In an earlier era, most candidate selection formats involved a two-to-three round interview process. During the first round, candidates with appealing resumes or strong referrals would be subjected to an initial screening, usually by phone. This screening stage has traditionally been pragmatic, direct and short, lasting about ten minutes and involving closed-ended questions like: “Your salary range falls below what we can offer. Are you flexible on this?” and “Your contact information says you live two states away…Will you be willing and able to move without assistance?” and “You seem overqualified for this role…are you willing to accept a downward or lateral move?”
Since screening interviews cover concrete basics rather than in-depth assessments of trustworthiness, cultural fit, and subtle aspects of personality and character, they’ve undergone a smooth transition from phone to online formats as more and more candidates gain access to webcams and video-chatting technology.
But until recently, the second and third rounds of the interview process have remained in the three dimensional world. Managers haven’t been able to gain a vital sense of connection through a screen, and most companies have stubbornly held onto the belief that there’s no substitution for a face-to-face meeting with a candidate, especially if this candidate will be trusted with high levels of responsibility.
Finally, long after initial video screenings have become commonplace, this attitude is starting to change. And the primary reason for the shift is simple: Money.
The Growing Popularity of Video Interviews
When it comes to cost, there’s no comparison. In-person interviews can take an enormous financial toll on both employers and employees, especially when they involve lost work days, airline travel, hotel fees, and the opportunity cost of pulling multiple managers away from their desks in order to meet with a candidate in another physical or geographical area.
According to the long-standing argument, these costs paid off by providing managers with volumes of meaningful information embedded in a candidate’s handshake, posture, and physical presentation. Subtle non-verbal cues were thought to be inaccessible through a screen. But growing volumes of HR research and hiring data undermine this assumption. As it happens, the rate of successful and unsuccessful hiring decisions remains largely the same regardless of the interview format.
55% of interview information is conveyed through a candidate’s face, 38% is conveyed through the voice, and 7% though a candidate’s words. But none of these three channels are measurably compromised by the introduction of the video screen. Body language cues are decoded the same way and success rates are nearly identical in both interview settings.
Hiring managers will be wise to keep this in mind while staffing positions in the future. For more information on this management trend—and others—contact the staffing experts at Accent Hiring Group.