What back in the office? Virtual job interviews refuse to die down

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What back in the office? Virtual job interviews refuse to die down
What back in the office? Virtual job interviews refuse to die down

For job seekers, the virtual interview phenomenon brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic has come as a blessing, saving them the hassle of having to reach the respective company’s office for face-to-face interaction. And fortunately for them, this mode of dialogue is still prevalent, despite the increasing amount of talk in the office.

A number of IaaS or interview-as-a-service platforms have seen a significant jump—from 78-93 percent—in companies opting for remote assessments for initial rounds, data collected for Moneycontrol by IaaS firms shows.

IaaS firms typically conduct the preliminary round or rounds of interaction with candidates for positions at companies that outsource this service to vetted practitioners.

However, for mid- and senior-level hires, interviews are strictly face-to-face, and while there may be some relief in the first or second round, the final stages will almost always be face-to-face interactions.

Based on online recruiting firm FloCareer’s Q2 2023 survey, 97 percent of responding companies indicated they would conduct their initial rounds of interviews virtually. Of these, they plan to outsource 72 percent of these interviews to external IaaS companies.

Similarly, recruiting services firm AuthBridge also saw a 30 percent increase (July 2022 vs. July 2023) in face-to-face interviews specifically for management and leadership positions, with 80 percent of companies opting for virtual interviews over time of initial rounds.

It should be noted that the trend that emerged was that for positions below management level, the entire interview and fit process was through a virtual route.

Why?

The in-person interview no doubt creates problems for job seekers, especially those living in non-metro cities who will have to travel to the company’s office, which is usually located in one of the larger cities.

However, the notion that face-to-face interviews guarantee a higher success rate in assessment and hiring is also being questioned now, thanks to the forced interventions of the pandemic.

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“Initially forced by the Covid situation, but now driven by the need for wider geographic coverage, lower interview costs and fast interview rounds, virtual interviews continue to grow,” said Mohit Jain, co-founder of FloCareer.

According to a 2023 study by IaaS firm InCruiter, HR managers save an average of up to 14 hours per week by going on virtual interviews. “This increase in efficiency has also positively impacted the quality of hiring for many organizations,” it said.

In addition, hiring without borders has gained importance. The report says access to a global talent pool and streamlined hiring processes have led to improved talent attraction, resulting in a significant 93 percent of employers continuing to use virtual interviews.

The only industry where remote interviewing has been significantly adopted is the information technology (IT) industry. The use of virtual interactions with potential employees by IT companies increased by 45 percent in the first seven months of 2023, according to InCruiter.

That’s because many tech companies have global workforces, and virtual interviews make it easier to screen candidates from around the world, according to Anil Agarwal, co-founder and CEO of InCruiter.
Industries such as education, healthcare, and customer service are also driving drastic growth in the IaaS business.

“Even traditional in-person roles like sales and marketing have seamlessly transitioned to virtual formats. This transformation highlights the evolution of virtual interviews into a comprehensive tool revolutionizing candidate assessment for enhanced scrutiny,” said Lokesh Nigam, co-founder and director of IaaS firm Kognoz.

Hybrid is the future

As the virtual interviewing solution matures, FloCareer predicts that companies will conduct up to 90 percent of their interviews virtually in the next six months – they currently conduct two-thirds of their interviews virtually.

While predicting the exact growth rate over the next six months is problematic for Kognoz, a steady increase of around 10-15 percent seems likely given companies’ refinement of remote procedures and their adoption of evolving technologies.

However, the personal interview will not lose its charm, but will be reserved for later and more important stages.

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“In-person interviews are typically reserved for the final stages of the selection process, especially for leadership positions in the select pool of candidates,” said Ajay Trehan, founder and CEO of AuthBridge.

Looking ahead, he said this strategy of virtual interviews combined with in-person interactions for critical milestones is forecast to remain stable over the next six months.

Given the indispensable role of virtual interviews, Trehan emphasized that establishing a robust vetting framework is essential to prevent impersonation and ensure reliability in the recruitment process.

Moneycontrol previously reported that over 14 percent of applicants had committed fraud at work. Of these, 80 percent are guilty of lip syncing, where the interviewee pretends to answer questions while a third person does the actual speaking.

This was followed by foreign aid as the next most common type of fraud. About 8 percent of applicants chose to accept help from another person giving them directions while off-screen. The remaining 12 percent went to online searches, system tools, etc.

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