Human Resources

Advantages and Disadvantages of Virtual Interviews

Published on April 6, 2022 • Updated on April 26, 2022 • About 7 min. read

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A woman being virtually interviewed by an employer for a position using Livestorm

If you’re struggling to attract the best candidates or provide them with a positive hiring experience, conducting video interviews could be a key difference-maker to your success as a hiring team.

Here we look at the advantages of virtual interviews, including reducing time-to-hire, minimizing cancellations, and how you can use multimedia sharing during your calls.

We also give an honest appraisal of the limits of video interviews and our five tips for virtual interview best practices.

Now, read on to discover the value of virtual interviews to the hiring process, and decide if they’re the all-in-one solution you’re looking for.

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What are virtual interviews?

Virtual interviews, also known as video conferencing interviews, are face-to-face interviews conducted online instead of in person. There are lots of advantages to virtual interviews, including convenience, a faster hiring process, and lower costs. We discuss these and more, below.

8 advantages of virtual interviews

Virtual interviews are now so popular that many businesses choose to make new hires without any in-person meetings at all. Here are some of the main reasons why organizations prefer video interviews.

  • Reduces time-to-hire
  • Greater scheduling flexibility
  • Fewer delays or cancellations
  • Easy to include team members in the interview
  • Allows for a bigger pool of candidates
  • You can share the interview with other decision-makers
  • You can use multimedia
  • Saves on costs

1. Reduces time-to-hire

Virtual interviews help accelerate the hiring process with easier scheduling (see below), and by making it easy to reach out to long-distance candidates (see point 5). Time-to-hire is a crucial metric because by recruiting fast you can limit lost opportunities and save on recruitment costs.

2. Greater scheduling flexibility

Many of your interviewees will have personal and professional obligations, which will place limits on their availability that aren’t an issue with video interviews.

For example, you’ll probably find that most candidates request lunchtime or end-of-day interviews, or they have to take a day off work, which they struggle to organize at short notice.

With a virtual interview, though, candidates are far more flexible, making it much easier to schedule all your interviews for a role over a shorter period of time.

virtual interview handshake

3. Fewer delays or cancellations

Just as video conferencing interviews simplify the scheduling process, they also make it easier for candidates to stick to dates and times. Candidates will have no traffic to contend with, and may still attend interviews despite having flu symptoms. And you can conduct interviews from home, too, also making it simpler to avoid any timing issues.

4. Easy to include team members in the interview

If you have a lot of internal stakeholders taking part in the interview process, you’ll know that often one or two have to drop out, which brings inconsistency to the hiring process. With the flexibility of virtual interviews, there are fewer occasions where that’s necessary – which is fairer to candidates, and means you don’t have to go through the process of reporting how an interviewee performed.

5. Allows for a bigger pool of candidates

If you’re looking far afield to fill your role, you’ll often be frustrated by fantastic candidates who aren’t willing to undertake a long trip when there’s no guarantee they’ll get the job. With a virtual interview, your department doesn’t have to pay out for a flight or other travel expenses, and your fantastic candidate can still be in contention for the position.

6. You can share the interview with other decision-makers

Recording a video conferencing interview is infinitely more straightforward than recording an in-person one, and there are a number of reasons to do so.

Firstly, with the candidate’s permission, you can share interview replays with other decision-makers in the hiring process. Also, you can review interviews – especially helpful if you’re not a great notetaker – and even carefully compare specific responses to key questions across different candidates.

Another great reason to record your interviews is to review and provide feedback on the performance of interviewees. If someone in the hiring team is particularly strong in one aspect of how they conduct interviews, why not share a recording to demonstrate what they do so well?

7. You can use multimedia

As long as you have the best video conferencing software, using multimedia as part of your interviews is incredibly easy. And if you don’t use multimedia, maybe you should? You can share graphs and tables for technical questions, videos for situational questions, and images or PDFs for brain teaser questions.

