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In this changing world, companies are using virtual interviews more than ever. Starting with the pandemic in 2020, the use of remote and virtual meeting places has skyrocketed, but also companies began to see the many benefits that come with this technology. Still, human resources teams wonder about the pros and cons of virtual interviews. After all, performing interviews in person has been a practice for many years, while the advantages of telephone interviews remain in question. In this article, we will explore phone interview pros and cons, concerns about using virtual interviews in lieu of in-person interviews, what kinds of issues may arise, and more.
To begin, these are some of the pros and cons of virtual interviews or phone interviews. Reasons to use phone interviews may outweigh reasons not to use them, but it’s important to understand and recognize all possible benefits as well as reasons to avoid before committing your company to going all-in on a new wave decision. In this article, we’ll explore both sides of the concern to help you understand what you need to look at when deciding for yourself and your company what your best practices are for virtual interviews.
The decision to use virtual interviewing goes far beyond mere convenience. In today's global job market, virtual interviews offer the flexibility to connect with talent regardless of geographical location, meaning you can feasibly hire someone now that may not have ever been in your candidate pool in years past. Additionally, phone interviews can serve as an initial, cost-effective screening tool, allowing hiring teams to gauge a candidate's communication skills, enthusiasm, and interest in the position even before committing to in-person meetings, the cost of flights and hotel stays, etc. In a digital age where remote work is increasingly prevalent, these interviews are a valuable opportunity to assess a candidate's ability to excel in a virtual environment. Overall, phone interviews are a versatile tool, enabling employers to make informed decisions about candidates’ skills, abilities, technology proficiency, and more before spending their recruitment budget, and ensuring a productive and efficient recruitment process.
Here are some general pros and cons of virtual interviewing in the hiring process:
Pros of Phone/Virtual Interviews:
1. Geographic Flexibility
2. Time and Cost Savings
4. Standardization and Consistency (Made possible by using interview intelligence programs like Pillar’s)
5. Safety and Health
6. Remote Work Assessment
7. Environmental Impact
Cons of Phone/Virtual Interviews:
1. Limited Non-Verbal Cues
2. Technical Issues
4. Limited Assessment
5. Interviewee Comfort
6. Security Concerns
7. Candidate Technology Access
8. Overdependence on Technology
In practice, the choice between phone/virtual and in-person interviews is up to the company doing the hiring and depends on the nature of the job, organizational preferences, and the specific requirements of the hiring process. Combining both approaches can help organizations reap the benefits while mitigating the drawbacks.
In the previous section, we listed out the advantages and disadvantages of virtual interviews, but here, we will break these down further in more detail. After all, there are many advantages of video interviews when compared with the tried-and-true method of using in-person or phone interviews and in 2020 when everything had to be done remotely, many companies became excited about the new possibilities. It’s important to remember that new isn’t always better and that there may be some negative aspects to using virtual technology that companies who are early adopters of the technology have observed and experienced. Here is a more detailed explanation of the pros and cons of virtual interviewing list from the section above:
Pros of Phone/Virtual Interviews:
1. Geographic Flexibility: Phone and virtual interviews allow for the assessment of candidates located in different regions or countries without the need for travel. This can also allow companies to hire people who reside outside the geographic area where the company’s headquarters are located, ensuring a wider and more populous candidate pool.
2. Time and Cost Savings: These interviews are cost-effective and save time for both candidates and employers, eliminating the need for travel expenses and reducing scheduling challenges, at least early in the recruitment process. Many teams choose to conduct a final in-person interview.
3. Efficiency: They serve as an initial screening tool to identify qualified candidates and narrow down the candidate pool quickly. Plus, the fact that hiring teams can all dial in to the call saves everyone on travel time, including both candidates and hiring teams.
4. Standardization: Virtual interviews provide consistency, as all candidates are asked the same set of questions, reducing interviewer bias. Standardization is also the result of using interview intelligence programs like Pillar’s.
