Optimizing the hiring process is a common theme across many companies that want to reduce the cost of recruiting while still managing to find the right people.
With the incredible power of the Internet, digital resumes, and online interviews, it’s easy to wonder if it is it still necessary to conduct face-to-face interviews.
Richard Fairbank, CEO of Capital One certainly thinks so. “At most companies,” he notes, “people spend 2% of their time recruiting and 75% managing their recruiting mistakes.” This is why many large companies are moving away from a streamlined digital interviewing process to a larger emphasis on face-to-face interviews.
Although a digital onboarding process may initially save money, studies show companies classify 30 to 50 percent of all recruiting efforts as failures. They define failure when a new hire quits or is fired within the first year, or the original candidate rejects the offer. (Staffing.org).
In today’s digital era, there are incredible resume scanning tools but after the initial sorting processing a face-to-face interview is still required by most companies.
Why? Because this method provides advantages that cannot be duplicated online.
Advantages Face-to-Face Interviews
- Accurate Screening. Applicant can’t provide false screening information such as gender, age, race, or discuss specific experiences during a live interview.
- Interviewee Focus. According to TheLadders.com, job applicants spend an average of only 76 seconds reading and assessing a position description online. Online applications and interviews may be convenient, but are often in the midst of distractions such as texting, reading emails, or looking up company information in the moment. Face-to-face interviews create an environment free from technological distractions.
- Non-Verbal and Emotional Cues. Although online and phone interviews may capture verbal cues, only an in-person interview lets the interviewer to read body language, assess comfort with interview questions, and judge levels of enthusiasm for the position.
Although there are disadvantages to face-to-face interviews such as cost, limited sample size, and the need for qualified interviewers, there are certain aspects that can only be learned during an in-person interview.
5 Candidate Behaviors Only Found During In-Person Interviews
1. Did the candidate arrive on time?
A punctual applicant is more likely to be a punctual employee. Arriving with time to spare shows that the applicant is invested in the opportunity and takes the interview seriously. A timely applicant is likely to be more organized than one who rushed in 30 seconds before the interview began.
2. Was the candidate dressed to impress?
This is not the time to judge applicants by their sense of style, but rather their grooming habits. Are they tidy and put together? Does it show that they made the effort to dress appropriately for the interview?
An overdressed applicant shows the care whereas an underdressed interviewee may lack the professionalism needed for the job.
3. How was the greeting?
The first few moments of an interview are pivotal. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, the majority of interviewers (60 percent) said they had made their decision within the first 15 minutes of the interview. Of that group, nearly 26 percent made theirs in the first five minutes.
Did the applicant smile? Did he or she stand when greeted? How was eye contact? You discern whether you’re hiring a team member or a team leader based on an applicant’s comfort in strenuous social situations.
Are you building a kind, friendly, and welcoming office culture?
The initial greeting can tell an interviewer whether an applicant fits into the expected office culture within seconds. Was there an impactful first impression or did you see a droll and lackluster personality?
4. What does the handshake say?
A handshake can tell a lot about a candidate’s confidence and professionalism.
For example, the “limp fish” handshake displays a lack of power or authority and may stem from a sense of insecurity. This handshake comes from someone who needs to be led. This handshake won’t come from a take-charge type but someone who will probably become an office follower.
A firm handshake shows confidence and a willingness to lead. People with firm handshakes are often sure of themselves, their abilities, and feel confident that they can excel in the given position.
The two-handed shake shows an applicant hungry for power. This person wants to keep the upper hand and may be overeager for the position. This applicant likes to take charge but may have difficulty following or being part of a team.
Finally, the “Power Play” handshake is when the applicant struggles to have a hand on top or applies unnecessary force or pressure while shaking. There’s an attempt to bring the other person into his or her own space as a show of force.
Envision the “Donald Trump” handshake. This is someone who will not take no for an answer and may be a strong leader but will likely have difficulty remembering to put the company first.
5. What did the applicant’s BODY say?
An applicant’s body language shares many important details that may not be obvious in the resume or online profile. Did the candidate fidget and hide hands in pockets or behind the back? This may mean the applicant is not being entirely truthful.
A “palm down” speaking style can indicate that an applicant is very sure of himself but may allude to an inability to negotiate successfully. Palms up and open show readiness for new ideas and open to working together.
Body language often conveys more truth about what an applicant is saying or what is written in their resume. If their words and actions don’t align during the interview, be aware.
Make the Right Choice the First Time
Streamlining the talent acquisition process for your company and moving the process online is a great way to reduce costs and reach more people in less time. However, the most important information regarding a candidate’s success is learned through face-to-face interviews.
Faster doesn’t always mean better, especially if faster simply means the company isn’t finding and hiring the right applicants. The job interview funnel can be a convoluted mess but no online system can take the place of a good old-fashioned interview.
Change the statistics. Hire the right people the first time by understanding the importance of what cannot be written down in a resume and focus on finding an applicant with the perfect combination of experience and soft skills.