Is This The End of the In-Person Interview?

During this pandemic shutdown, we’ve seen the rise of virtual services. Companies that never thought they’d be able to manage a remote workforce suddenly found a way. Restaurants and retailers who weren’t set up for online orders and delivery made the transition within days. Doctors embraced telemedicine overnight. Good. Now it’s time to overhaul the way we hire talent, starting with the in-person interview. 

The Pros of Going Virtual

There are plenty of good reasons to move interviews online. Right now, it’s about keeping both parties safe and distant until we get back to business as usual. Remote interviews are virtually cost-free for the company, thanks to apps like Zoom.  Applicants will be happy to avoid the time it takes to drive and the stress of finding parking before an important meeting. 

And since remote work and service delivery may make up such an important part of the way we do business from now on, it’s more and more important to see if candidates can connect virtually.  Do they project warmth and interest? Can they be clearly understood? Did they take time to select a good background, flattering lighting, and a camera angle that works? Did their technology work correctly? If the answer is yes, you can assume they took the time to check and test before the meeting started.

The Cons of Going Virtual

Video interviews are a bit trickier than the in-person version. A skilled candidate will know to let you complete your question and pause before replying to account for transmission delays.  These on-camera skills may become the deciding factor between two candidates with similar skills and experience.  

But even a high-tech interview may not be the right way – or even a good way  – to find the right fit.  More than 60 percent of hiring managers admit to making bad hires, even after multiple interviews.  And 25 percent of bad hires cost the company immeasurable new business opportunities or revenue. Online platforms like Snagajob are beginning to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to find candidate matches. Writing for Fast Company, Snagajob CEO MathieuStevensonsays his company has designed systems to “recognize, analyze, and classify worker and employer data, which is then fed into algorithms to match the right person with the right job.” 

Automating Virtual Interviews

Experts say that most hiring managers don’t have training in how to conduct interviews, so their decisions can be influenced by personal biases and candidates who are more extroverted or articulate. AI may be more accurate at finding matches more quickly and won’t be subject to personal biases, but Snagajob is testing its judgment against human choices just to be sure.  Stevenson says, “It’s early days, but the results indicate that 95 percent of our algorithm selections match those of professional recruiters.” 

Once candidates are selected and given a probable match score, it makes sense for companies to consider automated platforms to schedule interviews and allow candidates to record answers to a set of standard questions. Recruiters can view these screening interviews before deciding which candidates they’d like to get to know better.  

Whether you use technology to enhance your recruiting process, or use technology to replace your recruiting process, the new normal means you might not see the person you hired in person for a while. 


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