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Are Face To Face Interviews Dead?

Published: Wednesday 21st June 2017

Female interviewer and female interviewee

In light of the digital revolution and the disruption to traditional industries caused by the advancement of technology, we pose the question – has the time consuming final phase of the selection process, the face to face interview, had its day? Is there a faster and smarter way to select your ideal candidate without losing hours to standard interviewee answers to formulaic questions?

Maybe, but can anything other than real-time spontaneous, human to human interaction, determine if a candidates’ personality is as-good-a-fit with an existing team or working culture; however, ‘qualified’ they may appear for the job in hand? The interaction is the key, whether facilitated by Skype/video interview or in the flesh is less important. Today, if we are looking to accelerate the recruitment process, possibly the answer lies, not in the replacement of the interview, but in streamlining the pre-screening process.

Recent advances in machine learning and recruiting technology have indeed disrupted previous methods. From Applicant Tracking Systems for recruiters, to machine learning and AI search for candidates, todays job search & recruitment tools have put hirers (and candidates) in the best, most effective position ever. Just as candidates can so easily refine their job search, so the recruiter can refine their candidate search.

Leveraging technology to efficiently minimise the time taken in the initial applicant vetting process, hirers are now able to focus more fully on ways to test areas of importance for particular roles. By revisiting the ‘formal interview’, hiring managers can devise more engaging and enriching final applicant confirmation processes. Not just a way to measure one applicant against another, but a way to understand the person behind the application and make a lasting judgement on the candidate’s individual suitability for the role, team and company. This advance must be to everyone’s advantage.

So, the question is re-phrased: Does technology in the recruitment process signal the end for traditional hiring practices? Absolutely has to be the answer. And is then the face-to-face interview on the way out? Equally emphatically: No. With a range of aptitude tests, Cognitive Ability tests, Myers-Briggs personality tests, we can quantify and classify candidates easily. But it’s a rare, brave HR Manager who would hire a candidate sight unseen. From a candidate’s point of view, any question can be batted back with an answer the interviewer wants to hear. All tests are inherently flawed if you know how to play the system. But the more elements to the process, the more accurate it will be.

In short, it’s the combination of technology and human interaction with potential employees that results in the best, successful, long-term placement. The face-to-face interview is not dead, it’s taken its rightful place at the end of the technology-driven recruitment process.

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