1. Get the Job
  2. Get Ahead
  3. Office Life
  4. Work-Life Balance
  5. Home Office
We are here for your business - COVID-19 resources >
Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.
Build Your Career Get the Job

Skip Skype: Why Video Job Interviews Are Bad for Everyone

image for Antonio_Diaz / Getty Images Antonio_Diaz / Getty Images
  • Video interviews can present certain challenges that face-to-face interviews do not.
  • Do not rule out a video interview; it can be appropriate in some situations.
  • Keep some important tips in mind before you begin a video interview.  

Although they might save time, video interviews aren't paying off for job candidates or employers, new research shows.

A study from the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University in Ontario revealed that job applicants interviewed through video conferencing came across as less likable, while those doing the hiring were viewed as less competent.

Using simulated Skype sessions, the researchers found that candidates who were interviewed via video conferencing were rated lower by interviewers and were less likely to be recommended for hiring. On the other side of the webcam, candidates rated their interviewers as less attractive, less personable, less trustworthy and less competent.

"Increasingly, video technology is being used in employment interviewing because companies feel it provides convenience and cost savings," said Greg Sears, one of the study's authors. "Despite their growing use, our study shows that video conference interviews are not equivalent to face-to-face interviews."

The researchers said accurate assessments of candidates and positive evaluations of interviewers are essential as organizations compete for talent. In addition, candidates who evaluate their interviewers more positively are more likely to accept a job offer, the researchers noted.

"Video conferencing places technological barriers between applicants and interviewers," said Willi Wiesner, one of the study's authors. "Employers and applicants should work to reduce the barriers that arise through video conferencing and improve the interpersonal aspects of the interview process."

The study, which was funded by the Canadian government's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, was published in the journal Management Decision.

It can be. Getting selected for a video interview may mean that the potential employer is interested in you and does not want to rule you out just because you cannot come in for an in-person interview. Before you skip Skype interviews, consider some important points. A video interview can be a good concept, as long as you are prepared for what might go wrong.

Despite the survey results, video interviewing is done frequently today. It can be done successfully as long as the interviewer and interviewee remember that a video interview is no less important than an in-person one. 

To help address some issues that may come up, the researchers offered several tips for employers and job candidates who use video conferencing for interviews:

  • Use the same interview approach on all candidates who are competing for the same job. Don't interview some by video and some in person. For example, you might do a first round of interviews of all candidates using video technology and then invite successful candidates for on-site, face-to-face interviews.

  • Both interviewers and applicants should use the best equipment and internet connections possible to lessen delays or technical limitations that can lead to conversations becoming less fluid or interactive.

  • Body language is important, but facial expressions are most important. Ensure that cameras are positioned close enough to catch facial expressions of both the interviewer and the candidate.

  • Because the participants are looking at each other on the screen and not the webcams on the top of their screens, they report a lack of eye contact in video conferencing interviews. Place the webcam as close to eye level as possible.

  • The lack of physical proximity, signal issues and participants' nervousness in communicating via technology tend to make for stilted, flat communication. Just as screen actors need to be particularly expressive with their faces and voices to convey feelings or emotions on camera, interviewers and applicants should be more expressive than usual. Practice nodding more noticeably, smiling more broadly, making greater use of hand gestures and varying vocal pitch, tonality and emphasis.

  • Conduct mock interviews with friends and family using readily available technology, such as Skype or FaceTime.

  • To make a good impression on a candidate, interviewers should take extra time at the start of the interview to outline the process and engage in small talk to allow the applicant to get comfortable with the technology.

  • Add a more personal touch to the selection process. Provide job candidates with an informational video that shows existing employees and their work/nonwork activities. Allow candidates to speak directly with employees about their experience at the company.

  • To avoid looking down, which could create an additional gap in communication, interviewers should have someone else take notes during the interview.

  • Reserve video conferencing for preliminary screening interviews; use in-person interviews for the final selection. 

When you are considering a video job interview, there are some points to keep in mind. Doing well in a video interview is not just about how you answer the questions; you also must know how to use the technology with someone on the other side of it.

This requires different skills than sitting in a face-to-face interview. You must prepare for using this technology for your interview. Be aware of what the interviewer can see in your video window. Do not sit in bed, and make sure there is nothing on the wall behind you while you're interviewing.

Be sure to dress well for the interview, just as you would for an on-site meeting.

Do not wait until the last minute for anything, but most importantly, make sure your video link is working. Download any required applications in advance, and make sure everything is functioning. You do not want to have any technical problems while interviewing. 

Do not wear any patterns on your clothes; stick to solids. 

Do not let anything distract you during the interview. Turn off your cellphone, and make sure you can remain uninterrupted for the duration of the interview. 

Business News Daily Editor

Business News Daily was founded in 2010 as a resource for small business owners at all stages of their entrepreneurial journey. Our site is focused exclusively on giving small business advice, tutorials and insider insights. Business News Daily is owned by Business.com.