6-degrees of separation, it’s more like 2-3.  Search for connections who will provide honest assessments.  Keep the calls quick – less than 10-minutes to not be burdensome to your friends and connections.

Katharine Halpin, The Halpin Companies, Inc.

Conduct Personality Tests

When combined with structured interviews, pre-hire assessment is a cost-effective way to gain insights into the candidate’s behaviour and challenges they may face upon hiring. Hiring the wrong candidate is highly costly and time-consuming. Relying on the resume and interview alone might be risky, as people try to present themselves in such situations from the best angle possible.

Rebeca Sena, GetSpace.digital

Get Your Team Involved

If you feel like you’ve covered all your bases with a candidate for a role and you’re still left feeling unsure, don’t forget to look to your team for support! Provide them with the information you have and tell them about what aspects you’re still debating. When hiring, of course you try to be as objective as possible but unknowingly, those opinions can still slip in. A second or third opinion can help either validate or reassure those qualms you have and save you time in the long run.

Tom Mumford, Undergrads

Develop Questionnaires

Develop a questionnaire for the candidate to complete ahead of time. This can help weed out those who don’t follow direction or don’t put the time into their responses. Within the questionnaire, you can have a personality test to learn more about their traits, strengths, and weaknesses. You may also provide a follow-up assignment or action item and gauge how that gets completed.

Alison Stine, Stine Wealth Management

Assign Case Projects to Assess Skills

Beyond the phone interview, giving candidates a case project or problem to solve can help you determine how well they think critically – an essential skill in every role. If you give them to candidates before you handpick interview candidates, it will help you whittle down your short-list of potential hires to those with the strongest problem-solving skills.

There usually isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for these cases, so it’s a fun way to allow candidates to flex some creativity during the process.

Minesh J Patel, The Patel Firm

Conduct Employee Screening and Background Checks

As important as it is to find the right talent for the job, it’s just as important to maintain workplace safety and security. To make well-informed hiring decisions with greater confidence, it’s essential to conduct background checks as part of your candidate screening and selection process.

These checks help you evaluate the applicant’s suitability to the role, and gives you assurance that they meet compliance and safety standards. If there’s anything pertinent that you may have missed during a phone interview, a background check keeps you informed before you extend a committal offer to the applicant.

Mike Grossman, GoodHire

Verify Previous Work Performance

An effective method that applicants and their supervisors are unlikely to oppose is to get candidates’ permission to consult with current or former supervisors, after making a conditional offer of employment. Supervisory referrals provide more useful information concerning the applicants and the types of supervision to which they best respond.

Stewart McGrenary, Freedom Mobiles

Research Social Media Profiles

Talent acquisition teams can research a candidate’s social media profiles to get an idea of their personality and what’s really important to them. Social media tells a lot about a person and could be one of the deciding factors as to whether or not a candidate gets the job. Reviewing their Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, or other social networks can help talent acquisition make a sound decision.

Heidi Streeter, Holiday St.

Listen for Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve reaped a lot of great insight on candidates by paying attention to the questions they ask us during the interview process. If they’re insightful and relate directly to our business or company culture, I know they’ve done their research and care about their fit with our team as much as their own qualifications. If hired, these candidates usually stick around the longest because they are genuinely interested in the role, not just the paycheck and security.

James Diel, Textel

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