Want to hire better people?  Do more telephone interviews.

Want to speed up your hiring process?  Do more telephone interviews.

Want to broaden your candidate pool and give more consideration to “out of the box” thinking?  Do more telephone interviews.

Done correctly, telephone interviews are faster and easier to schedule than face to face meetings.  You can talk to more people in a day, and you are far more likely to consider outlier candidates because you know that if it is going badly, you can get out of it in just a few minutes.  Seth Godin makes this case (sort of) in a recent post.  I do not agree with his approach for most hiring situations, but he does raise some good points.

Here’s the key.  Schedule the telephone interviews back to back, giving yourself just enough time to make a go forward/ no go decision.  Before you start taking calls, block out some time for face to face interviews.  That way, if you are intrigued by someone on the telephone, you can book them immediately for an in person interview.   They will know you are taking their time seriously, and you will force yourself to become efficient with your time on the phone.