Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Online and telephone job interviews

What a bizarre way of doing business! Every now and then somebody asks to do a telephone job interview or even less often a video job interview. This is not how business is conducted in the real world. Business - whatever form of business you're in - is a person to person affair. A voice on a telephone is very little different from an email.

A while ago, I spoke with a fellow who was in favor of the idea of video interviews. As he said - put on your shirt and a tie and comb your hair. It doesn't matter if you haven't bathed for a week and fart through the entire interview nor does it matter that you're sitting there in stained boxer shorts with grubby toenails. The interviewer cannot see that. The resolution of most cameras is so poor that you will be able to see the person and that's it.

Conversation is about so much more than what the other person is saying. It's what they don't say that is told by their body language that matters more. With a head and shoulders video interview, all the body language is missed. The drumming fingers, the tapping feet, the sideways glances, the perspiration, the breathing, the position of the feet, the position of the body etc. There are so many signs that we use and need that are just missing from an online or telephone interview.

Generally, if a company employs a telephone interview or a video interview, it means they're not bothered about getting the right person for the job. They just want a body for the job and that in turn means it's not far off being a Joe Job or a McJob. Fit isn't that important. Indeed, telephone interviews and video interviews are the number one ways of recognising a scam job. Several times I've followed the phone or video interview route and found that at the end, the job was nothing more than a scam.

From the cheapskate point of view, getting somebody to interview online through their home computer or their telephone is the most economical way of conducting an interview. It is, however, the worst possible thing to do. A physical interview must take place - otherwise there's no guarantee that the person selected will be able to turn up for the job. There's a lot more to fit than just a brief phone or video chat. Somebody could chat well and be awful.

A while back, I was looking for staff for my photography business. I didn't get a great deal of luck because the staff would have been casual employees or zero hour employees. I insisted on in-person interviews. One interviewed well but turned out to be a no-show. Another interviewed well and also turned out to be a no-show. The third never could make it to an interview. After rescheduling the interview twice having been notified 20 minutes ahead of time each time, I concluded there was no chance of them ever actually being able to turn up to work. It was an ideal job for students yet all the students turned their noses up at it. I just couldn't give work away. Had I interviewed these people online, God alone knows what kind of people might have turned up.

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