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Best ways to conduct Skype & Telephone Interviews

Profile for Rob Scott, Managing Director of Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment

Sometimes meeting face-to-face is not an option, whether you can't spare the time - or travel is not favourable for whatever reason, or in an era of social distancing. In these situations you may want to Zoom, Skype, or interview a candidate over the phone - to get to know them better, or to qualify their skills.

For other interview methods, see our information on best interview practice.

Telephone, Zoom or Skype,  interviews are also useful precursors to physical interviews - allowing you to thin shortlists based on their performance in these more convenient interviews.

However, like all forms of interview there is necessary preparation to consider - to ensure you don't waste your time when conducting phone & Zoom interviews. We've compiled this list of top tips for phone & Zoom interviews, for you to use when facilitating a long-distance interview:


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Have an Objective

Know exactly what you want to achieve in your interview - this means you can keep your interview on topic and you'll be able to decide on the candidate's suitability at the end of the call. Decide whether you want to test a candidate's character or capability - to see if they are a cutural fit, or have the abilities/experience needed to perform the role. Interview goals need to be set long in advance, so that they can guide your questions.


Leading on from the previous point, you need to adequately prepare some questions for the interview. While you may want a conversational and casual interview, free of rigid structure, it's always useful to have questions ready for any lapses in discussion - or to make sure you don't forget to ask about something you need to address. You may also want to have notes to hand, or the candidates CV - so that you have evidence to interrogate. If you get a dry throat, have some water handy. We've also got a handy guide on how to shortlist these candidates in the first place.


Make sure you'e exchanged contact details and set a time & date for the interview. It is important to have  established who will call whom - are you going to call the canddiate, or are they calling you? And do you both know this? If not, you may both be awaiting a call that never comes.

Take Notes

Take notes, so that you can quiz candidates on what they say, and so that if you have multiple candidates to choose from you can review notes later on. You can also refer to a candidates previous statements later on in an interview should you need to.

Remove Destractions

Make sure you conduct the interview in a location where you won't be disturbed - and let colleagues know not to bother you during this interview. Any audio disturbances that can be avoided, should be - like busy roads, or music. You want to make sure you can focus on the conversation, removing loud noise improves communication. It's important to remain focused - so don't let your mind wander to other things.

Put the Candidate at Ease

Skype interviews can feel intense at times, candidates are aware that you will be monitoring their actions on video chat. So, put them at ease be friendly and they will relax - and stop guarding their body language, allowing for more clarity in your judgement of their demeanour. We've actually got a set of techniques to relax candidates in an interview.

Set-Up Early If you're using Zoom, it's important that you can conduct the interview without any technical hitches. This includes wi-fi/internet disconnects, or if you have a slower machine that the programme itself won't cause issue. To prevent disaster in a Zoom interview it's best to set yourself up, and test, in advance of the inteview, check your connection, have Zoom open, and your meeting ifnormation already added and yourself ready. Similiarly for phone interviews, you should set-up at least 15 minutes prior, so that if there are any hiccups you can call the candidate and keep them informed.  It also helps for you to settle, get into the 'zone' and be ready to conduct the interview.

Confirm the Interview

No-one likes to be kept waiting, it's important to have confirmed with your candidate that the interview is still happening - so both parties have no excuse for forgetting. Ideally a candidate will show initiative and contact you on the day - to show that they are committed to the role. However, if they do not - give them until 30 minutes before that interview, and if by then they haven't it's best that you double check.

Establish Conditions

Should you be hiring for a technical role, or specialist role, that requires a candidate to demonstrate certain aptitudes and skills make sure you've given your interviewee warning as to what you may test them on. If you wish to discuss specific experience or skills let your candidate know in advance so that they can have appropriately prepared, and so that you can have an informed discussion about their capabilities. This can be as simple as letting them know a few topics you may touch upon. Selecting and establishing topics/asking points for an interview can involve unecessary back-and-forth - at times going with a recruitment agency who handle this for you is beneficial. A recruiter will listen to your needs, arrange an interview and inform a candidate on what you want from them - freeing up your time to use elsewhere. 

For more information on why using a recruiter can better facilitate phone interviews check out our guide on the benefits of going through a sales recruitment agency.


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To wrap up, facilitating a Zoom, Skype or phone interview is a relatively straightforward task, but these tips can make a good interview great - and alleviate any problems that could arise.

Follow this advice and it will allow you to conduct concise phone interviews, allowing you to effectively shortlist for face-to-face interviews. It ultimately comes down to preparing, making sure anything you need is available, and any issues that could arrive are dealt with in advance. For more interview advice, including a list of common interview questions, check our our employer advice section:


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I found Aaron Wallis to be very professional and efficient, taking time to understand the role and the type of candidate we were looking for. The candidates they put forward met our criteria and were of a high standard. The service they provided was exemplary and I would have no hesitation in recommending them, and will certainly consider using them again in the future.

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Aaron Wallis has continuously provided us with suitable candidates that have been proactively sourced. Having used countless recruitment companies, Aaron Wallis are the only company that I can count on to deliver.

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Since joining DSGi, Rob has been a supplier of permanent staff and has performed to an extremely high standard, successfully filling 98% of roles he has worked on. If anyone is looking for a good sales and marketing based consultancy with an informal yet professional approach, I would recommend Rob.

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S. Bartlett, Candidate

Very good advice and support was given during the course of the interviewing process. Potential job seekers would be well advised to use this company whilst looking for their new career.

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Aaron Wallis have provided me with an excellent service, Giles went out of his way to help me preparing for my interview and supported me through all the processes. If you need an agency to give you a fully professional and consultative approach to finding you a new career move, the Aaron Wallis can certainly provide this for you.

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I can honestly say that the time and expertise you gave me was way beyond any other recruitment consultant I dealt with. You are a rarity in your industry.

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Excellent experience from first contact to ultimately securing a suitable placement. Giles looked after me in a very professional and friendly manner. He used his expertise and experience to ensure I was put forward for the most suitable positions for my skill set and found me a new role very quickly. I can't recommend Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment highly enough.

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Aaron Wallis is an outstanding recruitment agency specialising in high calibre sales positions. I was working directly with Darren Dawrance who went above and beyond my expectations in sourcing me my perfect role. I was kept in regular communication with Darren and he worked extremely hard to secure my dream job. Highly recommended and Thanks Darren for all your expertise and hard work.

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The Recruitment agent I used, Simon, was extremely helpful and really went the extra mile to ensure all of my questions were answered, and that I felt as comfortable and prepared as possible. Very professional company and would definitely recommend to others. Thank you Aaron Wallis!

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Aaron Wallis (and in particular Rob Scott) have been fantastic throughout the recruitment process, and even a few months down the line, still continues to care. Rob clearly cares about each individual and has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, which shows in the work he does. Each candidate is not just a number, and the support received from Aaron Wallis has helped me get a career which I truly enjoy.

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Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment are a very friendly and professional recruitment organisation who listen to your needs, work with you and act on your behalf which sets them apart from many of their competitors who in my experience are willing to throw anything at you. We discussed my history, my preferences and my wishes - one opportunity was introduced. It was perfect. I start at the end of June.

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A great recruitment company to work with. Excellent experience with Aaron Wallis through the entire recruitment process. The team was really professional and extremely helpful. Darren was a pleasure to work with. He was friendly, supportive and gave me great advice. Thank you very much!

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