Face-to-face interviews are the preferred selection tool for recruiters, but this may be changing as videoconference technology becomes more available and easy to use. It doesn’t hurt that videoconference interviews take up less resources in terms of people, time, money, and environmental impact. They allow companies to broaden their applicant pool in a world that’s becoming more globally competitive. More than half of the largest U.S. companies do videoconference interviews. The Modern Language Association (MLA) has increased their use of videoconference interviews from 12% to 18%, and any college career center worth its salt includes tips and advice on preparing for a videoconference interview. Chapman and Webster in 2003 anticipated that 10% of companies would be hiring purely from videoconference interviews.
Unlike telephone interviews which also save a lot of money and resources in the recruitment process, few companies are rash enough to actually hire someone based on phone interviews. There’s something about needing to “see it in order to believe it.” For better or for worse, nonverbal cues such as eye contact, smiling, body orientation, gestures all influence a person’s perception and ability to trust in another person, which you can’t get over the phone.
How VSee Does It
At VSee, we will actually hire people without ever having met them before in person. In fact, we almost never do in-person interviews. Besides having high quality video, VSee’s remote application-sharing also allows us to give brief skills tests during the interview so we get a sense of how comfortable an applicant is in programming (and to make sure applicants are doing their own work!) VSee is also makes it easy for a panel of interviewers who may be in different locations to meet with the applicant. Unlike this professor’s Skype experience of talking to a distant table of interviewers or a hidden interviewer, each VSee interviewer’s face is clearly visible.
Perceptions of Videoconference Interviews
For those of you who are concerned about how applicants perceive videoconference interviews. An informal poll on Microsoft’s Job Blog reported that 88% of poll participants preferred videoconference to telephone interviews. In an early 1997 study by Kroeck and Magnusen, a remarkable 54% of applicants rated videoconference interviews the same or preferable to a traditional face-to-face interview. While applicants have a harder time reading how a videoconference interview went, applicants definitely feel they are better able monitor themselves, respond to questions, and know their interviewer(s). Of course, it’s also good to take into consider the impression a phone or videoconference interview may gives about your company, after all, not everyone is a videoconference fan.
Take Away Points:
- videoconference interviews can be used not only to screen applicants but to hire applicants
- applicants like being able to see and respond to interviewers although they have a harder time knowing if they did well on an interview
- technical problems will probably come up–how an organization handles technical problems rather than detract from the experience can reveal what a group is really like
- if you’re at home, remember to lock up your dog before going into the interview–oh, and don’t sneeze or make fast hand movements