In a perfect world, as you call applicants to set up appointments for interviews, each one will answer the phone and set a date and time to meet with you. In the real world, this never happens; you will end up playing phone tag with a few of them. Keep track of when you called and what form of message you left (e.g., left a voicemail message, spoke with someone named Joe and asked that the message be forwarded, etc.). It's a rare thing to call someone in our high-tech times and hear a busy signal or a phone that simply rings and rings, but it does occur, so keep track of this as well. If the applicant calls to inquire about the status of his application, you can let him know that you tried to contact him and were unsuccessful. Your obligation is to make a reasonable effort to schedule interviews; if someone is too hard to reach, he needs to re-evaluate his availability.
Once you have reached an applicant, give them a description of the job duties and verify that they are interested and can perform the job. Have two or three dates you are available to interview them so that you don't have to juggle dates and times while you're on the phone. Give directions to your company and let them know which door to enter, how to find you, and an estimate of how much time to allow for the interview. If you have only a resume from the applicant, ask them to arrive fifteen minutes early to fill out an application before your appointment.
If an applicant lives far away and is hesitant to spend the time and gas to meet with you without the guarantee of a job, let them make the decision whether or not to come. There are expenses involved with looking for a job and this is something that you are not expected to absorb.
Some employers prefer to do a preliminary interview over the telephone, then narrow it down from there, and call people in for appointments. If you do this, first ask the applicant if they are still looking for employment. If they are, tell them how long you expect the phone call to last and ask them if they are available now, or would like to set a time for you to call back later.
If you call someone to schedule an interview and they tell you that they have already found a job, thank them for their interest in working for your company and wish them well in their new position. Indicate on the application that they are no longer available for work and start a separate file for applications with this status.
If you set an appointment with a candidate who does not show up, make note of this on the application. You made an attempt to give this person a fair chance and she didn't follow through with her end of the arrangement. She may call later to say that there was an emergency and ask to reschedule the interview. If this happens, try your best to reschedule with her because everyone has a legitimate crisis at one time or another. Whether or not you are able to schedule another interview, indicate on the application that she called you to let you know why she did not show up. You can never be too careful about documenting the contact you have with people who make an attempt to get a job at your company.
When scheduling an interview with someone based only on a resume, she must fill out and sign an employment application before you meet with her to discuss the job in person. Her signature on the application finalizes her intent to apply for the position and it holds her responsible for the information stated on the application. See Chapter 3 to read about applicants who are not truthful.
Some of the questions asked on an application may be answered with “please see resume” if it is covered on the resume. One of the most common areas where this falls is the section of the application that asks for the duties of the jobs the applicant has had in the past. Resumes don't usually include the phone number and address of previous employers. If this is the case with your applicant's resume, then she should put the contact information on the application so that you have it handy if you do a reference check.