Livestorm Advantages of virtual interviews, with the Interviewee watches multimedia

8. Saves on costs

As we’ve seen, without the need to schedule a round of in-person interviews, you can save on travel costs and speak to long-distance candidates who might otherwise be put off interviewing, avoid delays and cancellations, and reduce time-to-hire. All of these factors bring down costs and give you a better chance of getting the best candidate for the role.

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5 disadvantages of video conferencing interviews

Here are some of the issues with virtual interviews – jump to the following section to see how to combat them.

1. You need the right video conferencing platform

You can’t have an efficient, consistent round of virtual interviews if you’re not using the right video conferencing platform. You should be able to set up and start calls without any hassle, and interviewees shouldn’t have any problems joining a call.

If you don’t have the right platform, candidates could have to download an app first, which can cause delays, and you might not be able to share the call recording with other members of your team.

2. Connectivity issues

Interviewees need a reliable internet connection or you could have an interrupted call with lag or frozen images. There’s not much you can do about this as an interviewer and it could mean you have to reschedule.

3. Background noise or distractions

Interviewees sometimes struggle to find a quiet space if they’re attending a virtual interview from home, and this can affect their ability to perform well during your call. Also, it could affect your ability to fully assess the candidate.

4. Candidates miss out on a sense of the company culture

You can’t give candidates a feel for your working environment in the same way as with an in-person interview.

Walking into an office for their interview, a candidate can immediately pick up on stress levels, check out the workplace layout, or observe how the team communicates with each other. For some candidates, this could be enough to convince them this is the best place for them.

5. You could both be missing non-verbal cues

Whether it’s a confident handshake, how they dress, or subtle tells in their body language, there are many kinds of non-verbal cues that can give you insights into a person’s personality. These could hint at their confidence or hesitance, or even suggest how honest they’re being.

Video interviews come very close but they’re not the same as meeting someone in person – and this is as important for interviewees as it is for interviewers.

Virtual interview best practices and tips

To make sure you have successful online interviews:

1. Remind candidates beforehand to find a quiet, well-lit place to attend their interview, check they have a reliable internet connection, and understand how to use their device.

2. Be sure your video conferencing tool is:

  • User-friendly
  • Browser-based
  • Intuitively simple with multimedia
  • Provides you with unlimited interview replays

3. While you carefully prepare some key questions, also give space for unscripted conversation. This is the kind of interaction that would happen naturally for interviewees in an office lobby but often doesn't in virtual meetings.

4. At the beginning of your interview, remember to confirm with the candidate they’re happy for you to record the interview.

5. Once the formal interview is finished, why not invite key team members and remote employees to join the call and virtually meet strong candidates, encouraging them to use engagement features like live chat and emoji reactions? This is a fun way for candidates to interact with future teammates and get a sense of the in-house atmosphere.

Hold virtual interviews and hire the best candidates fast

Video conferencing interviews are fantastic for reducing time-to-hire and getting the best candidate for the role. They also make organizing interviews easier, and reduce the number of cancellations and delays.

But all those concrete benefits of video interviews can be compromised if you’re not using the best video conferencing platform, which needs to be super user-friendly, browser-based, and complete with engagement features like built-in chat, multimedia sharing, and unlimited replays.

With all those features in place, there are no barriers to achieving your targets and hiring the strongest candidates ahead of time.

Frequently asked questions about virtual interviews

What are the benefits of holding video conferencing interviews online?

Some of the main advantages of having video conferencing interviews are that they reduce time-to-hire, save costs, and make it easy to share and review interviews with other members of the team.

What are the drawbacks of holding virtual interviews online?

The main issue with video interviews is candidates can’t sense what the working environment is like. Also, you need a user-friendly video conferencing platform or candidates might struggle to join the call or experience other technical difficulties.

How do you hold an interview online?

Here are some of the main points to remember when conducting a video interview:

  • Have a clear understanding of the job requirements.
  • Make sure you know how to use the video conferencing software, which will ideally be user-friendly and browser-based.
  • Prepare questions carefully and use multimedia for a range of different question types.
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