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January 27, 2014

Job Interviews via Video Conference, its Trends and Shortcomings


By Daniel Brecht
Contributing Writer

These days, more companies than ever are leveraging video conferencing. Not only are they using it to engage in live two-way video and audio transmissions in near-real time for communications and collaboration, but they are also using it as a means to carry out remote video-based job interviews.


Businesses of all sizes and across various industries have reported using video conferencing in the workplace to screen job candidates, as per a recent CNBC post on its website; the article explained that the reason for using such technology in employment interviewing is that it offers a “faster, cheaper and more convenient [experience] than a face-to-face interview.” These, of course, are sure advantages of video conferencing in recruitment; yet, there are employers that debate about the effectiveness of this approach. They believe, in fact, the recruitment process is best done in person—when both the interviewer and interviewee are together in one location—and the use of videoconferencing technology is not a valid alternative.

Researchers like Greg Sears, a business professor at Carleton University, even suggest the approach to be disadvantageous; remote interviews are less personable and effective than those done in-person, and this can “adversely affect both applicant reactions and interviewer judgments.” Nonetheless, video conferencing “has gone up from 50 percent to 65 percent in recent times” in companies use for job interviews: in both pre- and post-screening of applicants.  This surge in video communication within businesses will be a hot topic during the “Enterprise Video- The Future is Now (but Skype (News - Alert) is Free)” conference during the ITEXPO in Miami, Florida this week.

The practice of using teleconferencing has become widespread in companies conducting multiple rounds of digital interviews, said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam, a global staffing company that has “found that 63 percent said their company often uses videoconferencing for job interviews.” He explains that normally it takes more than a week to get everyone together in a room and meet a job candidate; the ability to use Skype or other video technology, instead, offers the flexibility to meet hiring prospects and get to know them without too much hassle and without the job candidates needing to travel to the human resources (HR) office.

According to Hosking, not every job applicant, however, is comfortable in using such technology for interviews; some might not perform at their best as many factors can be disruptive: lack of good-quality camera and microphone, for example. Many would prefer to conduct a question and answer session in a face-to-face environment, with no barrier and without any chances of having to deal with video conference system difficulties.

It is uncertain if videoconferencing will be a future trend; for the time being, it is a common practice used by many business owners to visually interview potential job candidates online before going to the expense of setting up an in-person meeting, said Frank Risalvato, founder of the recruiting firm IRES Inc.




Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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