If your company is experiencing a high-growth stage, or a temporary or crisis-hiring situation and you plan to run an advertisement with your phone number for immediate contact, you need to train your HR department how to adequately handle the onslaught of inquiries the ad will generate. If the representative answering your calls is not properly trained to ask the right questions, as well as get the right answers – your hiring campaign can waste valuable time and advertising money.
Use these tips to maximize your phone-in ads, and help weed through your pool of eager applicants:
Avoid Blind Advertisements
Avoid blind help wanted ads that do not provide useful information about the opening. This will help weed out “job shopping” applicants and candidates who are not a good match for your opening. According to a poll conducted by CareerBuilder.com, candidates rank job descriptions (28 percent) as the most essential element of a job advertisement. Twenty-five percent of those candidates polled felt compensation was essential information, and 20 percent ranked required job skills and education as information they want to read in a help wanted ad. Save your HR department some grief and minimize unnecessary phone inquiries by publishing this information in your ad.
Prepare Your Information
Before you speak to your first applicant, carefully script the dialogue you plan to use to “sell” your company and job opening. Make sure your description of the opening is informative and enticing. Although your HR department may be tempted to screen the applicant before divulging company information (especially due to time constraints) – rethink this strategy. Firing questions at the applicant who does not know anything about the company can put the applicant on the defense. More often than not, a qualified candidate will not want you to know about their experience until they feel comfortable with the job opening, or interviewer. If your opening, or company has a strict policy on releasing company information, devise a way to make the applicant feel comfortable with your ambiguity – speak in generalities that discuss your company culture or competitive advantages. Keep this fact in mind: most workers decision to work for a company is based on the company culture, which includes your company’s employees, business model, and company climate.
Know What to Ask
Once you have filled in your applicant on the opening, ask basic questions. Stick to questions that will affect your decision to invite – or not invite – this applicant to a formal initial interview. For example, it is probably not necessary to ask an applicant either of the following questions: “What type of benefit package are you looking for?” “Are you willing to work overtime?” Realize that an applicant may change their mind on overtime, for example, once they interview with your company face-to-face, and determine your company culture is a good fit for their needs. Ask questions that will ultimately and directly affect your hiring decision, such as non-negotiable qualifications – such as certificates or degrees earned, experience relative to the opening (sales, HTML, journalism, accounting, etc.). Save negotiable “issues” for discussion during your face-to-face meeting.
Be Professional and Follow Up
Although your phone inquiry may produce many unqualified applicant leads, your HR department needs to remain courteous at all times. It is essential that your company be represented in professional manner to uphold your community, and business image. If your HR staff cannot handle the large number of calls, train a personable stand-in employee to help out. Make sure detailed notes are taken on each applicant so promising candidates are re-contacted and invited in for a formal interview.
Finally, don’t forget to do a little employment forecasting for the future. Use the information obtained from each applicant who calls in for your current opening as a poll of potential candidates for future job openings. This only makes good sense, and can save time and money when your next hiring campaign begins!