Video Interviews vs In-person interviews: the Pros and Cons
As tech becomes more and more enmeshed with our hiring processes, the debate between video or in-person interviews grows evermore. While many are advocates for in-person, we see video interviews as the real winner, not just because of their list of pros, but also because more solutions are available for their downfalls, such as using interview scheduling software to allow even the most last minute rearrangements to be done with ease.
Ultimately however, what is likely to matter most is the candidate experience of the people going through your job interviews. No matter what talent you initially attract, you will struggle to recruit them in the final stages if they have a difficult or uncomfortable experience with your process, regardless of if it’s a video or in-person interview. So, while you’re debating over video interviews or face-to-face, we’ll also discuss how to ensure you’re able to keep in close contact with your candidates and that your interview scheduling is efficient and flexible.
If you’re a recruiter struggling to decide which would work best for you, read though our list below of the pros and cons of both in-person and video interviews below.
The interviewer can read the candidate’s body language
In in-person interviews there is a level of human connection which can not come through to the same degree during virtual interviews. This is because the interviewer is able to see the entire person’s body and more of their body language, while on video you can only see the person’s facial expression and no further down than their hands.
Having a chance for your recruiter to see the entire applicant may be particularly important if the candidate is interviewing for a client facing or senior role where they will have to be personable and have strong social skills. It might also be more convenient if the candidate will need to demonstrate any relevant skills during the interview process.
The employer can see how they mesh with office culture
At in-person interviews, the office setting is a benefit as it will provide the candidate the opportunity to visit the offices they could be working in, as well as meeting potential new colleagues. This can be the perfect moment for the employer to assess if they would work well as an employee at the company, and if they would be the right fit for your culture and office environment.
If the candidate you do feel is a perfect fit ends up having a counter offer, learn what to do here.
Costly for finances and time
Face to face interviews can be much more costly when it comes to travel, as well as risky! Even if the job applicant is careful to plan their journey so they are able to arrive at the face-to-face interviews nice and early there could still be issues with traffic, closed roads, or public transport delays which are out of their control.
Narrows your talent pool
After the great resignation many companies are expanding their pool of candidates. One of the ways they are doing this is being open to recruit candidates who live further away from their offices, but by having an in-person interview the chances are you’ll make it difficult for some applicants to be present, and disqualify some high quality talent from interviewing entirely.
It should be noted however that there may be instances where the person you’re considering hiring doesn’t have easy access to a device or may not feel comfortable using one. Some people are not tech-savvy but can still bring a lot to the table for a job, especially if it’s not one where they are required to use technology much. Therefore in these instances it is probably best to steer away from video interviews and instead schedule face-to-face interviews between these candidates and your hiring managers.
More convenient for everyone
Virtual interviews will be infinitely more convenient for both the employer and applicant when it comes to scheduling interviews as well as fitting them into your day. Not only does it take the difficulties of travel out of the equation, but it also allows more time in general for parties on both ends to prepare. We all want to perform our best in an interview, and giving your candidate the chance for another review of their notes will be greatly appreciated, and likely result in a more positive interview experience for everyone. It also gives your hiring manager more time to interview more candidates in a day, as its easier to jumper from one interview to another when they are virtual.
Virtual interviews are more inclusive
Virtual interviews can also allow your hiring process to be more inclusive, as it allows people from a wider variety of areas to apply and interview for the role. Chances are if you advertised the job online then the candidate should have access to a device which will allow them to join a virtual interview, while it’s less likely that every long distance candidate will have the spare cash for the journey to your office, especially if it’s an interview for an internship, entry level or very junior role.
Virtual = higher candidate comfort level
Candidate experience throughout the entire hiring process should be at the top of your recruitment team’s checklist. While everyone is different, many people would arguably be more comfortable interviewing virtually from their home, as the familiar environment can help soothe any nervousness. Everyone deserves the chance to have access to an environment and any other things – whether it be a stress ball or a homemade cup of tea – while they interview.
Background bias may influence your hiring
One thing you should be aware of when hiring through video interviews is ‘background bias’. Background bias is the idea that recruiters will make prejudiced judgements about an applicant based on the background shown in their video.
While some of this may be subconscious, and in some cases may feel like you’re judgment in justified (for example you may view a messy room in the background as a reflection of someone who is not organised) it’s still a behaviour which should be avoided, as you never know what kind of talent you are discounting with it, and you may not know the details of someone’s circumstances which effect why their background looks the way it does.
You can avoid this being an issue by offering training to your recruitment team and every hiring manager on prejudice and inclusivity in recruitment and you might conider introducing blind recruitment into your hiring strategies. You may also want to ask any candidates you invite to a video interview to either use a background filter which is available on most popular video call platforms, or to interview with a plain and neutral background – such as a wall.
Last minute cancellations
Another con of virtual interviews is last minute cancellations or no-shows. This can be frustrating for your recruitment time and waste the time of your interviewer when you put so much time into organising your schedule around these job interviews.
To prevent this you can use an interview scheduling software such as Hireserve applicant tracking system to enable your candidates to select the interview time which works best for them after your interviewers have uploaded their availability. Candidates are also then able to change the date or time of their interview if they can no longer make the one they previously booked, with minimal interference or admin for the interviewer or recruitment team. Learn more about this feature here.
You can make sure to stay in consistent contact with your candidate. You can do this by sending consistent email reminders of the time and date of their interview, which can be made easy with Hireserve ATS, which allows you to automate your emails to interview candidates. Learn more about how to prevent interview no shows here.