…face-to-face vs. video interviews

As everybody knows or has experienced, our interviewing as well as meetings have changed drastically over the past couple of months. Some of us like it, most of us don’t. Many of our hiring authorities are now interviewing via some kind of video communications… Slack, Skype, zoom, FaceTime, etc. so I decided to do some research on these kind of meetings especially regarding interviews. I have one candidate that is going to be experiencing his seventh video interview with one company on Monday. The hiring authority asked me Friday how many people and who he had actually spoken with (videoed with) already. She didn’t even know who he had already interviewed with. It’s been going on for almost two weeks.

So if you’re looking for a job or you are hiring people and you’re doing it via some kind of video communications, here’s what you need to know:

  • In the presence of another person, our voices and psychological states align and we are better able to understand each other. This kind of thing does not take place via video.
  • Most of the information we give each other about our relationship comes from nonverbal cues.
  • No matter how sophisticated our equipment is we will never be able to match the fine-tuned communication systems that our bodies and brains experience when we are face-to-face with other people
  • When we’re in the presence of another person, our bodies attune to the body of the other person.
  • We feel isolated when viewing the screen.
  • Our autonomic nervous system constantly monitors our surroundings. We pick up nonverbal cues that tell us whether or not the person we are interacting with is really hearing what we say.
  • Our heart rate, perspiration and respiration send signals to the brain relative to the environment we’re in.
  • When bodies are in the presence of each other, they begin to release oxytocin.
  • With most technology we speak with our eyes into the camera and unless we are at a reasonable distance, we cannot see the other person’s eyes. We can’t “see” the other person in anywhere near the same way as we can in physical presence.
  • We cannot read other people’s body language easily. When people physically meet there is a tendency to mirror the other person’s body language, especially if were getting to know them.
  • Conversations don’t “flow” nearly as well with videoconferencing.
  • Most of the information we give each other about our relationships come from nonverbal cues and those cues are very difficult to read through videoconferencing.
  • Studies show that emotions are not as easily understood with any kind of video communications as much as they are in person.
  • When face-to-face, you can immediately see people’s reactions to the words you use.
  • Time delays with some video conference technology totally disrupt the sense of attunement.
  • The adoption of the elbow bump tells us how strongly our bodies really yearn to connect. Touching triggers endorphins. Video technology can not in any way solve this issue.
  • People are more empathetic to other people when they meet face-to-face.
  • Emotions are more misinterpreted in video meeting situations.
  • People are more open in face-to-face physical meetings then they are via video technology.
  • Empathy happens more quickly with face-to-face, in person meetings then it does via technology.
  • For some reason, the background behind a person’s videoconference setting is much more distracting than an in person, face-to-face interview. People have a tendency to notice it more so than when they are physically in the space.

There were many more discoveries that my research found, but these were the highlights. Here is the bottom line. If you are a job seeker, you’re not anywhere near as likely to make a good impression with a hiring authority via videoconferencing. If you are a hiring authority, you’re not going to be able to evaluate a candidate anywhere near as well via videoconferencing.

Years ago when I was in higher education, educational television was going to revolutionize and even replace learning in a physical classroom. It never did. Personal, face-to-face interviews will never be effectively replaced by technology.

You may be stuck with videoconferencing interviews. Just remember that they are nowhere near as effective as face-to-face interviews.

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