An interview is a conversation, usually between two parties, where questions are asked by an interviewer and answers are given by an interviewee. Through multiple rounds of exchanges in dialogue and conversation, the interviewer is able to get a better impression and understanding of the interviewee’s personality, thoughts, feelings, and mental processes before assessing if the person is suitable for the job or position he is applying for. Interviews are usually viva voce, and are typically and traditionally conducted face to face in person. However, the arrival of modern technology has made other modes of interviews such as through the telephone or videoconferencing a contemporaneous and viable medium. This essay will focus on the merits and demerits of telephone interviews in its modern usage.
First, telephone interviews are inexpensive and practical. They help bridge parties separated by miles of geographical distance, reducing the need for travel from one place to another, and also the potentially high costs (in time and financial resources) associated with travel (“The Pros and Cons”, 2017). Tangentially, when two places are separated across different time zones, the problem of jet lag could also hinder the interviewee’s performance. Telephone interviews are thus economical and efficient for most uses.
Next, due to the ubiquity of telephones, owing to the modernisation and advancement of telephone coverage in most of the developed world, telephone interviews can occur at any time of the day. They thus provide more flexibility for both interviewers and interviewees as phone calls can be arranged in between appointments or events (“The Pros and Cons”, 2017). However, connectivity or reception issues could occur sometimes in places that are less connected. While technology has also advanced, it could sometimes be unreliable, such as in the case of network breakdowns. However, as telephone interviews can be conducted at any given space and time, telephone interviews are thus typically used for its convenience and flexibility.
On the flip side, there are also reasons to oppose their adoption. Telephone interviews differ from the other two aforementioned modes in one key aspect: the lack of the visual element, meaning that the exchange of views and dialogue occurs only aurally without visuals (“The Pros and Cons”, 2017). This could be a bane or boon. The lack of visuals means that both parties are unable to see each other during the interview (Rahman 2015). A dishonest interviewee might also thus make use of this medium’s blind spot to refer to pre-prepared materials that would otherwise be unavailable given a visual reference (“The Pros and Cons”, 2017). Interviewees could also be assisted by third parties to increase their performance in such interviews. One example of a telephone interview also coaches and prescribes a series of recommendations and answers that candidates can model their responses after during a telephone interview. A recommendation given encourages candidates to be “as specific as possible” and to “insert an example” for the purposes of elucidation and not to give vague responses (“15 Toughest Interview Questions”, 2015). For an organisation assessing a candidate’s suitability for a college or job position, this blind spot thus masks and obfuscates the true abilities of the candidate in question and may result in an inaccurate assessment of the person’s capabilities. Telephone interviews are thus usually employed when they are used as an administrative hurdle, rather than for higher-stakes situations that call for a holistic reading of a candidate’s capabilities, which includes the ability of their candidates to think on their feet without assistance.
Next, the lack of visuals also means that assessors are less able to make assessments based on visual cues like body language and emotions which might tell the candidate’s ability to undertake stressful situations and allow candidates to deliver a more holistic and wholesome presentation of themselves (“The Pros and Cons”, 2017). Additionally, in-person interviews has the added advantage of giving candidates a better feel and understanding of their prospective host organization, though this also comes at the aforementioned cost of travel.
- Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment (2017, April 15). The Pros and cons of Telephone Interviews. Retrieved from https://www.aaronwallis.co.uk/pros-and-cons-of-telephone-interviews.aspx
- Lifestyle Digest WomenCo. (2015) 15 Toughest Interview Questions and Answers. Retrieved from http://www.aucev.edu.in/placementcell/Materials/Interview5.pdf
- Rahman, R. (2015). Comparison of Telephone and In-Person Interviews. Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research Journal, 10-13.