Transcription Services/Note Taking

How To Record A Phone Interview — Getting The Right Transcript

By Thomas Carter on August, 13 2019
Thomas Carter

Whether you’re hosting a phone interview for employment or information purposes, a decent transcript can be vital for ensuring you’re able to keep track of what was said. This is critical considering that you may have multiple similar phone conversations throughout the same working day. If you don’t take steps to prevent it, they could soon become blurred into one. 

That’s where recording phone interviews comes in. By making sure you have a reliable copy of any phone interview you conduct, you can then turn to transcription services to create easy to review copies that can be revisited at any point. This, in turn, will help you to avoid forgetting vital points or failing to do something which you’ve promised a client. If you’re hosting phone interviews for employment purposes, the right recording and transcript could even be the things that guarantee you find the right person for your team. 

You could say, then, that getting both your recording and your transcript right is pretty vital to phone interview success. The question is, how exactly do you go about it? First things first, you need to take care of your recording. 

 

A how-to guide for recording a phone interview

Without a quality phone recording, there will be no transcript. As such, this needs to be your first priority. Luckily, getting quality and useable recordings couldn’t be easier. We’ve got a how-to guide to talk you through the entire process. 

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Step 1: Consider the law

Firstly, consider the legal aspects of recording your phone calls. For obvious reasons, you can’t record whatever you like without repercussions. In fact, their GDPR compliance is one of the best things about UK-based transcript services, and it’s something which you need to lay the groundwork for during your recordings themselves. 

While laws regarding recordings like these vary between countries, there is pretty blanket legality regarding the recording of any phone conversation here in the U.K. While it is legal to record without informing the other party, you can only then use that recording for personal reasons. The only exception to this rule is for business calls. In this instance, recording without informing is allowed, but only for specific commerce-related reasons.

Whatever your reason for recording, your best bet of staying on the right side of the law is to inform the other party. This is especially the case if you intend to invest in a professional transcript on the back of that recording. Some companies even choose to warn about recorded phone calls with an automated message at the start of any phone-based conversation. Or, you could come right out and inform the person you’re talking with yourself if this is a call for more personal reasons. This is worth doing even if you’re speaking to someone in the U.S., where there is no set law about recordings. That’s because legislation varies between states, and could trip you up if you don’t take precautions. 

 

Step 2: Understand the recording process

Once you’ve made sure you’re recording on the right side of the law, it’s time to consider the recording process. Obviously, your options here vary depending on the type of phone you’re using, so we’re going to break this step into sections. 

If you’re in a rush, you could, of course, keep things simple. Regardless of the phone you’re on, switching to speakerphone means you could use free basic recording software like Audacity. While fast and convenient, though, this way of doing things has its downsides. Most notably with transcription, you’ll soon find that the background noise you gain by doing things this way can get in the way of quality. 

To avoid that, it’s worth delving deeper in the phone of your choosing. And we’re going to delve right in with you. 

 

  • Landline recordings

While smartphones are more typical for recording calls, landlines are still widely used within the business world. Call quality between two landlines will also be higher, and is actually ideal for recording it this is a possibility.

Recordings are entirely possible here, too. The most obvious option here would be a standalone recorder, and there are plenty of these on the market for less than £40. Failing that, something as simple as phoning 0872 100 3000 before your interview connects you to a company called ‘Record Your Call’ who will take care of that recording for you. 

 

  • Android and iPhone recordings

Once you move into the world of smartphones, you gain the benefits of beautiful things called apps. Most notably on the smartphone recording market is the free option of Google Voice. This is a handy little programme which many of us already use. It can record incoming calls, though strangely, not outgoing ones.

 

For recording a phone interview in particular, then you may be better off opting for one of many other apps available within Google Play Store or iTunes. While most of these do come with charges, they’re relatively small. And, when you invest in options like ‘TapeACall’, you sign up for a year of unlimited recordings, including Cloud storage and sharing capabilities which would work well if you’re using an outside transcript company. 

 

A how-to guide for getting the right transcript

Once you’ve taken care of the recording, of course, it’s time to get your transcript. Just as there are programmes which can record phone calls, there is also automatic speech recognition software (ASR) which can transcribe them. These are a cheap and easy enough transcription option for many users. The trouble is that ASR often leads to embarrassing mishaps or misrecordings due to a lack of human input. ASR also struggles with poor audio quality. Compared to in-person recordings, phone recording will always be lower quality.  

As a general rule, if you want quality and accuracy, it’s always worth seeking human transcription services. By working with transcript companies based within the UK, you can also rest easy that the legal worries we mentioned above are all in check before going ahead.

But, even once you’ve settled on human transcription, there are different types of transcription to suit each of your needs. Let’s look at which would be best for you. 

 

As you can guess from the title, a full verbatim transcript is, literally, a transcript which sticks to a recording word-for-word. That means every pause, ‘um’, and mispronunciation will be right there in your transcript. For general purposes, an option like this is long-winded and more challenging to read. They also cost more. 

 

By comparison, a verbatim transcript (also called intelligent verbatim or clean verbatim) sticks to what’s being said, but with a little editing for easier reading. This removes all the deliberation or sidelines which aren’t necessarily relevant to your interview itself -- like false starts, repetitions and ‘ums’. This is the standard transcript choice in many industries as it makes for easy reading while still delivering an exact record you can use for quotes or review. 

 

Detailed notes take the editing of a verbatim transcript another step. They remove off-topic sections of an interview and summarise interview questions. These are ideal for giving a briefer account of the interview if you are pressed for time. They are also often cheaper to have created. 

That’s it. That’s all the tools you need to get both recordings and transcripts right. Now, go out there and undertake the phone interview you’ve been hoping for. 


We hope this article about how to record a phone interview has helped you. Discover more about getting the right transcript using transcription services in our Ultimate Guide to Transcription Services, which provides information about ASR, transcript rates and getting industry-specific transcripts. 

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