Is the Death of the In-Person Interview Imminent?

Whenever talent acquisition professionals get together to talk shop, I find it’s always an excellent opportunity to listen and learn. The two exploratory discussions recently hosted by the organisers of the Australasian Talent Conference (ATC) were no different, as TA professionals from Australia’s leading companies gathered to share their experiences with an emerging best practice: Video interviewing.  Under lively debate was the (potential) death of the in-person interview – will virtual interviews soon replace all other hiring interactions? Some of the key takeaways from the discussion are revealing:

Key Learning #1: Video interviewing will soon be mainstream.

Out of the 12 enterprise organisations represented in our discussion, five currently use a purpose-built video interviewing solution, four use a consumer chat tool for interviews and three don’t use video at all. This split is fairly typical of the adoption curve for new technologies in business. The early adopters have already started using a more sophisticated version of the technology, while some companies have yet to give it a test.  As the middle tier transitions to video interviewing 2.0, the pressure will build for the “laggards.” This group risks being at a competitive disadvantage without it. In real terms, they’ll be less able to attract and hire the candidates they need.

Key Learning #2: The largest barrier to video interviewing adoption is change.

As the resourcing manager for a leading telecommunications organisation said, “We have had to change the mindset of the recruiter and hiring manager, not the candidate.”  Others described similar situations, citing their hesitation about recruiters’ reaction to the change and their ability to use the technology.  In my experience, though apprehension about change is fairly common, once TA team members try video interviewing and see it is simple to use, they laugh at their own reluctance. The telecommunications firm’s manager had an interesting solution, “We made the recruiters and hiring managers hear the candidate feedback, and this helped get their buy-in.”

Key Learning #3: The in-person interview isn’t at risk.

At this point in time, the in-person interview has nothing to fear. The top TA leaders in Australia see video interviews as a valuable complement to the entire hiring process, which still finishes with an on site interview. For the national recruitment services manager at a financial services company,

“It’s not about replacing the face-to-face interview. That the screen allows you to say, ‘I’m keen to meet these people.’”

We’ve heard the same sentiment expressed by our clients. They often point out that the in-person interview becomes much more efficient and effective when they’ve already established a relationship with the candidate in a virtual interview.  That initial awkwardness of a first meeting is eliminated, and they can get down to a deeper discussion right away.

Path to the Future

Whether companies use video interviewing on a limited basis or it is integral to their hiring process, its value will continue to rise. We live in a world that’s continually speeding up. Just think about overnight shipping, immediate downloads, and nearly-instant mortgage loans! Is it realistic to expect candidates to accept a slow hiring experience when the process could be streamlined –and enhanced – by technology?

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