Start making decisions about the candidate from the first contact, before you even meet face to face. Initial interactions with your candidate will provide you with valuable information so make sure YOU (not an assistant) are scheduling the interview. Pay attention to these signals:
• Is he excited to hear from you or does he sound annoyed that you interrupted his nap?
• If you had to leave a message how quickly did she return your phone call? If there was a long delay, did she explain or apologize?
• When attempting to schedule an interview time, did he seem hard to work with or reasonably flexible?
• Was her voicemail message professional or did you get something like, “You know the drill…”
• Contact the applicant’s references BEFORE the interview. Calling references before an interview can provide you with additional insight as well as equip you with questions that are more specific to the applicant.
These pre-interview interactions can be an indication of candidate responsiveness, enthusiasm, flexibility, and professionalism. Before you meet the candidate in person, you should have a good idea about whether or not this is someone who shares your company’s values and would be an asset to the company.