Virtual Interviews: Are they here to stay?

01 Sep 2020 by Chris Hunter, Co-Founder

One of the things I love most about the recruitment industry is the relationships and people-focus. I think it's how we do our job best, so I am going to be upfront and say that video interviewing isn’t my favourite piece of technology. But, as with all tech, there is a place and time for it. 

Virtual Interviews: Are they here to stay?

Of course, with the restrictions of COVID-19, video interviewing has played a necessary role in allowing recruiters to continue to place candidates and as an industry, we’ve learnt to use these tools more efficiently than ever before. As for whether they are here to stay, for me, the answer is yes, but in a limited capacity.

Recruiters need a toolkit of tech at their disposal, but the critical thing is how they use these tools to add value rather than replacing the human functions of our role. 

Use video interviewing wisely

We all know that a Zoom call or questions answered to a chatbot just isn't the same as sitting down face-to-face with a candidate. It doesn’t give the recruiter a great idea of the person's presentation style or body language, and for me, shouldn't be the only step you take to screen candidates before you put them in front of your client.

It doesn’t necessarily add up to a positive candidate experience either. Video calls can be much more awkward than face-to-face and involve a different etiquette and style of communication. Technical issues or a lack of comfort with the particular technology you are using can also come into play, adding additional pressure for the candidate. Many roles won't require candidates to have video presentations skills, so using it to judge their suitability for the role might lead to overlooking the right candidate. 

But video interviews can add value for the recruiter and the client in some circumstances. The key is to make sure they are the right tool for each role and situation, and not use them as a blanket solution.

For me, there are three situations in which they can play a positive role in the process.

Screening a large pool of candidates

In the current job market, recruiters are likely to see higher volumes of candidates, and in many cases, it simply won't be possible to meet everyone on your longlist. Video interviewing can be a cost-effective and time saving tool to whittle down to a shortlist of candidates, which you can then go on to meet before deciding who to put in front of the client.

Breaking down geographical barriers

Sometimes, it's simply not possible to meet all of your shortlisted candidates because of location.  It can be a great way to include interstate candidates or even just those who live a good distance from your office. Video interviews can give you a much better sense of the candidate than a phone call, which can help you make a more informed decision on whether to progress them.

Preparing for a client video interview

In some cases, whether due to social distancing, geographical barriers or preference, you may have a client who wants to do video interviews. In this case, meeting the candidate via video interview is a necessary part of the preparation process, because how someone presents on video versus face-to-face can be very different.
Interviews, like all parts of the recruitment process, will evolve and become more technology-focused, but it's important to make sure you are using a particular tool because it is the right one to get the best outcome for your client, not just because it is available to you.

At the end of the day, it's important that you have an array of tech at your disposal so that you can tailor the experience to the client, the role and the candidate, and video interviewing can be one of these.

There are many places in the recruitment process that tech can add value, reducing the recruiter's workload without impacting the candidate or client experience, however, in my mind, completely replacing the face-to-face interview isn’t top of the list just yet.