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hiring directly over phone

Does any company ever hire directly over the phone?
Or do they at least have the person in-house.Somebody was suggesting hiring over the phone to "save costs".

Friday, December 19, 2003

I would if I could fire them over the phone too :-)

More often than not the phone interview is used to sift through the chaff to save your time inteviewing in person only for those who atleast reasonably deserve it.

Code Monkey
Friday, December 19, 2003

I was hired once over the phone. It was in Scotland, so asking me to do a ten hour round trip to interview was a bit off. It was for a contract role with 4 weeks notice so it's not too hard to ditch people, although this place apparently has a really good record of getting it right.

I was there >nine months in the end and they offered me another renewal which I turned down.

It can be done but it's a risk.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Well, I did once get hired over the phone ... but it was for a contract in another state (although they did hire me within a couple of months).

It was also at the peak of the dot com insanity ...

I'd think and hope this sort of practice would be pretty rare.

Friday, December 19, 2003

"Save costs?"  What, is your conference room billed by the minute or something?  Sounds like local optimization to me.

I suppose that if you have a panel-style interview process, you might use an initial phone interview screening phase, and that might save the trouble of coordinating 4-5 people's schedules... but I'd be really reluctant to hire based on a phone interview alone.  You learn quite a bit about someone on the basis of nonverbal cues that, by definition, you won't catch over the phone.  And anyone you might make an offer to deserves the same kind of information about you and the work environment.

Frankly, I'd be worried about hiring someone inappropriate for the job just based on a phone call -- which is going to be far more expensive than bringing 3-5 people into the office.

Sam Livingston-Gray
Friday, December 19, 2003

HP hired me as a contrator over the phone. That was 1996.

fool for python
Friday, December 19, 2003

Sam, I agree, but playing devil's advocate for a moment: the cost for bringing in five out-of-town candidates for interviews could add up to maybe $10K. So it's not totally petty to consider that.

However, I'd agree the risk of making a bad hiring decision is much greater if you can't meet candidates in person, so saving that $10K is probably a great example of being penny-wise and pound-foolish. As a candidate, in fact, I'd be wary of the financial situation of a company that was that tight-fisted about recruitment.

John C.
Friday, December 19, 2003

I was hired over the phone from Australia for a job in Tokyo and flown out at their expense, but this was in 2000 before the bubble fully burst.

Matthew Lock
Friday, December 19, 2003

I remember some study discovered that over-the-phone interviewing reduces discrimination.

Joel Spolsky
Friday, December 19, 2003

Actually, the practice is quite common. 

Usually, the way it works is some employee of a consulting firm is working out of state on an account for his employer (the consulting firm).  An Account manager or someone else working at the firm will start looking around for a new gig for their "employee who is working out of state" when they get a general idea of when this person's services will no longer be needed by the firm's "out of state" client.

Once the account manager finds an appropriate gig for the employee he/she will set up phone interviews for the employee. Usually, the interviews are tag team and technical in nature because the hiring client typically wants to make sure the firm isn't trying to pawn a lemon off on them.

Btw, there usually is a lot of coaching going on before these type of phone interviews occur.

One Programmer's Opinion
Friday, December 19, 2003

Its quite common for me to get work and never meet the people involved, the only contact being by phone or email.

Simon Lucy
Saturday, December 20, 2003

I know of some people who got hired after a videoconference interview.  Seems like a reasonable compromise for hiring far-away candidates.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Compaq hired me over the phone, but it was in 2000 and it was for an internship.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

I just got hired over the phone for an out of state contract. I will be starting the 29th. I went through a 30 minute interview with the program manager and the senior programmer at the site.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

I've had three contracts based on telephone interviews. The first was in 1993 when they wanted someone fast, interview on the Friday afternoon, started work on the Monday morning. The job was about 50 miles away.

The second was in 1997 to work in Belgium which would have involved a long journey. This was not .com related, it was a bank doing financial stuff of which I had no experience. Third was to go and work back in the UK and was probably because I had a pretty unique set of skills that they required.

The weirdest was to get a contract without an interview. In 1998 I got a contract in Switzerland without doing anything more than telling the agency that I may be interested in it ! This was for a bank and not a .com position, I stayed for almost two years in the end.

Ahhh, the good old days when supply and demand were the right way round ...

Sunday, December 21, 2003


One of the funniest things I ever saw was a contractor who was leaving us having a phone interview from his desk at work.

Technical interview - but he had MSDN up on his PC. Hilarious - some random techincal question, "Hmmmm let me think about that", click, click, "Ah yes, ....".

Sunday, December 21, 2003

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