In a post-pandemic world, many Hiring Managers have decided to stick with virtual interviewing as their preferred format when recruiting for new roles.

In fact, 82% of Hiring Managers who participated in a global research study agreed that virtual recruitment is here to stay and will continue interviewing candidates by video.

But another recent study from the United States showed that candidates doing mock online job interviews were at a substantial disadvantage compared with those who attended in-person interviews.

Several barriers are created through a virtual setup, including technological disruptions and the lack of ability to build rapport quickly and easily. The study found factors like this can damage a jobseeker’s chances to perform at their best.

Here at QS Recruitment, we prioritise in-person interviews and believe it’s the most empathetic and fair way to assess candidates, and we know it’s the best way to get to know a potential future hire.

In this blog, we talk through the reasons why.

1. Promotes Engagement and Rapport

Think about the first thing that happens when you walk into a job interview –­ you shake your interviewer’s hand, right? This subtle non-verbal cue can speak volumes about a candidate’s confidence and instantly showcases their interpersonal skills.

While this might not be an essential part of the role they’re applying for, it is an initial insight into how they work with others and can help you figure out if they would be a good fit for your team.

Throughout any interview, it’s also important to look for other non-verbal cues such as eye contact and signs of active listening (e.g. nodding and smiling). While these can be seen in a virtual interview, it may take some practice to feel completely comfortable interviewing and spotting these cues in an online video setting.

In the abovementioned study, virtual participants were rated as less likeable, less hireable and as having less (that is, perceived influence over their own decision making) than the face-to-face participants. This might come down to the lack of ability to build rapport with the interviewer.

Part of the Hiring Manager or Recruiter’s role is to make the applicant feel as calm and comfortable as possible. But without a face-to-face interaction it might be more challenging for the candidate to relax and perform to their best ability during the interview.

2. Avoids Technology Issues

Many of the technology platforms currently being used for virtual interviews aren’t necessarily fit for purpose. Skype, Zoom and other tools were designed for virtual meetings rather than to support the nuances of job interviews.

For candidates, there could be a range of barriers including the need to download new apps and software to their computer systems. This could lead to additional stress and the risk of being late because of issues setting up their computers. And that’s not to mention the fact that virtual interviews require candidates to have strong Internet connectivity, bandwidth and a perfectly quiet background to host the interview.

Disruptions, delays and poor video or audio quality can be frustrating for a Recruiter or Hiring Manager, but it can have a real impact on a candidate’s concentration and ability to present themselves in the best possible way. If the interview starts with the candidate being stressed over a technological issue, it could be difficult for them to regain the composure needed to describe why they are the best fit for the role. A face-to-face interview takes away that stress, and we know firsthand that we’re able to put people at ease and get the best from them.

3. Removes Other Types of Bias

Virtual interviews can also present a number of other biases that aren’t necessarily front of mind. For example, low-income candidates might not have access to the hardware required or space in their homes to conduct the interview privately.

It’s important to remember that being tech-savvy isn’t necessarily important to the role the candidate is interviewing for, but connectivity issues may put them at an immediate disadvantage.

A new type of bias was born out of the pandemic, which has been labelled “background bias”. This is where a candidate is judged, consciously or sub-consciously, related to their virtual surroundings. In contrast, face-to-face interviews are held in a neutral environment, such as a conference room, which has no connection to the applicant and is the same for all candidates.

A Personalised Approach

Here at QS Recruitment, we pride ourselves on the fact that we conduct face-to-face interviews wherever possible.

From our experience, we’ve found it’s the best way to make the candidate feel welcome and to provide an honest and accurate assessment of their capabilities and skills.

It also means we have a pool of pre-vetted jobseekers on our books who we are ready to put through to client interview immediately. If you’re looking for temporary staff, we can have them starting work with you in a matter of days.

If you’d like to find out more about our unique, people-first approach to recruitment, please get in touch with our friendly team today.