Recruitment methods have undergone a sea change in recent years. Even though online video interviews have been around for a while now and are easier to conduct, face to face interviews are still preferred in some places. Why?
It is unanimously agreed that online recruitment is the preferred way for the new generation and is easier on the recruiters as well. People no longer want to travel for interviews. With current technology, interviews hardly take any time or effort. Either party can sit comfortably in their respective locations and engage in a conversation. Costs are minimal and a lot of time and energy can be saved. It also takes care of bias and presents an objective viewpoint to the assessor.
Giving the employer a wider field of talent to choose from, online recruitment can literally circle the globe. Nowadays, software has evolved as well. Hiring applications include various assessments, such as psychometric, aptitude and personality tests among others. All of these methods act as filters striving to give the employer a holistic measure of the candidate.
“Online interviews can also be accurate, but for senior and niche positions, hiring managers prefer face to face interviews as the risks involved are high and so are the stakes for the company”
Nisha Verma, CHCO, Apparel Group, agrees, “I prefer the online interviews any day. They are faster, time saving and preferred by my target population. These days, even senior leaders are tech savvy so if I can use online methods why not?”
Not everybody is convinced, though.
Face to face interaction is still valued by a lot of organisations. No matter how widespread online recruitment claims to be, many companies still have on-site and walk-in interviews. Clearly, hiring managers place value on personal interaction and evaluation. It is far reassuring to understand and judge candidates in person rather than on a screen. While many have no qualms using online methods, they would still prefer to conduct the final assessment face to face.
For junior or repetitive job roles the use of online assessment is agreed upon. However, leaders have their doubts when it comes to the senior positions. Ramesh Shankar, executive VP and HR head, South Asia cluster, Siemens, argues, “Online interviews can also be accurate, but for senior and niche positions, hiring managers prefer face to face interviews as the risks involved are high and so are the stakes for the company.”
“I prefer the online interviews any day. They are faster, time saving and preferred by my target population. These days, even senior leaders are tech savvy so if I can use online methods why not?”
Others have a mixed position, claiming both online and offline methods should be used together for a better outcome. Kinjal Choudhary, senior VP and group CHRO, Eicher Trucks and Buses, claims, “The answer is a mix. Online provides many benefits and so do face to face video interviews. However, face to face dialogues provide other benefits. For certain positions, body language, the tone of voice and communication skills are important. A face to face interaction can provide an accurate analysis of the person, far better than online methods can. Both should be used in tandem. It should be understood that online is a complement to offline and not a substitute. Their usage differs from role to role and not function to function.”
So there we have it. Online interviews are faster, objective, time and energy efficient, can reach out to a wider pool of talent and can provide various methods of assessment for the judgement of the recruiter.
“A face to face interaction can provide an accurate analysis of the person, far better than online methods can”
On the other hand, face to face interviews help gather better judgement and more accurate information for the hiring managers. They are preferred when the vacancy is for a senior position or a niche role. When the job role is complex and requires finer decision making skills, then a face to face interaction is ideal.
But the answer may not be as simple and clear as that. Online interview methods have their own problems and face to face interviews cannot always guarantee unbiased hiring. Technology is still evolving and many designs have yet to be perfected. Online interviews can present their own biases.
“Today, the online methods are not evolved enough to be unbiased. Online and offline are not black and white. Online may be preferred because the errors are known beforehand”
For instance, if there is a problem with the audio during an interview, the employer’s bias may creep in while evaluating the candidate. Again, the questions that are posed by the recruiter or the way the assessments are designed can be biased as well. It cannot be guaranteed that the choice of a psychometric assessment will correctly evaluate the candidate and will be totally unbiased.
As Dr Sunil Singh, CHRO, Cadila Pharmaceuticals, concludes, “In the future, online may replace offline but we are not there yet. Today, the online methods are not evolved enough to be unbiased. Online and offline are not black and white. Online may be preferred because the errors are known beforehand. As technology evolves, the preferences may change.”