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The Incredible Future of Job Interviews

[Not] a long time ago… in a galaxy [not so] far, far away… businesses only hired people in their immediate area. This meant that in person interviewing was the obvious choice, and sometimes the ONLY choice for companies. The advent of planes, trains, and automobiles, however, drastically broadened their hiring horizons. Then, this thing called the World Wide Web came along and…. forget about it.
High-Tech Interview
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Hold onto your blasters, ladies and gentlemen — the days of old-school, in-person interviews are about to be squarely in the rear-view of our Millennial Falcons.

The introduction of the internet forever changed who, how, and where companies could hire.

As the viable candidate population went from only those within riding distance to virtually anybody with access to the internet, the interviewing and hiring process became incredibly operationally burdensome — so much so, that an entire Talent Acquisition industry was born. For example, we recently received over 4,000 applications for a Data Analyst opening — for context, our entire company has only 400 full-time employees. Can you even imagine the time, resources, and cost associated with bringing each of these candidates onsite for in-person interviews?! Two words: exorbitant and infeasible.

ENTER: screening tools.

If you’ve been considered for a new job in the past several years, chances are you have been subject to at least one screening tool. These are tools primarily used in the beginning stages of the hiring process, are usually administered by Recruiting, and are designed to streamline the candidate assessment process. In other words, they’re scalable ways to whittle the applicants down to a manageable — and feasible — candidate pool. Some of the usual suspects:

  • Phone Screen: an introductory interview/screening conversation conducted via phone, usually by a Recruiter.
  • Video Submission: an asynchronous — one-way — video recording that a candidate submits, answering the required questions/prompts. Example: Hirevue.
  • Aptitude Test: an online test used to gauge proficiency in hard skills (MS Excel, math, coding). Example: HackerRank.
  • Assessments: an online survey/assessment designed to evaluate personality and/or soft skills (communication, problem-solving, grit). Examples: Koru, Meyers-Briggs.

Next, the [interview] Force awakens.

Once they’ve narrowed the candidate pool significantly, most companies that use these screening tools are still conducting in-person interviews in the latter stages of the hiring process. Even then, however, the costs of airfare, lodging, meals, etc. for out-of-area candidates can really add up. As more and more companies, large and small, are competing on a national — and even global — scale for talent, we will see these in-person interviews decline in favor of remotely conducted interviews. The most common remote interviewing avenues:

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  • Phone Interview: a full interview conducted via phone, usually by the hiring manager or member of the hiring team; Typically a few of these in succession.
  • Video Interview: a full interview conducted via synchronous (two-way) video, usually by the hiring manger or member of the hiring team; Typically a few of these in succession. Examples: Skype, FaceTime, Zoom.

Critics of these tactics argue that these remote assessment tools — both at the screening and interviewing stages — can make it difficult for a candidate to shine, dampening their personality and depriving them of important interpersonal interaction with the hiring team. Many maintain that because of this, the in-person interviewee will always have an advantage over the remotely interviewed candidate.

Plus, if you have a hire misfire that could have been prevented with that direct interaction during the interview process, it can be even more costly than it would’ve been to fly them in from another county! According to research by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the price of hiring the wrong candidate can be over five times the annual salary of the hire. Cha-CHING.

Proposed solution? Hologram interviews. You hear me right: I said hologram.

You know what I always say, “Holograms: good enough for the Jedi High Council, good enough for me!” Okay, so I never say that, but it’s no less true. Microsoft is working on virtual reality technology they’re calling “Holoportation” which allows candidates and interviewers to interact more naturally, injecting some of that interpersonal interaction back into the experience; pretty wild — check out the demo here.

While this might seem like a far-fetched idea, keep in mind that the number of active virtual reality users is predicted to reach 171 million by 2018.

The future of interviewing is here, and it’s clear.

The nature of globalization, fueled heavily by booming transportation technology and the advent of the internet, means that hiring can be a high-cost, high-stress, and high-volume game for companies. In efforts to create streamlined and scalable hiring practices without sacrificing the quality of hire, the Talent Acquisition industry is leveraging many technology tools for screening and interviewing candidates. This will only increase as the available technology increases, and we will continue to see a decline in costly and consuming in-person interviews.

Caitlin Williams
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