How the Pandemic Forever Changed the Traditional Job Interview

November 17, 2021
Author: ThinkWhy Staff

As a recruiter, it’s impossible to miss the rapidly changing face of interviewing. Since the onset of the pandemic, many more employers have opted for video and other forms of non-contact interviewing. The stats are undeniable: before the pandemic, only 22% of employers conducted video interviews, versus January 2021, when 79% of recruiters now use them regularly.¹

In-person traditional job interviews face strong competition from online video interviews.

Free or low-cost videoconferencing tools such as Zoom — and the necessity to continue business during social distancing and quarantines — provided an opportunity to reimagine the hiring process.

For recruiters — many working remotely themselves at the time — video interviews provided several benefits over traditional face-to-face meetings, including reduced costs and increased candidate diversity.

Traditional In-Person Job Interview Challenges

It’s tough to adequately write your observations while actively engaging in the interview.² As the interviewer, you’re representing the face of your company and want to provide the most engaging and professional experience possible. Even great notes leave some details to memory, which is notoriously prone to error. This is especially true when interviewing many people for a job or role.

Time is another issue. For candidates who are still employed elsewhere, they must set aside a noticeable block of time for transit and change of wardrobe in addition to the length of the interview itself. From a recruitment perspective, juggling multiple people’s schedules to find time for panel interviews can be a problem.

Video Job Interviews: Solving Challenges

Video job interviewing is physically safe and convenient for candidates and interviewers, since online interviews can be attended from almost anywhere.

For recruiters, video offers session recording, which can be viewed later by interviewers who were unable to attend a panel-based interview. The recording function also solves the need to take lengthy notes, permitting the interviewer to give the candidate their undivided attention, making for a more pleasant and professional experience for all involved.

This relieves stress for the interviewer and candidate. Recruiters may want to see how candidates perform in high-pressure situations, but in-person interviews aren’t necessarily the best gauge of a candidate’s capabilities.

By removing the awkwardness and intimidation associated with in-person interviews, candidates are more likely to present their “natural” selves, giving you a better feel of the candidate’s interpersonal skills.

“Having virtually interviewed dozens of candidates in the past two months,” recruiter Christina Wells said, “I can consistently see that candidates are more confident and comfortable in their own workspace as opposed to ours.”²

By eradicating the need for travel, recruiters can markedly extend their reach — especially if the search is to fill a remote position. Gone are the days when companies were restricted to the local talent pool. Pre-recorded video clips of candidates answering interview questions can even provide recruiters with candidate insights when time zone issues prevent a live video interview.

Geographic reach also presents a meaningful opportunity to increase your company’s diversity. Research has shown that a more diverse workforce helps improve your enterprise’s productivity, creativity and profits.³ Also, candidates are increasingly making job choices based on the employer’s effort and commitment toward diversity.

Larger Impacts of Video Interviewing

Interviewing is just one part of the larger hiring process. However, its impact shouldn’t be underestimated. With so many companies hosting online interviews, it’s encouraged many HR departments to reconsider their organization’s entire recruitment strategy to digitize and streamline whenever possible.

Digitalization and automation, when configured well, enable recruiters to offer a better candidate experience across the board. For example, artificial intelligence (AI)-fueled tools can provide insights into compensation data, the talent market, salary benchmarking, etc. Candidate tracking systems can include automated interview scheduling and correspondence at each stage of the search process.

With data-driven information and a variety of these digital tools, organizations can more effectively differentiate themselves and recruit top talent.

Is The Traditional Job Interview Dead?

The pandemic forced sweeping changes to the interview process and opened the door to a new wave of technology that’s revolutionizing the recruitment sector. Now is the time to review your interviewing strategy and processes to determine the most effective mix of video, traditional and alternative formats. The best mix may vary by job type, geography and other factors — effectively ending the idea of the traditional job interview as a stand-alone solution.

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The Competitive Job Offer: How to Calculate a Market-Based Salary to Attract Top Talent