DEBUNKING DISBELIEVERSA new study from the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University in Ontario has been making the rounds. The press release accompanying the study is cheerfully misnamed called "Video killed the interview star," and cautions employers from using digital interviewing in the workplace.

This, in our opinion, is patently silly.

The study claims that digital interviews make individuals less likable, as if communicating by way of webcam should be measured by the same standards as communicating face-to-face. Just as the dynamics change between a face-to-face conversation and a phone call, so do the dynamics change between a face-to-face conversation and an online job interview. This doesn't mean, however, that a virtual interview is somehow less effective than a physical one. In fact, in our opinion, the opposite is true.

Conducting a scripted virtual interview can be far more effective than a face-to-face one. Recruiters are less likely to become victim to snap-judgement bias, as the scoring system provided by a top-tier digital interview platform like HireVue ensures that each candidate is graded objectively on the quality of his or her answers. Additionally, using digital interviewing software is a big efficiency boost: it can decrease the amount of time recruiters spend screening candidates by a full order of magnitude-- from ten minutes or more per person down to one minute or less.

Candidates also benefit tremendously from digital interviews. Not only are they graded more on their own merits, and less on the merits of the person who interviewed before them, but a candidate doesn't need to take time off a current job to go interview. He or she can answer the interview questions when it is most convenient in their own schedules, making the application, interviewing, and hiring process far easier than usual.

The study from DeGroote does offer some good advice for individuals looking to use video interviewing software. We've highlighted a few points below:

  • Ensure that cameras are positioned close enough to catch facial expressions, and that the cameras are as close to eye level as possible.
  • Practice nodding more noticeably, smiling more broadly, making greater use of hand gestures, varying vocal pitch, tonality and emphasis. Think of it like acting on screen.
  • Interviewers should take extra time at the start of the interview to outline the process and engage in small-talk. This will allow the applicant to get comfortable with the technology.

Just as people were leery of adopting phone interviews to screen candidates, the hesitations around digital interviewing are understandable. But remember that it's a tool to enhance your organization, and, when used right, a virtual interview will help your organization maximize the amount of time you spend working with the right candidates for the position.

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