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Call me crazy, but I want in-person interviews back!

By Rebeca Blyde on April 22, 2024

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A woman interviews someone at her desk.

While I appreciate the convenience of simply clicking a link and being greeted by a panel of interviewers, I can’t help but wonder: where have the in-person interviews gone?

More than 80% of employers now opt for virtual interviews, a trend that the rise of remote work and digital communication tools has accelerated. While virtual interviews offer undeniable convenience, they can also raise important questions about the nature of the interview process and the impact on candidates’ experiences.

I miss the in-person interviews, and one of their key advantages is the opportunity for genuine engagement. I feel like meeting an employer face-to-face allows me to establish a personal connection and demonstrate my communication skills more directly and effectively. In my humble opinion, this can be especially important for roles that require strong social skills, where the ability to connect with others is a key factor in success. Specifically, if applying for a communications job for the very first time, which is my case now that I am looking for a summer internship as a PR student. 

If you are recruiting and you are reading this, don’t get mad at me, but virtual interviews can feel impersonal and disconnected. The lack of physical presence can make it difficult for candidates to establish a bond with their interviewers, leading to a less engaging and more awkward experience–I have had that and left wondering why I wasn’t able to fully express my full potential and go in dept about my past experiences. 

This can be particularly challenging for candidates who struggle with anxiety while talking to a screen, as the added pressure of performing well in a virtual setting can exacerbate feelings of nervousness and self-doubt.

My other issue with virtual interviews is the challenge of finding a suitable space for the interview (if living with other people). Candidates may be more easily distracted by their surroundings, leading to a less focused and professional impression. Additionally, technical issues such as poor internet connection or audio/video problems can further disrupt the interview flow, adding to the stress and anxiety of the experience.

Whether some of us hate it or not, virtual interviews are probably going to be an important component of the employment process for many companies despite these difficulties. They are a good alternative because of their cost-effectiveness and ease, particularly for organizations trying to expand their candidate pool and expedite the hiring process.

Meanwhile, for us candidates, practice and preparation are the keys to a successful virtual interview. We may feel more prepared and confident on the day of the interview by making sure we have a peaceful and professional place for the interview. Just do what I do: ask your family to leave the house. Checking the equipment beforehand and rehearsing answers to frequently asked interview questions are definitely going to help. 

In conclusion, whereas virtual interviews offer many benefits in terms of convenience and accessibility, they also present unique challenges for both employers and candidates–or perhaps only for candidates. Embracing the challenges and preparing for them can turn your virtual interview from a potential disaster to a great success. So, get yourself ready and dress to impress (at least from the waist up)!

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