You’ve been searching for months.
You finally identify a resume that looks promising. The candidate’s background is perfect…good education, right industry, not too many jobs. She’s even local!

Stop right there..
What you do next may be the key to determining whether or not you are able to land this candidate.

DO NOT schedule the candidate for a phone interview! You may think that it will save you time, but it actually may extend the process and hurt your chances of hiring the candidate.

Pick up the phone, call her, introduce yourself, briefly sell your company and the opportunity and invite her in for a face to face interview. Let’s face it, most of the time you can tell from a resume whether the candidate has the skill set to do the job. But you can’t determine the intangibles from a sheet of paper. And a phone interview won’t help you determine those either.

So skip the phone interview.

Moving straight to a face to face interview has several distinct advantages over a phone interview.

1.  It shows a sense of urgency to the candidate. Many companies feel like they have to have multiple phone interviews with candidates prior to bringing them in to their facility. The message that sends to the candidate is that you are unsure as to whether they are capable of handling the position. By inviting them in immediately, it shows that you are decisive and are confident that they are worth meeting.

2.  It saves time. Yes, you read that correctly – it saves you time and also removes redundancy. In this market, the time from when a candidate is identified to when they are hired is critical. By removing the phone interview, you will typically shorten the time to hire by at least a few days. Generally the questions that are asked in the phone interview get asked again in the first meeting anyway.

3.  A face to face interview allows you a better opportunity to sell the candidate on your company and role. Great candidates need to be sold on the opportunity. If a picture is worth 1000 words, why try to tell someone how great it is to work for your company, when you can show them instead?

4.  A face to face meeting will get you a better read on the candidate. Are they someone you would put in front of your best customer? Are they confident? Do they present themselves professionally? These are questions a phone interview cannot answer.

5.  Fewer distractions, more commitment. There are many potential distractions during phone interviews. And a phone call typically is a lower priority than an actual meeting. More phone interviews get rescheduled because another meeting runs long than vice versa.

A phone interview has its place when the candidate and interviewer are not in the same geographic location, but the in person interview is much more effective at identifying and, just as importantly, attracting great candidates.

So resist the urge of the phone interview. It may be the most effective thing you can do for your hiring process.