Is there any downside that you can think of to doing an interview in
person if all the other candidates are done over the phone?
It's not a huge deal, but I can think of a few potential downside issues:
- You aren't conducting all the interviews in the same manner. Thus, you may be inclined to evaluate this candidate's "non-phone-screen" differently than the real "phone-screen" candidates. This could help or hurt the candidate. Most likely, the candidate thinks she/he will be gaining an advantage by requesting an in-person interview. That may or may not be so.
- For me, it takes more time to prep a location for an in-person interview, than a phone screen. I have to make sure the location is available and clean, get the candidate to sign in at the front desk, walk down to get him/her, escort the candidate to the proper location, then do the same in reverse on the way out
- You are limiting the interviews to times when you are in the office. I sometimes do phone screen from home (and of course you would never invite a candidate into your home for interviews)
- Candidates sent in via an agency are often debriefed after the interview. What they learn is then used for the next candidate sent by the agency. So you can expect other candidates to start requesting in-person interviews, rather than phone screens. Consider if you want to set that as a precedent or not.
- In some locales/contexts there my be legal issues with not treating all applicants identically. Consult your HR department for guidance.
Again, not a big deal. For me though, I try to keep all the first-round screens as similar as I can, so I'd tend to require a phone screen unless there was a very convincing, unusual reason to do otherwise.