A Publication of WTVP

Is the traditional interview, where an employer sits down with and interviews a candidate, about to change? Signs indicate it might. With the advent of technology, the “interview” may be changing into the “virtual interview.” 

The virtual interview has various forms, but the two most common methods include the recording of an interviewer’s responses to a standard set of questions and distributing the interview via the Internet or by videotape and two-way real-time video interviewing on desktop computers and dedicated terminals, much like videoconferencing. Though these practices are just now coming into their own, in actuality, a handful of firms have been using video interviews for more than a decade and Web cams for a little less than that.

These practices are becoming prominent on university campuses. Students often arrive for a scheduled interview at the school’s career development office facing a camera, not another human being. For the students, the recorded version has its advantages: they can practice the interviews to get their presentation right, they can showcase only their best performances, they only have to go through the interview process once, and the likelihood of matching their attributes to a prospective employer is improved as they can distribute the interview to a much wider audience. 

While the technology offers benefits to both job candidates and companies alike, it remains unclear how widespread the virtual interview is likely to become. Many human resource directors express no interest in conducting interviews via the Web. For now, most firms still favor the traditional way of screening. 

They argue that a face-to-face interview is generally still required before anyone is hired and that conventional software already in place is widely considered to be more effective for handling intricate screening chores than live or taped Web cam interviews would be. In addition, large companies maintain large resume databases and rely on text-based software programs to screen and sort candidates and to target specific skill sets. There is no doubt, however, that more and more companies are using Internet technology in their recruiting efforts. 

One of the issues concerning the virtual interview is that it’s too technological. Candidates who’ve been used to a face-to-face interview suddenly must get used to talking to a screen or a plastic ball. Building a rapport with an interviewer in such a setting is difficult. And that skill often is the deciding factor in interviews. 

In addition, many virtual interviews still look disrupted or experience transmission delays that prevent applicants from appearing fluid and confident. That will change, however, with continual technological upgrades. The end result, however, is job applicants probably will one day face some kind of camera with a prospective employer. 

In fact, some high-tech firms are banking on it. They emphasize that the practice functions as a first screening and aid human resource departments. Many industries agree and are jumping on board with the concept. A number of placement firms in the information-technology business, for example, offer taped interviews of job candidates to their clients. Finally, expect the practice to gain momentum as businesses realize the Web cam interview can be attained at a fraction of the cost that some interviews cost today. IBI