Before recent shifts in workplace norms, in-person interviews were the standard. As the global pandemic and emerging technology have made remote work more common, interviews have evolved significantly.
Recent Interview Trends
Remote work isn’t new, but prior to COVID-19, it was common for an employer to fly an out-of-town candidate to their headquarters for an interview. Even if the job was fully remote or would be located in a satellite office, in-person interviews were the norm, and employers and applicants would meet face-to-face whenever possible.
This all changed during the pandemic as people made every effort to social distance, and everyone who could worked remotely. The evolution of video platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco, and Google Meet made real-time video interviews easy. They saved companies and candidates time and money.
This trend extended to automated interviews, where video answers are recorded, and there is no live interaction. These gained traction for some high-volume employers or to compensate for candidates in different time zones or difficult schedules.
However, as organizations embraced the ease and convenience of video interviews, some shortcomings emerged.
Communication is a complex process, and body language is a significant factor in accurately assessing another person. Video offers some body language cues, but it does not compare to in-person.
Hiring managers have increasingly leaned on pre-employment tests and work samples to compensate. They expanded questions on soft skills and cultural fit. Applicants report that some organizations are conducting more than the standard two to four interviews, which slows down the hiring process and taxes both sides.
Trending Back Toward In-Person Roles & Interviews
Candidates and managers can both suffer in this scenario. Candidates often don’t feel as connected to the prospects of the role, and managers sometimes feel they don’t know the candidate well enough! This may be why seven-in-10 Americans said they prefer in-person interviews.
While video interviews are still more typical than five years ago, companies are finding a balance between remote and in-person interviews. Initial screenings may be done by phone, with a first interview conducted by video. Those who make the cut are invited to meet the team in person. (We’ll go through the benefits in a moment.)
The emerging hybrid interview process reflects the hybrid work structure many organizations have embraced—and will continue to embrace in the years to come. While video in the initial stages is efficient and saves time, both candidates and employers benefit from meeting in person.
Benefits of In-Person Interviews
Here are five benefits of including an in-person interview in the hiring process.
1. Experience Their Body Language
Usually, a video interview displays the candidate’s face or upper body. You may observe some body language, but it doesn’t compare to the non-verbal cues you can pick up on in person. Face-to-face, you can see the applicant’s facial expressions, gestures, and posture.
An in-person interview also offers context since you’re in the same environment. Now, this doesn’t mean you should use this time to discount a candidate because they’re nervous while in person. In-person interviews can help you gauge the candidate’s general interest and enthusiasm for the job.
2. Offers Clarity About Commute, Culture, and Expectations
For candidates, coming into the office to meet the hiring team helps them make a grounded and informed decision. If they accept the job without ever visiting the offices, they may not have a realistic understanding of their commute or the general culture of the office they’d work in.
“It is really hard to be able to uphold a hybrid policy if you’re leading a fully remote interview process,” Lawrence Dearth, Insight Global’s president of recruiting, says.
Even if their interactions outside the interview are limited, meeting in person gives them more context for the company culture. It lets them observe their potential future workplace before receiving an offer.
3. Build Rapport
Good rapport is the basis for smooth and comfortable conversation. It allows the candidate to get comfortable and be themselves—and that’s the person who you want to interview! Also, a candidate who feels rapport with the hiring manager is more likely to leave with a positive impression and believe what the managers says about the role. (Remember: you’re selling the job and company as much as the candidate is selling themselves.)
4. Probe Deeper Into Interview Responses
Video can be an effective format for in-depth conversations, but an in-person interview offers advantages that make a spontaneous exchange easier. Because the interviewer has the benefit of body language and it is easier to build rapport, there are more opportunities to probe deeper into the candidate’s responses in person.
If your hiring team uses a structured interview format and asks the same questions in order without deviation, the in-person experience provides more context for each applicant’s answers.
5. Observe Interpersonal Skills
Inviting the candidate into your offices allows you and other team members to observe their interpersonal skills. These are the people whom they’ll work with eventually!
Unscripted moments, like a brief introduction to a team member in the hallway, can reveal insights into a candidate’s interpersonal skills. How they address the reception staff or handle waiting times are simple behaviors that offer glimpses into their professionalism and respect for others in the workplace.
The Hiring Process Is Evolving
The interview process is evolving. More employers are striking a balance between the ease and convenience of video and the impact and access of in-person interviews. Using a hybrid interviewing model, companies can harness the strengths of both approaches to make informed, efficient hiring decisions.
At Insight Global, we are interview experts. Whether we are hiring for a local company or a remote position across the globe, our dedicated team expertly screens candidates for skills, experience, and cultural fit. If you need to hire quality people fast, we can help.
We Can Facilitate In-Person Interviews
Let us know your hiring needs, and we can deliver a shortlist of candidates to you in less than a week! Questions? Call us toll-free: 855-485-8853