These days, more and more companies are conducting virtual interviews – mainly via phone or Skype – with potential employees. Of course, modern technology has provided so many tools that make communication easier, especially when it comes to the job interview process.
Like myself, a few of my friends from college fell into the recruiting field at different firms. They are often surprised to hear that AP Professionals conducts face-to-face interviews with every candidate we work with as opposed to going the virtual route by Skype or phone. They have asked me how I have the time to meet with that many people in a week. Or, how I get people to come in and take the time to meet with me, especially those currently employed.
The virtual approach certainly has its advantages. To name a few: lower costs, time savings, and the ability to interview remote candidates. However, it does have its drawbacks when compared to interviewing applicants in person.
I am here to discuss why the best recruiting is done face-to-face, and why I believe it to still be the most beneficial approach for both parties involved.
Benefits for the Recruiter
The “presence” of a person is extremely important to me as a recruiter. It is really the first, full impression. Strong first impressions are crucial, especially in interviews. When I meet someone in person for the first time, I get the whole picture from head to toe. Anything from the handshake style to the way they dress and present themselves to the cologne they are wearing. These are not things we would be able to depict over the phone or computer. At the end of the day, these things do make a difference in placing them appropriately.
Face-to-face interactions allow me to read candidate’s non-verbal signals, which helps with rapport and connection. Also, this allows me to gather more information in a shorter period of time. It is easier for me to probe for information or further explanation to a candidate’s response, which makes the conversation seem more natural. Additionally, I have found that a face can say it all. Body language helps me gauge how the candidate is receiving what I am saying. If I tell them about a new job opportunity, or ask them about prior work history, I can usually pick-up facial cues that shows how they feel about the topic being discussed.
Putting a face with a name has always been important to me, even more so when I started recruiting. Physically meeting a candidate helps me remember little details about them that I may not otherwise have through a virtual interview. Although you can still see the candidate in real time over Skype, the lack of straight contact can cause difficulties for both the candidate and the interviewer. That physical presence gives me a chance to understand their character and helps us warm-up to each other.
Benefits for the Job Seeker
An in-person meeting with a recruiter confirms that they work for a legitimate and respectable company. It is much harder to put your trust in someone you have never met before, especially if they are the one guiding your career search! Unfortunately, these days it is becoming easier to be scammed by career websites.
Survey the Environment
Another advantage of a physical interview is that you can learn a good amount about a company just by walking into their office. This will provide you with information about the firm’s vibe, culture, and in some cases, their success. When you go to an office for an interview, take it all in. Look around the office. Is it messy? Dim? Or is it bright, welcoming and tidy? Do the employees seem happy to be there, or does it seem like a serious atmosphere where they keep to themselves. These are all things to take into consideration when searching for the right fit. In a virtual interview this evaluation cannot exist – you may not get a full depiction of what you are getting yourself into.
The Chance to Promote Yourself
A virtual interview will allow you to speak to your skills, but your personality, disposition, gestures, and unique characteristics will determine if you are truly the right fit for the job. All of this can work in your favor. In some cases, recruiters are looking for an attitude, not necessarily a qualification. An in-person interview also gives you more clues as to how the interview is going. Over the phone, you can speak to your strengths and hope the interviewer understands your message. In person, you can read body language to determine how your answers sit with the recruiter. Building a relationship could make you feel more comfortable following-up with the recruiter after the interview. In return, this could give you an advantage over other candidates.
So much of our daily communication is electronic. Human interaction when discussing something as serious as your next career move is important and can provide tremendous value. Both interviewees and recruiters should be eager to meet face-to-face if they have the opportunity. By meeting in-person, you are both able to form a foundation of trust and a long-lasting business relationship. I believe without question that this recruiting method has brought AP Professionals continued success over many years.
By: Emmalyn Eruysal, Administrative Placement Director