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Are in-person interviews better than video interviews, or is it the other way around?

Regardless of the many advantages that they offer, face-to-face interviews are becoming more and more outdated, as video conferencing seems to be the new norm in human resources. Each of these types of interviews (in-person and video) comes with advantages and disadvantages, and it would be unfair to think that one is better than the other. Still, there are differences worthy of being mentioned and taken into account when designing a successful interview process.

Why do recruiters still choose in-person interviews?

A study performed by the Degroote School of Business at McMaster University in Ontario suggests that applicants who were interviewed using video conferencing were less likely to get the job compared to the ones who underwent in-person interviews.

On the other hand, the same research points out that interviewers who use video conferencing may be regarded as less trustworthy and personable by the candidates, which means that the latter might feel tempted to refuse a job offer. Apparently, meeting a candidate face to face is beneficial both on the part of the recruiter and on the part of the job applicant. As organizations compete for talent, personal evaluations may convince a candidate to accept an offer.

The analysis was performed in 2013, when just 50% to 65% of employers had reported having used video interviews in their recruiting process. PGI assessed that in 2014, over 65% of candidates preferred using video during the interview process.

Nevertheless, personal interviews are still a good way of gathering information, as the interviewer has the chance to watch the nonverbal behavior of the interviewee. Questions can be repeated, and recruiters have more flexibility when it comes to connecting the dots. Spontaneous answers sometimes fail to show up from a candidate when they know they might be recorded.

Although the advantages of this method, including direct eye-to-eye contact, cannot be denied, meeting a candidate in person comes at several costs.


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The disadvantages of in-person interviews

One of the core downfalls of an in-person interview is that it is both time and cost-consuming. Meeting an applicant is a process that can occur after many appointments have been made and canceled. Therefore, it’s less advantageous for the recruiter.

Furthermore, it might prove to be a too expensive method for the applicant, particularly if they’re applying for a job in a different state or a different country. Traveling from one location to the other depends on availability and personal finances.

Why video interviews are on the rise

Video conferencing can speed up the entire interview process. This approach is considerably less expensive compared to in-person interviews, and it allows better and easier scheduling on both parts.

Additionally, the arrangement can occur in the form of a pre-recorded interview, which can help the individual relax as they are not answering someone’s questions on the spot. During large recruiting campaigns, this technique eliminates interview scheduling on the part of the recruiter, as they can assess the candidate’s abilities in their own good time.

According to an article published by HR Magazine, video conferencing can make the difference when it comes to selecting from thousands of applicants. The HR Magazine feature mentions the success story of Post Office UK, which organized a staff recruitment drive on Christmas 2014.

Brett Davies, the resourcing manager at the Post Office, claims that there were approximately 20,000 applications received throughout the campaign. In the course of two weeks, 1,400 applicants were invited for a video interview, and 550 of them were both interviewed and reviewed. The approach proved the clear value of video conferencing for high-volume recruiting campaigns. According to Davies, video interviewing led to lowering up to 80% of travel and venue costs, which would otherwise had been allocated to assessing the candidates in person.


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Are there any drawbacks to video interviews?

Some candidates and recruiters might still prefer in-person interviews over video conferencing. Job applicants might be unable to acquit themselves well on video, even though they were brought up on technology. This method may place a technological barrier between the interviewer and the candidate, as a possible lack of eye contact may occur.

Also, a technological disadvantage could arise as not all applicants are technology-savvy or own modern laptops featuring reliable webcams. Nonetheless, the average consumer nowadays is proficient in terms of using new software.

Adjusting to the requirements of video software is a concern for the candidate, as they may think of the experience as being an uncomfortable and unnecessary effort. By the same token, the conversation can suffer from poor audio or video quality and thus become time-consuming for the recruiter and for the interviewee. Web conferencing can eliminate this inconvenience altogether. It does not require the applicant to install new software on their personal computer, and the connection is performed both safely and efficiently.

Hiring a candidate takes time and effort and is quite a challenging experience. On average, it takes approximately 45 days to hire a new employee, which is why video collaboration tools can lend a helping hand to an HR manager in need.