Telephone vs. In-Person Interviews: Advantages and Disadvantages
Hiring managers are often able to tell from the very first moments of an interview whether a candidate is the best person for the position. They know whether the work environment and team dynamics will suit the personality and working style of the job seeker who sits before them.
As a job seeker, it’s your duty to prove to the hiring manager that you will be a good fit. However, that is easier said than done. Interviews can be intimidating, and it is not uncommon to experience anxiety before and during a job interview. Some individuals get so overwhelmed they become barely capable of answering the questions they are asked.
In the course of any job search, you will likely come across two kinds of interviews: in-person and on the phone. Each format has its own pros and cons, and candidates should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages in order to maximize their chances of success.
Telephone interviews are generally conducted by hiring managers in an effort to save time and quickly eliminate candidates who do not meet the organization’s requirements. The aim of a phone interview is not necessarily to identify the strongest candidates, but to eliminate the weakest ones. Given that a single open job can attract hundreds of resumes, it is understandable why employers want to screen candidates as efficiently as possible over the phone.
According to the experts at Algrim.co, telephone interviews are an integral part of business practices today. Some companies require only one telephone interview, while others might request two or three, depending on the situation.
- Calms interview anxiety: On the phone, you can often speak with confidence and portray your true self. You are not face to face with the interviewer, which removes a major source of anxiety. You can also hold the phone interview in a familiar environment, such as your own home, which increases your comfort level.
- Eliminates geographical distance: Are you applying for a job in a remote location? If so, a phone interview can be a huge benefit. You do not have to spend hours on end on the road just to complete the hiring process. The hiring manager can vet your skills without meeting you in person.
- Trouble building rapport: While it is not out of the bounds of possibility, it can be difficult to build genuine rapport with an interviewer over the phone. You need to be very skilled and purposeful in your behavior to establish connections with hiring managers over the phone. Focus all your attention on the call, avoid multitasking, and project a positive attitude.
- Less time to sell yourself: Phone interviews are generally much shorter than in-person interviews. You do not have all the time in the world, but you can still make a sound impression. Learn to sell yourself in 30 seconds and leave the employer wanting more.
Face-to-face interviews are formal meetings that happen in person between the hiring manager and the candidate. They are often more in depth than telephone interviews. In-person interviews enable hiring managers to better evaluate a candidate’s attitude and preferences, as well as assess vital non-verbal cues.
- Clarifying answers: You want to give the best answers you can to interview questions, but sometimes your first attempt isn’t as good as you’d like it to be. The good news is that in-person interviews often allow more room for you to clarify your answers. Because these conversations go deeper than phone interviews, you usually have the chance to build on your answers and even ask your own clarifying questions, if necessary.
- Make a great impression: With phone conversations, there is the risk of being misunderstood or coming across as underwhelming, since you cannot use body language or facial cues. During an in-person interview, you can use nonverbal communication to send a powerful message, demonstrate confidence, and really leave a lasting impression.
- Scheduling the interview: If you are currently employed, scheduling an in-person interview can be complicated. You might be required to take time off from work to attend a face-to-face interview, but you have to keep things confidential. After all, you don’t want your current employer to know you are looking for a new job.
- Handling the pressure: Only one person will get the job, which means the pressure is on during an in-person interview. You have to do your best to convince the employer to hire you over other qualified candidates while remaining calm, cool, and effective. React to the situation and not the stress. Take your time and present the best version of yourself.
Interviews — whether over the phone or in person — are key to job search success. Preparing in advance can mean the difference between landing your dream job and continuing the employment search. Know what to expect from all kinds of interviews in order to maximize your shot at success.
Stephen Marshall is a director of Be Basic CEO.
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