COVID-19: Has Video Killed the In-Person Interview? 

CORNERSTONE & COVID: Our members around the world are stepping up to comment  on the new challenges facing our industry.  Here’s Dan Heiman of Kansas City , Regional Chair for North America.

Some of you may be old enough to remember the 1979 song Video Killed The Radio Star by The Buggles. It was the very first music video to air on MTV in 1981 and was expressing mixed attitudes towards modern technology in the media arts.

Fast forward 40 years (WOW!) and related modern technology once again appears to threaten something we all took for granted — the in-person interview.

In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, recruiting and the in-person interview have become essentially impossible to conduct, making it equally impossible to recruit new talent. This predicament has quickly brought the age of video meetings and interviews into the spotlight in a big way.  How big? Have you seen the stock price of ZOOM lately?

As an executive recruiter who happens to enjoy classic rock, the song I referenced by the Buggles has been on my mind lately because we have all been forced to use video to conduct our meetings – kids for school, doctors to evaluate patients, business meetings, family gatherings, the list goes on.  And, of course, as a recruiter – interviews.

Has/will video kill the in-person meeting?  Of course not, but it will and has already changed things and we must get used to it.  Video is here to stay because it’s a pretty good alternative in many situations. 

In fact, my firm just placed its first-ever candidate in a new position with one of our valued clients and they never met this candidate in person. It was all done by video and we have several current projects that are also being done by video.    

So, how are you embracing this technology? If you are just starting out, here are best practices in the age of video interviews during and after this pandemic:

  1. Video interviews work – with high speed internet readily available and quality (hardware) video devices on every cell phone, laptop and even home PC’s, access is simple and easy.
  2. ZOOM, Skype, Teams, Google Meet, FaceTime – the software tech is already good and getting better every day so do not be intimidated. 
  3. Be sure your video and sound quality are strong. If not, you can purchase a high-quality video cam for under $100. 
  4. Proper lighting, angle and a pleasing background are VERY important so be sure to practice and look at yourself in the video BEFORE you start an interview. 
  5. If you really want to geek out, check out a recent video blog posted by my friend, Jason Terry, at Blue Gurus. He offers great insight into camera quality, lighting, background settings, etc.
  6. Just like an in-person interview, 1st impressions are still important on both sides so treat a video interview just like you would an in-person interview; grooming, attire, look into the camera, have your questions prepared and keep it warm and inviting. 
  7. As an employer, you should prepare to communicate your brand, culture and your values via corporate videos, brochures, web sites, and social media

As we go forward, all of these will be a MUST to attract top talent. Of course, video has not killed the radio star and it will never kill or replace the in-person interview. They are complementary and video can be used effectively to conduct the first rounds of interviews before getting to a final slate of candidates.

And, perhaps by then, everyone will be ready to make a more informed hiring decision.

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