For as long as the world of work has existed, face-to-face interviews have always been the most crucial component of the recruitment process. In-person interviews allow for employers to effectively screen applicants while also getting a real sense of their attitude, character, and enthusiasm for the job role. However, at the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, and the continued effects of which, company’s who are still able to hire new recruits have forgone the in-person meeting entirely and have opted exclusively for the conducting of virtual interviews.
By James McKean
What are the Advantages of Firms Using Online Recruitment?
Luckily, there are a vast number of online platforms that are well equipped to necessitate the need for online interviews to take place. However, for all the benefits that websites such as Zoom and HireVue present to company’s currently looking to recruit, there are, of course, many downsides too.
-First and foremost, virtual recruitment is cost effective – which is a massive plus point during this time of coronavirus-induced financial strife. In-person recruitment can cost company’s massively when considering all the necessities required; the likes of travel expenses alone could lead to a company spending massively on an applicant – one that they may not even hire in the end! Online interviews obviously cut travel costs, and generally provide a free solution to screening a person -albeit, not ‘in-person’, but close enough!
-Secondly, online recruitment can also prove to be time effective. Traditional face-to-face interviewing can take a massive chunk – on average, about months – out of a company’s time. When considering travel time, the manual workload involved in screening CVs, and preliminary phone interviews – traditional interviews can waste a lot of time and money. This whole process can be condensed into a brief online interview, which allows the employer to assess the candidate effectively. The preliminary phone call interview can be replaced by a basic pre-recorded virtual interview conducted by the candidate, which can result in greater flexibility on the recruiter’s behalf.
-Online interviews also allow for scheduling flexibility. Face-to-face interviewing can be difficult to organise for both the recruiter and the candidates, especially if the latter has another job at the time. Firstly, online interviews are beneficial in this sense because a candidate can conduct their interview either while on a break or after work – without having to travel to where the company is based. Secondly, it is far easier for the recruiter to slot in several virtual interviews throughout the day than it is to organise blocks of in-person interviews. Thirdly, with in-person interviews, it may take weeks before a candidate is available to conduct an interview; whereas, with online interviews, they can potentially be completed as quickly as the same day that the candidate applied for the job.
-Online interviews can also widen the candidate pool, especially if the company doesn’t include travel expenses for in-person interviews. Potential candidates may be put off applying for a job by the distance they would have to pay for the travel, just to be interviewed. Online interviews cut this problem out, as interviewees can be interviewed anywhere.
-Online interviews are an easy way to assess the technical expertise of a candidate, judging on their ability to use the interview program alone.
-Some online interview programmes can even do the hiring job for you. Applications such as HireVue have become increasingly popular, which uses AI technology to determine candidate’s ‘employability score’ by assessing facial features, voice nuances, and answers to specific questions. Although expensive, this software can eliminate the hassle of the job-filling process almost entirely.
-Finally, online interviews, at the consent of the candidate, can be easily recorded, and re-watched later by the interviewer. This could be highly beneficial if the interviewer, for example, forgot how the candidate responded to a certain question, or didn’t fully grasp their demeaner the first time around. This allows for more truthful decision making to be carried out during the employment process.
What are the Disadvantages of Firms Using Online Recruitment?
-Like all other internet-based tasks, good internet connection – at both ends – is essential for an online interview to be conducted successfully. If the video or audio disconnects even once, it can severely disrupt the flow and pace of the interview, distract both the candidate and the interviewer, and lead to an incomplete interview.
-Although online interviews tend to be cost effective, keeping up to date with the latest software, such as HireVue, can prove to be pricey.
-Although technical expertise is preferable – and sometimes necessary – in many occupations today, there are still some jobs that do not require more than the basics. Online interviews could throw a candidate off if they have not had any prior experience with the interview programme, and lead to an unsuccessful interview.
-Certain candidates can find online interviews far more intimidating that in-person interviews, for example, those with speech impediments may find talking online and projecting their voice into a microphone far more difficult.
As an increasing number of major companies switch their recruitment process from in-person to online, interview soft wear is sure to improve in the coming years, and many of the major pitfalls listed above will surely be addressed and rectified. But for the time being, online interviewing is certainly beneficial as it is cost-effective, time-effective, flexible, and inclusive; however, there are still a number of pitfalls that need to be looked out for, such as bad internet connection, the potential costs of updating software, an applicant’s lack of tech savviness, and anxieties that may affect a candidates ability to interview over webcam.