Technology is having a huge impact on recruitment. A vacancy gets posted online to job boards and career pages, someone applies on their smartphone in their lunch break, their application is filtered and organised by an ATS system and the majority of correspondence happens over email. This trend is also rapidly coming to the interview process with video interviewing. This can be a normal two-way conversation or recording answers to set questions, but is this a change for the better or depersonalising a personal process?
Let’s look at the practical benefits first:
Quick and easy to arrange
The task of arranging interviews can be difficult because everybody has different availabilities that can overlap, as well as needing notice to arrange time off work. By removing the need to travel, video interviews can fit into people’s workday and so are much more flexible. Suddenly your 10 interviews can be held in 2 days instead of two weeks.
Remember and replay
When interviews are close together it’s easier to remember everybody and make a more informed decision. Video interviewing can go even further and let you playback the interview (with the right software).
Especially as the job market continues to improve, companies need to sell themselves to applicants, not just the other way around. Video interviewing is not a common practice yet and it may be the applicant’s first time. This can help give a modern and innovative impression of embracing new technologies.
But nothing is picture-perfect. Here are some of the problems video interviewing still has:
One of the first issues people encounter with video interviewing is low bandwidth connections that struggle or fail at video streaming. This can cause bad image quality, miscommunication and generally prevents either party from communicating very well – not conducive to a quality interview.
Particularly with cheaper webcams, people can often look quite unattractive/unwell. Not only can this make them look less presentable, but it can make them very self-conscious and so less confident.
Difficult to build rapport
The biggest argument against video interviewing is that it keeps people at a distance and doesn’t let the interviewer build a rapport. Little things like inviting someone into the room, shaking their hand, offering them a drink all help to relax and can lead to freer conversation. The awkwardness of glancing from the screen to the camera lens as well as the slight pause between talking can ruin what could have been a high quality interview.
But is this important?
There is growing research to suggest that we just aren’t very good at judging character in a short time period. This is a controversial point and is still very much debatable but it needs to be considered. The best response to it is to keep the interview as measurable as possible: ask all the candidates the exact same questions and avoid anything personal. For this reason the video interview could be perfect for recording and replaying answers to make balanced, informed decisions.
Is it right for you?
Video interviewing has come a long way with developments in infrastructure and hardware and now offers a convenient and cheap way to interview, particularly over long distances. The ability to playback interviews is also a hugely valuable resource that allows for in depth analysis rather than gut reactions. But are interviews about more than asking questions and writing down the answers? They can be about gauging personality, character and letting the applicant experience your company, meet the teams and understand your company culture. This is something that video interviews can never achieve. If you still value the subjective nature of interviews, video will always remain a lower quality solution to cut costs and time but if you want a more objective process, it could revolutionise your hiring.