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How To Hire Effectively For Lawyers, Part 3 : Save Time with The Phone Screen

As the economy slowly heats up, we turn our attention to the hiring process. For previous articles, check out Part One and Part Two of this series.

How many times have you seen an incredible resume and then interviewed the candidate, who turns out to be a total dud?

You might find a perfect match: you’re looking for help with drafting and across your desk comes a gleaming resume with oodles of credentials. Then you talk to them and you realize within five minutes that there’s no way the candidate will fit in your office.

Enter the phone screen, one of the most important weapons in your hiring arsenal. Once you whittle down your resume stack, but before you invite the candidate to your office, call the potential hire on the phone as an additional filter.

The phone screen is quick to conduct, doesn’t require anyone to get all dressed up and travel, and will save you precious billable time as you weed out candidates you know you wouldn’t hire within ten minutes of talking to them.

As software business legend Joel Spolsky writes in his book on hiring Smart and Gets Things Done:

With a phone interview, because you can’t see the person, it’s easier to focus on the quality of what they’re saying rather than other external factors not relevant to their job, like their appearance or their nervousness…

The great thing about a phone interview is that it’s much harder to form these snap judgements; you actually have to listen to what the person is saying and decide if that corresponds to what a smart person might say.

Once you have a conversation on the phone, it’s easy to determine whether or not the candidate should progress to the next round, the in-person interview.