5. Safety and Health: Virtual interviews have gained importance in times of health crises, ensuring the safety of both candidates and interviewers. During the pandemic, these became standard, but there are still many benefits now.
6. Remote Work Assessment: Virtual interviews provide insight into a candidate's ability to communicate effectively in a remote work setting as well as engage with technology in an efficient manner, both of which are increasingly relevant.
7. Environmental Impact: Reduced travel for interviews can contribute to a decrease in an organization's carbon footprint.
Cons of Phone/Virtual Interviews:
1. Limited Non-Verbal Cues: Virtual interviews may lack the non-verbal cues present in face-to-face interactions, making it harder to assess body language and interpersonal skills. We are all familiar with the struggle of interrupting people on Zoom!
2. Technical Issues: Technical glitches, such as poor internet connections or software problems, can disrupt the interview process and lead to a frustrating experience for both parties, and again, if inadvertently, leading to biased views of certain candidates.
3. Impersonal: Virtual interviews may feel less personal and lack the warmth of in-person interactions, potentially impacting the candidate experience.
4. Limited Assessment: Some job roles may require hands-on tasks or demonstrations that are difficult to assess in a virtual interview.
5. Interviewee Comfort: Candidates may feel less at ease in virtual interviews, impacting their ability to perform at their best. In the past, getting dressed up and heading to an office helped candidates get into the right mindset for the interview.
6. Security Concerns: Privacy and security issues, including data breaches or unauthorized recordings, can be a concern in virtual interviews.
7. Candidate Technology Access: Candidates may not have access to the necessary technology or a quiet, suitable space for a virtual interview, adding additional stress and struggle to their interview experience.
8. Overdependence on Technology: An organization's reliance on technology for interviews can be risky if systems fail or are compromised.
In the next section, we’ll discuss the opportunity for different virtual interview questions and answers that can arise with the use of remote interview technology.
In this article, we’ve discussed online interview pros and cons as well as the interview intelligence technology that can help companies conduct online interviews. Reasons to use virtual interviewing seem to outweigh reasons not to, especially as technology evolves to make virtual interviewing easier, more efficient, and more streamlined overall. As hiring teams work to create online interview descriptions as well as virtual interview questions and answers, they can be aware of some of the additional benefits of using a digital or interview intelligence platform for their hiring process. These benefits include customization and standardization of interview questions, opportunities for candidates to showcase their skills with working interviews, the possibility of more interviews at a lower cost since travel is not required, interviews which are more friendly to people with accessibility concerns, and more.
As companies adopt new technologies and new styles of interviewing, human resources and hiring teams are learning a lot about the different ways people engage with each other, now vs. in the past. Young people (Gen-Z)who are relatively new to the workforce, for example, have never known anything but the constant use of technology and remote communication, while often candidates who are Millennials or older have known a world before technology became the foundation of the workplace and are more adaptable to either style. Companies will likely make choices about what technology to use and how to use it based on the needs of their company, the demographic they most often interview, the kinds of jobs they are hiring for, the percentage of remote work their company utilizes, and more.
Has your company adopted virtual interview over in-person interviews since 2020 or do you use them with a hybrid approach, conducting early interviews virtually but still bringing candidates into the office for final interviews? Each team and company seems to have a different and unique approach to the emergence of this new technology, and different voices are all valid and helpful for other teams who are still doing their research and trying to decide the best and the right way to conduct their own recruitment. We’d love to hear more about your experiences in our comments section below!
Also, if you have not yet utilized interview intelligence software for your hiring process, we would be happy to offer you a free demo of Pillar’s interview intelligence software to try. Interview intelligence software gives you the opportunity to streamline and customize your interview processes so that all of your candidates are given equal and fair opportunities to showcase their talents. It can also help eliminate the dreaded interview bias. If you have tried interview intelligence software, we’d love to hear how it’s worked for you!