Recruiting quality employees involves finding candidates and gathering resumes. One of the key elements to the hiring process is the personal interview. There are many ways by which a company can screen candidates based on their resumes. But there are candidate characteristics which can only be determined during a personal meeting. Understanding the importance of personal interviews in the selection process helps you to put the proper emphasis on preparing to interview candidates.

Analytical Skills

During the personal interview, an employer will check the analytical skills of the candidate in ways that cannot be done with a written test. Certain questions during the personal interview are devised to see how the candidate can analyze a situation and create a solution. For example, an employer may ask a candidate to explain a time when the candidate had to work quickly against a pending deadline. In the personal interview, the employer can ask follow-up questions to dig deeper into the candidate's critical thinking process, to see if she fits the employer's profile for a successful employee.


When an employer is engaged in a personal interview with a candidate, she will listen to hear how the candidate gives answers to questions, watch for body language that can indicate the candidate is not being truthful or is uncomfortable; determine confidence by gauging eye contact. In such positions as customer service and sales, being able to effectively communicate using your entire body is important, and these skills can only be judged during a personal interview.


Candidates who do not take the time to create a professional presentation for a personal interview can hurt their chances for getting the job. A personal interview gives the employer the opportunity to see what the candidate considers to be professional grooming, professional attire and a professional attitude. A candidate's resume may be impressive, but if he shows up to the interview 30 minutes late and is not dressed in professional interview attire, then he may not be the candidate you are looking for.


In a personal interview it is not always the answer you give to a question that is important, but how you give that answer. An interviewer is well aware of the corporate culture within her company, and a personal interview gives the interviewer a chance to gauge the candidate's attitude to see if there is a match with the company.