Client Interviews: To Call or Not to Call?

How should your interviewer conduct the interview? The two primary options, of course, are via phone or in person. The fact is, a phone interview is downright easier, less time consuming and less expensive, but interview quality will very likely suffer.

An in-person meeting tends to be more focused with less distractions and interruptions and provides an easier opportunity to develop rapport that is important to the process. It also demonstrates more of an investment in the relationship. In addition, during a phone call, the interviewer misses out on the nonverbal cues—cues that may be inconsistent with what the client is saying.

Envision yourself on a phone call. What are the client’s facial expressions? Is he or she slouched or sitting up straight? Playing with a pen? These cues are all indicative of how one may be thinking or feeling—distracted, annoyed, amused, engaged. A skilled interviewer can pick up on these cues by probing. Nonverbal cues, in our opinion, are critically important, and make it worth the extra effort and expense to conduct an in-person interview if schedules and proximity permit.

Lastly, in our experience, a client will provide more time to an in-person meeting and be less likely to disengage.

Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson is founder and principal of Law Practice Consultants, LLC of Newton, MA. Law Practice Consultants offers consulting, coaching and training services that help law firms respond to the challenges of today’s highly competitive legal marketplace. For more information visit
Peter Johnson

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