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Step 2- The Phone Screen

In Part 1 I reviewed how I source candidates mostly focused on the resume they provide.

Now it’s time to meet the candidate.

If they pass the resume review, I do a 30-minute phone screen. I do this for two reasons. All sales jobs require you to be effective on the phone. So, the candidate needs to be able to communicate in an efficient, articulate, and compelling way.

The goal of the phone screen is to add some "color" to the resume and for me to start to get to know the candidate and their communication style. I'm still looking to screen out, not in, at this point.

I require the candidate to call me. I want to see if they can follow instructions and if they’ll call on time.

Here’s how I “set up the call”.

“Hi, Sara. Thanks for taking time with me today. I’ve set aside 30 mins. for us to speak. I’ve reviewed your resume and spoken with the recruiter. What I’d like to do today is the following:

Review your last three jobs. I’d like to know the following about each:

  • How did you find the job?
  • Your base salary and total compensation?
  • How was your commission structured?
  • What was your quota and how did you perform against that?
  • What else were you held accountable for?
  • Why did you leave?

Next, I’ll let you ask any questions you have about the position or company. Lastly, I’d like for us to come to a mutual decision about if we are going to move forward or not.”

This sounds like a lot to cover, and it is. If you’ve never met me before most people assume I grew up on the East Coast based on the pace I speak (I actually grew up in Kansas). So you need to make sure you and the candidate are staying focused on the topics listed above.

I stick to the "script", but ask questions on questions to clarify and gain more info. I'm looking for a reasonable career path progression. I want to see that there is an increase in responsibility, accountability, and income. I want to know how they contributed to the growth of that company.

I leave about 5 mins. for them to ask me anything. This isn't much time, so they need to ask the most important questions they need answers to. I'm not too judgemental about what they ask, just that they have questions prepared.

As I stated up-front, I then bring up that I'd like to discuss if we want to move forward. I rarely have a candidate bail at his point, but I did recently, and I was grateful he had the self-awareness to know the position I was trying to fill wouldn't be a good fit for him. I do my own dirty work. If I don't think it's a fit or I have stronger candidates, I say so right there on the phone, so they don't leave with the wrong impress and are then surprised when the recruiter tells them it's a no.

If we both agree we'd like to learn more about each other then I set up a time for them to come into the office for a behavioral face-to-face (F2F) interview.

Next time I'll share some of my more interesting behavioral-based interview questions!

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