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The Future of Interviews, Virtual vs Face to Face

Posted on 26 May, 2021

With the ongoing pandemic, many employees are still working remotely to practice self-isolation and reduce the spread of the coronavirus in general. As most companies and different work sectors move forward with this new norm are virtual interactions gradually replacing the necessities of in-person job interviews?

Global giant companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft have told their employees to work from home ever since March 2020. Amazon cancelled the majority of in-person interviews and replaced them with virtual interview portals. This system allows candidates to connect with recruiters, complete documents, and participate in interviews through Amazon's video conferencing software.

Google conducted most of their interviews via Google Hangouts or other virtual-meet apps like Zoom, Skype or BlueJeans. On the other hand, LinkedIn informed job seekers that they have the option to have their interviews virtually or have them postponed and rescheduled until meeting in person is possible.

In professions and work positions where remote working is doable, job seekers should be prepared to be interviewed virtually instead of in person and should also expect delays in interview scheduling if they opt for the latter option. Believe it or not, Skype interviews and Zoom conferences aren't new practices. Many companies prefer it when interviewing candidates located further away or in different countries. It is a necessity for international business collaborations and partnerships too. 

However, while some people prefer to have their interviews conducted via Zoom, others value face-to-face interaction particularly within the design community. So, who is right, and which kind of interview will land you a job faster? Here are the Pros and Cons to guide you.

Pros of Virtual interviews:

  • Far more effective than phone screening: Video calls allow you to use body language and gestures for clearer communication with the interviewer rather than relying on the timbre of your voice and responses.
  • Saves time and money for both parties: It is not always common for companies to pay for travel expenses, but one of the parties would have to so a saving is made here, along with a new outfit. Hiring managers can schedule a time at any place that's convenient for you and them.
  • Interviews can be recorded and re-evaluated: This feature will allow other team members and department heads to evaluate you without doing several rounds of interviews.

Cons of Virtual interviews:

  • Slow connection and lagging issues: During a video call, connection problems may arise out of nowhere, which can hinder your chances. The interviewer can mishear you and further cause misinterpretation of questions and answers.
  • It takes practice to feel comfortable speaking on camera: Speaking in front of a camera takes much practice before you can do it comfortably. You may come across as a closed person without experience and won't perform at your best as you would during a face-to-face interview.
  • Video interviews may undervalue your work and personal qualities: Body language, charismatic energy, and practical skills are critical for top management positions. Even with a video, it's impossible to fully access these qualities from a distance, which is why managerial positions are mostly interviewed in person.

Pros of face to face interviews:

  • You get to visit the workplace and get a feel of the environment: You get the opportunity to interact with other representatives of the company and gain valuable insight into the corporate culture (style of dress code and satisfaction levels of employees for instance).
  • You can gauge how well the interview is going: Face to face interactions allows you to follow the interviewer's reaction and comprehend whether they are interested. Social cues and gestures give you more opportunities to correct your response.
  • It's the best way to make a great first impression: In-person conversations encourage spontaneous and creative interactions with the interviewer. Phone and Skype calls don't give much opportunity to impress the interviewer compared to a traditional interview.

Cons of face to face interviews: 

  • Requires much more preparation: You'll inevitably spend more time preparing for the meeting than on the interview itself. This includes learning about the dress code, company information etc.
  • It's much more stressful: The necessity to be on time at a place you've never been to before can make the process far more stressful than a video call where you're at the comfort of your own home. 
  • Time-consuming and costly: If the interview is located in a different area, you may have to spend hours travelling. On the company side, they may need to pay for your travel and accommodation fees. They also need to put more time aside for the interview particularly if the candidate has had to travel. 

So, which type of interview is better for you?

In conclusion, this depends on the job location, position and personal circumstances. If you are genuinely interested in a job opening, always go for an in-person interview. You'll have a better opportunity to pitch your qualities and evaluate the company first hand. 

Virtual interviews and phone calls work better during the preliminary stage, right before the real thing. Keep in mind that any interview will require a lot of preparation, so you should practice interview questions and answers in both options when you can. Without a doubt, it will help you excel in the interview and land you the job you've always wanted.

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