Game of Phones

By Mike Keating | Co-founder of

TLDR: Keep calm and listen.

A phone call is coming…

Getting on the phone with a potential candidate means you are a big step closer to finding the perfect candidate. To help you get the most out of your conversation, we’ve come up with four tips to get started.

Start off strong.

Introduce yourself and thank them for taking the time to accept your call. From there, be sure to double-check that now is a good time for them (“hey, have I caught you at an ok time?”). It’s good to do this even if you agreed on a time for the call, just as a matter of courtesy.

Get to know them.

They are a potential member of your team, so get to know them as well as you can. Try to build a connection with them: ask what they’ve been up to lately, what side projects they’re working on, and what technologies they prefer to work with.

Make some time before the call to take a quick look at their online profiles (e.g. github, LinkedIn) and pick out a couple of interesting things to discuss on the call. For example, repositories they worked on, or articles they’ve liked or commented on.

Listen out.

Be an active listener. Refer back to things they’ve mentioned previously to show you are paying attention. Use similar interests to draw out even more information — for example, if they mention they are working with a technology you have worked with, talk about shared experiences (for example, discuss good and bad points about the technology).

Ask and you shall receive.

👋I wasn’t going to ask but I thought I’d better take my own advice… Would you click on this link and book a time to chat with me? I’d love to get to know you a bit better! – Mike 👋

You want to finish off strong. Make sure you have a call to action ready. Remember to ask them if they’re open to new opportunities. If they respond with a yes, then also ask them what salary they are on, and what role they are after.

If they are a good fit, move quickly to get them into the office to meet the team for a more formal interview. Doing this on the phone call helps keep the flow and momentum, reducing the risk that they will get cold feet, or get snapped up by another employer.

If they answer in a passive manner, that’s not a problem. Every person you add to your network has value.

Be sure to ask them for a referral (“do you know anybody that might be suitable?“).

It might be worth offering to buy them a coffee and meet up face to face anyways. The goal is to keep building and strengthening relationships — you never know where each may lead, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

After your call, make sure you send a thank you message and the details of what is to happen next. Remember, candidate experience is important to get right. These candidates could be potential customers so unless you want to make the same mistake Virgin did, read up on why CX is so important and how to ace it.

Not sure what questions to ask in the phone call? We’ve got a templated guide you can follow.