Are In-Person Interviews Better Than Video Interviews?

The traditional ways of interviewing have seen much change due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The way you prepare, communicate and travel (non-existent), has been altered to provide a new experience. Avoiding the busy rush-hour, getting your attire in check and making that call to receive last-minute directions are all part of your  typical interview experience; for both candidate and client. 

On the flip side, adjusting to interviewing remotely (phone and video) the challenges of finding suitable surroundings and avoiding technical mishaps are also part of the remote interview process. 

The Pros and cons of interviewing in-person 

There are certainly benefits of interviewing in-person and the main benefit is you get to meet your counterpart face-to-face and communicate clearly and effectively. 

Travel can be one disadvantage (depending on circumstances), but it’s certainly a benefit. The reason for that is because should you be successful, you will know the experiences of travelling to the office each day. How long is the commute? Which method of transport is best? How will you avoid the rush hour? These are all questions you will have answers to once you have travelled there initially. 

Another benefit of interviewing in-person is that you’ll get a first hand view of the office building and maybe even your workspace. If you’re lucky enough, you will get a tour of the office to show you all of the areas associated with your role. From this, you will be able to make comparisons and determine whether it is suitable, as some people have preferences to their working area.

“Will I have my own desk?” – This will be answered once you have reviewed your potential working space. 

You can keep your focus during an interview in-person or remotely; but you have the best chance of doing this when you’re in the same room. You’re bound to minimise distractions and focus your attention solely on your interview. It’s easy for your eyes to wander, however, eye contact shows your interviewer you’re focused and engaged. 

Face-to-face interviews allows both the candidate and interviewer to assess each other body language; and can gain much information from this method. How do they deal with difficult questions? Are they enthusiastic about the position?  For example, interviewers may be likely to hire or be interested in someone who maybe less-skilled, but displays tremendous enthusiasm for the position. 

Travel issues are one of the most common reasons for arriving late to an interview. Avoiding busy times is not always something you can control, depending on what time your interview is. You may also experience transport delays and If you’re fortunate to travel during quiet times in the day, that’s a major advantage. The best thing to do is give yourself plenty of time during your journey. 

A group interview or telephone interview take less time to conduct; whereas conducting a face-to-face interview requires more time for the interviewer (30-40 minutes) to assess the interviewers skills, especially if an interview assessment is necessary. If there is a number of people interviewing for that position, then it could take up a lot of time. 

Having a face-to-face interview will most likely mean you will have to travel; and depending on where it is based, it may be more costly. Commuting in and around the capital cities will likely require you to up your costs. If you are travelling in from another city, then you will have to decide whether the role will be a profitable one in the long-term. 

The pros and cons of interviewing remotely 

There are a range of advantages to interviewing remotely and although it is convenient; it is important to make sure you treat and prepare for the interview the same way you would if you were interviewing face-to-face. 

One of the main benefits of interviewing virtually is the fact that you do not need to travel. You don’t need to worry about spending money to get transport or avoiding the rush-hour; you interview in the comfort of your home or a suitable surrounding. If you have more than one interview lined up then it’s easier to schedule them all in, even if there is a short break between them. 

Video interviews are also very effective for businesses that wish to speed up the hiring process; and for candidates, they can expect faster response times and avoid waiting for a few weeks to receive an update on your application. This is extremely relevant for businesses that receive a high volume of applications – the process of making a decision is much quicker. 

Perhaps one of the less-mentioned benefits of video interviews is that it creates a fair chance for all applicants. Under the normal circumstances, candidates would be travelling in from all areas, some more local than others, but with virtual interviewing, everyone is required to communicate via video with no travel or time constraints. 

One of the more common issues those who are video interviewing face are technical malfunctions. A poor connection, broken webcam or a loss of connection completely can be one of the frustrating battles when video interviewing. This often leaves both the candidate and the interviewer frustrated. 

You may be in the comfort of your own environment when you interview remotely, but eliminating distractions can sometimes be a struggle. If you have childcare duties this can be a big challenge, or having to find a quiet space in the house. With video interviews, a person’s lack of IT expertise for a job that doesn’t require it at all can become a problem. If they are not able to set themselves up and record the video interview, this could be a concern if they had to collaborate digitally in the future. 

Check out our range of downloadable resources for guides on interview preparation.