Requiring face-to-face interviews is becoming a thing of the past. Video-call interviews appear to offer all the same advantages as face-to-face interviews at less cost and hassle.
That’s why 42% of interviews for executive, managerial, and entry-level jobs were done via video call, according to the Aberdeen Group. As people become more familiar and comfortable with the technology, expect that number to increase.
But do you lose something by never meeting the person you’re hiring? Before you start your next round of hiring, consider the benefits and problems with ditching face-to-face interviews.
Tools like Skype and Google Hangouts have made video calling easier than ever. With phone interviews, the candidate and employer couldn’t see each other, losing all of that valuable nonverbal communication like facial gestures and body language. But video conferencing allows for all of that and mimics face-to-face interaction. (However, it doesn’t replicate face-to-face communication in some important ways noted in the next section.)
Plus, video calls are simpler and cheaper. No longer do you have to pay for a faraway candidate’s plane ticket and hotel. And the interaction only lasts as long as the interview — no awkward lunches or tours of the office. Video calls allow companies to recruit candidates from all over the world, which simply wasn’t practical before.
That said, Skype interviews have some clear disadvantages. A study by DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University found that employers and candidates said they liked each other less after Skype interviews. They commented that this “technological barrier” leads to less-than-optimal communication. If you’re using different methods to interview candidates, be aware that you’re more likely to prefer the candidate in a face-to-face interview.
Other issues include distractions during the interview in the candidate’s home, such as a kid trying to get their parent’s attention or a cat walking in front of the camera. A face-to-face interview guarantees that the setting is appropriate and professional.
Video calls come with potential, let’s face it inevitable, technological issues. Video calls are still rife with frame rate and audio problems, from bad camera angles to faulty microphones.
In one episode of Master of None, a struggling actor attempts to do an audition at a coffee shop because the Wi-Fi in his apartment isn’t working. Needless to say, the audition goes poorly. So the candidate’s technological capabilities will partially determine if they get the job, even if the job has little to do with technology.
Candidates also have no opportunity to see if they like the workplace. For companies looking for a strong culture fit, video-call interviews might not be the best choice.
Companies will continue to use video calls for interviews because of this method of communication’s convenience and low cost. But hiring managers should be weary of the problems associated with video-call interviews.