Hiring Strategy

In-Person vs. Phone Interview: Candidate Pros & Cons

A CareerBuilder survey revealed that 49 percent of employers know within the first five minutes of an interview whether a candidate is a good or bad fit. Even more staggering is that 87 percent know within the first 15 minutes. Obviously, the first few minutes of an interview can tell a lot about a candidate. Hiring managers will do their best during an interview to uncover positive traits. They are looking for related experience, intelligence, ability to articulate interest in the position and company. They also are looking for red flags as warning signs that an applicant may not be their best choice. Skilled interviewers can pick up on signs during an interview and quickly rule out the candidate. They also have a choice of interview formats; in person, on the phone and video. Most frequently used are in person and telephone and from the candidate perspective, there are pros and cons to each. Let’s take a look at a few of them:

1. The Phone Interview

The phone interview is often used when companies are located where you don’t currently live and for a preliminary screen determining if your experience fits the core requirements of the job.


  • Can take the call in a place where you are the most settled and comfortable
  • Lower pressure and less stress (what to wear, when to arrive, and all the other things that may come with an in person interview)
  • You can use notes without the interviewer noticing
  • You can be more flexible with times
  • No expense for travel


  • More difficult to connect and build rapport in a meaningful way over the phone
  • You can’t read body language making it more difficult to see how the interviewer is responding to your answers
  • You have less time to sell yourself as telephone interviews are often shorter


  • Don’t commit to a telephone interview if you don’t have the time
  • Have your resume and job specification in front of you as guides during the interview
  • Have the company website open on your laptop, bring up the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile, etc.
  • Make notes throughout the interview, and use this information to ask questions
  • Smile! It will come across during the interview
  • Stick to the time allocated and be concise
  • Keep your energy level high and make sure your voice and tone is coming across as enthusiastic

2. The In-Person Interview

The most common type of interview for most employers. Even if initial conversations happen by phone or video, most companies will want to meet you in person eventually before making an offer.


  • It is the best way to make an all-around great impression
  • There is no substitute for connecting with someone face to face
  • You’ll observe the office environment and form an impression on company culture
  • Other managers may join in if all goes well
  • It is much easier to build rapport in person
  • It is also much easier to read how the interview is going (Body language, do they look interested? Do they ask additional probing questions?)


  • It has the most pressure, stress and variables
  • Scheduling if you are actively employed.
  • You’ll have to find the time that works for both you and your future employer
  • You’ll have to pay more attention to your dress and overall presentation
  • You can’t refer to as many notes during a face-to-face interview


  • First impressions are lasting so be early, be presentable and dress for the environment and don’t have a limp handshake
  • Have your resume and job specification in front of you and know them inside and out
  • Do thorough company research before you show up
  • Prepare for the typical interview questions and avoid looking “frazzled”
  • Engage with the interviewers and ask relevant questions
  • Show that you are adaptable and give examples

The interview is the best way to demonstrate your qualifications and clearly let hiring managers know you want to be part of their Team. More than likely if you are being strongly considered for a position, you will go through an in person interview. Before being given that opportunity, you may also take part in a phone or maybe a video interview. Whichever means the prospective employer chooses to use, follow the advice in this article and ace the interview.

For assistance with any or all of your human resource needs, HR Affiliates provides solutions that fit any company.