Why don’t more recruiters insist on face-to-face interviews?

Too many recruiters rely on the informal chat of a phone interview to measure whether a candidate is suitable for a role. They have only the information of a piece of paper and a bodiless voice before they make their decision. That candidate then moves directly forward to a client, but how well can the recruiter really know the person they sent for a job, when they have never even met them?

Phone interviews are a great way of initially narrowing down applications, but I think that following up with a face-to-face interview is vital in recruiting effectively. It offers many additional benefits:

Reaction and body language

A massive benefit of face-to-face interviews is being able to see a candidate’s reaction to your questions and their body language, as these can often be quite telling. They could, for example, indicate discomfort with certain questions, or adversely demonstrate enthusiasm for the topics being discussed.


It’s much easier to really get a sense of a candidate’s personality when you meet with them face-to-face. Knowing the kind of personality someone has, can help you make an informed decision on whether they are right for the role and importantly whether the role is right for them.

Developing a personal relationship

As a recruitment consultant, your obvious priority is to build a relationship with your client and find them the right person for their roles. However, building good relationships with your candidates is key in filling those roles. If you find a great candidate, you don’t want to lose them. By personally conducting a face-to-face interview you establish a strong personal relationship that benefits you both.

Screening Accuracy

Face-to-face interviews do help with screening more accurately. A candidate is much less able to provide you with false information when they’re sitting right in front of you.

Additional Resources

Face-to-face interviews are a great time to immediately gather any additional information needed from candidates. You can take copies of key documents e.g. passport, qualification certificates etc. You can also ask candidates to fill out any necessary forms and even complete short on-the-spot tests.

Personally, I find interviewing candidates face-to-face allows me to make informed decisions about how well-suited to the role they are. I enjoy getting to know them, their interests and their career ambitions. I invest myself in their job search and when I do land them a role that I know they are perfect for, I always feel a great sense of reward.

James Downing
Senior Recruitment Consultant at Bridgewater Group

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