Why do most Americans prefer in-person job interviews?

Most say traditional interviews give them a better opportunity to evaluate the job and organization.
By: | September 5, 2019 • 3 min read

Virtual interviews—including prerecorded video interviews and virtual-reality tryouts—are fast becoming a routine part of the hiring process for many jobs. However, given a choice, most Americans would prefer an in-person interview.

That’s according to a new survey from staffing company Yoh, which finds that 62% of the 2,000 U.S. adults polled would prefer a traditional interview over a virtual one.

Why?

The biggest reason, cited by nearly 60% of respondents, is that in-person interviews are the only way to “truly judge a new job opportunity.” Reason No. 2, selected by 37% of respondents, is that virtual interviews would limit the connection with the interviewer. Seventeen percent of respondents chose “too many opportunities for technical difficulties” as a reason why in-person interviews are preferable to virtual ones.

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“In this technological era, companies are consistently finding faster, better ways to streamline the recruitment process and open the door to a wider range of hiring opportunities,” says Yoh’s president, Emmet McGrath. “But Americans’ skepticism of virtual interviews highlights the need for human interaction throughout the recruitment and hiring process.”

Companies that rely on virtual interviews do, in fact, tend to include face-to-face interviews in their hiring process—they just tend to do so at a later stage of it, says Loren Larsen, chief technology officer at online-interviewing and assessment provider HireVue.

“The virtual interview is a way for companies to decide, ‘Which five people do I select for an in-person interview?'” he says.

Virtual interviews—whether they’re done via phone or laptop—let talent-acquisition teams and hiring managers screen out candidates who’d be a poor fit for the job in question minus the trouble or expense of an on-site interview, says Larsen. In many cases, they’ve made the hiring process more humane, he adds.

“An in-person interview is more personal, but most companies don’t have time for that,” says Larsen. The virtual interview is a good alternative to resume screening, he says. “It’s giving people a shot who might otherwise face the dreaded ‘black hole.’ ”

Some organizations do need to do a better job of making their virtual interviews more personal, says Larsen.

“There are bad in-person interviews, and there are bad virtual interviews,” he says. “Rather than just sending someone a link and telling them ‘Here, take this,’ explain to them why you’re asking them to do this—how it will help you get to know them better, for example.”

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