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'Chemistry' missing in virtual interviews - Charles-Henri Dumon

'Chemistry' missing in virtual interviews - Charles-Henri Dumon

Remote interviews have become the modus operandi during the past 18 months as the vehicle of choice in the hiring of talent. But how effective are they as a means of really gauging someone’s personality and soft skills? Morgan Philips CEO & Founder Charles-Henri Dumon argues that they while they have their advantages, there are also very evident shortcomings compared to in person meetings.

Since being thrust into our new world of remote working, online interviews have become mainstream as organisations have had to convert to a new virtual reality through necessity. This has meant that video calls have taken over from the traditional face to face interview during the recruitment process. Research from HireVue’s ‘The State of Hiring Experience 2021’ report revealed that over half (54%) of hiring leaders found that recruitment processes were much faster, while it helped 41% identify the right talent.

Remote interviews provide an efficient solution in terms of cutting down on travel costs and expenses while enable organisations to expand their candidate pool and talk to potential talent anywhere in the world and can easily include more internal people onto their interview panels. Furthermore, they allow you to get a sense of the person’s personality plus you and others can watch the video back if in doubt about a particular individual. So this form of interview won’t just disappear!

However, there are equally notable shortcomings and flaws. Are we eliminating very good candidates because for example they might not come across so well due to a bad internet connection or poor video and audio quality? What about lighting? There has even been a phenomenon known as ‘background’ bias where candidates have even been judged on their home surroundings! Clearly, these issues wouldn’t arise in person. So both the interviewer and candidate aren’t presented with the full picture, which will affect the decision making process. Zoom and MS Teams are primarily collaboration tools, they weren’t created for job interviews!

Convincing candidates to join your organisation

Most of us, whichever side of the desk we’re sitting, will have had precious little experience of remote interviews. Although the same principles apply in terms of preparation both on the part of the interviewer and candidate, online interviews take a lot of practice. Interviewers for example will have to be extremely convincing as candidates – often in short supply – won’t get to see their office atmosphere, environment or company culture. If you’re not convincing in selling the role and organisation, you risk losing the best candidates.

More fundamentally I believe that online interviews certainly serve a purpose, especially as a first stage interview for more high volume roles or those which are completely remote. But in particular for high level positions where personality and cultural fit are so important, a face to face interview should always take place if possible. There is a higher level of engagement, and you can pick up on important details from body language and get a more accurate read on interpersonal and social skills, which are critical at this level. There are also the huge hiring costs involved, so you need get these decisions right.

You might also want to introduce these individuals to your team, show them around, make them feel at home. These are all important factors that leave that important strong first impression. And you can gauge how the candidate reacts and whether or not they would fit in with your values. And while the pandemic has ushered in a new wave of remote interviews, the chemistry you get when two human beings meet in person cannot be replicated.

Want advice about remote interview training and running remote assessment centres? Contact our Talent Consulting experts now!

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