Video Interview or Phone Call: Which Is Better?

Career DevelopmentPersonal Branding
Newer video interview technology has made the employment process both easier and more complicated. Nailing the first interaction is critical.

Newer video interview technology has made the employment process both easier and more complicated. Nailing the first interaction is critical.

There are three interview options when looking for a new job: an in-person interview, phone interview, or video conference.

The in-person interview, of course, is the ultimate goal in the hiring process. Very few companies are so bold, or desperate, as to hire a candidate sight unseen. And few candidates would feel comfortable without the chance to inspect their new workplace and meet their new bosses and coworkers.

Phone screens are the most popular method of interviewing. Companies usually start with a phone screen, followed by an in-person interview.

Video interviews have become the preferred method of interviewing over the last five years. Since COVID-19, many recruiters have made video interviews the default choice.

Which screen is better for applicants…the phone screen or the video screen?

The Telephone Interview

Phone interviews are the best format for first-round interviews. Aspiring job seekers often prepare for a phone interview as part of the first step in obtaining a job.


  1. Every candidate can access phone interviews and they have been used for decades for hiring purposes. This tried-and-true interview technique is more comfortable for candidates with fewer tech skills. The recruiter calls candidates on their landline or mobile phones and off they go.
  2. A phone interview is a great way to start a conversation with a recruiter before speaking with a member the candidate would be working alongside. This is a more relaxed way to establish a rapport between candidate and company.
  3. Both the candidate and the recruiter cannot see each other. This allows both to refer to their notes during interviews.


  1. It can be difficult for recruiters and candidates to determine if they’re a good match over the phone. Phone interactions can be challenging when establishing a strong first impression.
  2. It is difficult to gauge the non-verbal signals candidates and recruiters exchange at this stage. This further blurs the lines between how the recruiter can assess job skills and match.

The Video Interview

Due to the pandemic and other restraints on travel, in-person contact, and masking requirements, video interviews are now standard.

Most people looking for work are now comfortable using video communication, such as Zoom. Social media has conditioned millions to the convenience, ease, and flexibility of communicating with one another via video links. Just look at YouTube!

And all indications point to the rapid increase of video conferencing for businesses worldwide. The fact is you can’t buy a new cellphone or computer without it having an HD video app already built-in.


  1. Video interviews allow both the candidate as well as the recruiter to see and interact live with one another. This allows recruiters to assess candidate responses to interview questions. It can also lead to a more natural flow and ease of conversation.
  2. A video interview gives recruiters a better insight into the personality of a candidate than a phone interview. It’s easier to see how well-prepared a candidate is.


  1. Technical problems can interrupt the flow of a video interview, throwing both interviewer and interviewee off-track and reducing the chance for each to make an accurate assessment.
  2. Interviewees and interviewers may be intimidated by the constant visibility and video platform.

Why not get the best of both worlds?

Consider using both the phone interview and video interview techniques during your recruitment process. Another strategy is to use the phone interview to conduct a 15- to 30-minute initial screen between a recruiter, and a candidate. The next step would be a video interview between the hiring manager, the candidate, and them.

You could also invite the candidate to the workplace to meet other members of the team and take them on a tour. Or you could close the hiring process by completing the video interview.

Shortening your hiring process will help your company compete in the current labor market. Your chances of losing candidates are greater if your hiring process takes too long. The number of resources and amount of time you have available may affect your decision to choose between video or phone interviews.

No matter what method you choose to use, let candidates know your preference so they can download the appropriate software and charge their phones. This will ensure that an easy interview process.