First Round of Interviews: Phone vs. In-Person

Posted by Geoff Zodda, Managing Director at Glenmont Group

 Everyone has different opinions on whether they’d rather have a phone or in-person interview during the first round of interviews. Some prefer the phone call; some dread a phone conversation as a first impression. Here is a breakdown on when to utilize a phone interview as the first round of the vetting process, and when to bring in the candidate. Also, the pluses and possibly the adverse effects of doing so.

 When to conduct a phone interview:

-The position is time sensitive – There needs to be a quick vetting process and the client does not have enough time to have thorough conversations with each candidate. This brief conversation will give them a feel of the candidate’s background and whether they are a close enough fit technically speaking and personality wise, to bring in for interviews.

Adverse effect: Individuals do not necessarily portray themselves in the same manner on the phone as they do in person. That would make taking the time to conduct phone interviews, an additional step that ends up being a time eater.

 –There are a ton of candidates to choose from – If the resumes are pouring in and there just is no way to meet with each candidate individually to start off the process, a phone interview would work perfectly. Make sure you ask to the same type of behavioral and technical questions to each candidate to make sure that everyone is on an equal playing field.

 –Different locations – If the hiring manager is located in a different location from the candidates, it makes perfect sense to conduct a phone interview. In geographically challenging situations, it saves the client time and money, and both parties time.

 When to conduct an in-person interview:

-The position is very niche – In the case that the position is very niche, where there are only a few experts for the opportunity, an in-person interview is the way to go. You do not want to pass up or delay the process by starting off with a phone interview when you can as easily meet with the candidates.

Adverse effect: You may think you have the right candidate on paper, but when you meet with them, it could be a totally different story.

 -The role is one with a lot of client facing – If there is a lot of interaction with customers, or users, one may opt for an in-person interview first. The fact that part of who the client will choose for this position is based upon how the individuals present themselves should be a good enough reason to skip the phone interview round itself.

 If you are a hiring authority and have to make this sometime difficult decision on whether to conduct phone interviews or in-person meetings to start off the process, go through this brief check list and see what works best for your situation.


Glenmont Group is a boutique search firm that concentrates on Professional Services, with a focus in the Legal & Content space. Because we are a highly focused boutique firm, we offer expertise in the industry that other search firms cannot. Our staff has been trained on, employed in or consulted for these industries so there is no learning curve. This means that you will not see resumes off of "job boards" that seem to have little or no connection to the position you are trying to fill. In fact, just the opposite is true. Our process includes a competitive analysis that identifies the top candidates in your given field. At Glenmont Group, we strive to develop and maintain long-term professional relationships with our clients. We believe in a business relationship based on hard work, cooperation, integrity, trust and a sense of humor. We are also active members in our industries by working on or with the Executive board of our industry trade organizations such as; IQPC, EDRM, LMA, PMA, ALSM, ALA, AIIM, ARMA. This assures constant access to a network of those highest quality candidates who are involved in these organizations.

Posted in Advice, Employment, Hiring, Interviewing, Uncategorized

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