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Mastering the initial phone interview


initial phone interview checklist on desk with CV and phone Posted by Megan Trippi
initial phone interview checklist on desk with CV and phone

As a physician recruiter, it’s essential to understand the significance of the initial phone interview in making a positive impression and advancing the interview process. Here’s a guide to help you navigate this crucial stage and promote your organization effectively:

  1. Know the purpose of the initial interview

The initial phone interview sets the foundation for the rest of the interview process. It allows you to evaluate the candidate’s qualifications, personality and communication skills before proceeding with an in-person or virtual interview. This conversation serves as their first impression of your organization - and of you as the recruiter.
Before scheduling the phone conversation, share the information and expectations with the candidate so they are prepared for the initial interview as well. This will help ensure the call will go as smoothly as possible.

  1. Know the position

Hopefully, the candidate will have researched your organization and the position for which they’ve applied and are interviewing. They will most likely know the mission statement, values and goals of the organization, so you will want to be well versed in those to make sure the candidate’s values align with the organization’s goals and values.
The candidate will probably have a lot of questions about the position itself. While you can get back to them with answers, you should know the role and be armed with enough information to make sure you are both on the same page and know the physician will be a good fit based on the qualifications and expectations of the opportunity.

  1. Know the questions

While it’s impossible to predict every question, preparing thoughtful responses to common candidate questions will help you feel comfortable and ready for most situations. Consider frequently asked questions candidates might have about the organization, practice, expectations and responsibilities of the role and have some answers prepared. This will help the conversation flow more naturally.

  1. Know their experience

During the phone interview, candidates should highlight their unique achievements and experiences as physicians. Encourage them to discuss their clinical skills, research contributions, leadership roles and other relevant accomplishments. By providing specific examples of their positive impact, candidates can demonstrate their value as potential hires.
Review their CV and cover letter prior to discussing their experience on the call. Nothing they say should come as a huge surprise if you’re familiar with their skills and training. It will also let them know you are interested in them and take this initial interview seriously.

  1. Know how to conduct yourself

Remain engaged throughout the phone conversation. Take the call in a quiet room without distractions and keep the discussion focused on the candidate, their skills, experience and professional background. Show genuine interest in the candidate and listen to them.

  1. Know how to be an active listener

Active listening is crucial during the initial phone interview. Pay close attention to the candidate’s questions and comments and stay engaged. Taking brief notes can help remember key points when revisiting the initial phone interview before moving on to the next step in the hiring process.

By following these steps, you should feel comfortable conducting the initial phone interview, leaving a positive impression on candidates and increasing the likelihood of inviting them for follow-up, in-person or virtual interviews. This approach will contribute to building a strong physician recruitment strategy and promoting your organization as a viable choice for quality candidates.


Did you know PracticeLink conducts In-Depth Interviews with candidates? For more information on the candidates in the PracticeLink database or if you have questions on how to access the In-Depth details, contact your Customer Success Manager at


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