Is video interviewing an effective screening tool for recruiters?
In the war for talent, accurate assessments of candidates and positive evaluations of interviewers are essential. Candidates who evaluate their interviewers more positively are more likely to accept a job offer. While modern technology has provided organizations with a slew of communication tools such as Skype, FaceTime and Google Hangouts that are used to recruit talent, nothing beats an in-person interaction, especially for the middle- and top-level jobs.
According to a study by Degroote School of Business at McMaster University in Ontario, applicants who were interviewed using video conferencing were less likely to get the job compared to the ones who underwent in-person interviews. Often, the resumes and the cover letters are written in a very formal manner, not providing much insight into the candidate’s personality. A personal Face-to-Face (F2F) interview is essential for gaining a good understanding of a candidate’s personality and motivation, which are key factors in predicting his or her success potential.
Video interviews are, of course, helpful when it comes to mass screening. They are particularly useful in assignments where a lot of the candidates, especially remote candidates, meet the basic requirements on paper and screening down to a few finalists would require a lot of interviews. But remember, as a recruiter you still have to go through all those videos to figure out the right candidate. Besides, a not-so-great internet connection can play havoc with the process. The candidates’ tech-savviness might also influence your impression even though it may not be directly related to the job, thus putting the candidate at a disadvantage. On the flip side, it puts less pressure on the candidates and allows them to communicate in a much more open fashion.
Besides, organizations don’t really save time with video interviews compared to telephone interviews or in-person interviews, except for the transportation time (on the candidate’s side). Another supposed benefit is that video interviews save recruiters the hassle as they help in sorting through the candidates faster. But, recruiters will still have to set apart time to listen and watch the interview videos. While recruiting for the middle or the top level, asking for a video interview can send a wrong signal to the candidates as it might mean that the company does not want to bother meeting people.
Additionally, it is also easy to become distracted whilst on video interviews and give the interviewer the wrong impressions. For example, the temptation to watch the little box at the bottom can give interviewer the impression that you lack confidence and sincerity. Looking into the camera will create the illusion of direct eye-contact, which is always a huge contributing factor in a F2F interview.
Video interviews are dehumanizing the interview process and while it may strike a chord with the millennial generation who have grown up with such applications, many mid and senior-level professionals still prefer the human touch. Cyberspace is a non-committed area of reality where you only have the facts and figures to guide you. People can be any kind of persona there and not show their true, authentic side. It works the other way too. When a candidate comes to your office, they too get an impression of you. How does the place look? Is the environment modern and clean? Does it look like it has a conducive atmosphere for reaching excellence? Bring in the candidates and give them the tour of the office, take them through multiple rounds and maybe a lunch. This would allow for multiple opinions on the candidate formed by various colleagues and provides a more wholesome picture about whether the candidate will be the right fit for the company.
F2F interviews allow for more in-depth data collection and comprehensive understanding and gives the interviewer more room to probe for explanation of responses. It allows the candidate to build a rapport with the interviewer, which will in turn help the latter pick up body language cues and facial expressions. This is more difficult in a video interview. An in-person interview is the best form of screening for the final decision-making round, particularly for the mid- and senior levels because as a recruiter you want the candidate to have the right culture fit. The DeGroote researchers found that candidates who were interviewed via video conferencing were rated lower by interviewers and were less likely to be recommended for hiring. Interestingly, even candidates rated their interviewers as less attractive, personable, trustworthy and competent.
F2F also makes it easier for the candidate to seek more answers to their queries or clarify questions that seemed confusing. Interviewers are able to connect with the candidates and show more empathy. When the candidates feel understood, they let their guard down, open up and share emotions.
One of the oldest forms of market research, F2F still holds good in this age of advanced technologies simply because there are inherent aspects, features and possibilities in a F2F interview that cannot be captured or replicated by any other method. That is why it is vital the talent acquisition function doesn’t lose the human touch. Recruitment, after all, is about finding the right person for the job who will be dependent on human relationships and intuition. At Antal International, we believe that enjoying the best of both worlds is key to successful talent acquisition.