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Virtual Interviewing: A Fad or the Future?

Virtual interviewing is here to stay. It is not a fad, nor the future, but it is the present, and for the past few years big companies like the Wal Mart have been using virtual interviewing to great advantage. Depending upon the job functions, virtual interviewing can be used at different levels of screening to make the candidate selection and recruitment process more cost-effective in terms of time, monetary expenses and other resources.

Even outsourcing and globalization is dependent on virtual constant communications between different offices of the same company. A big portion of the workers community is already into telecommuting, and where it is possible, virtual workers are increasingly becoming part of an integrated work environment. In fact, there are specialized companies out there which survive on providing virtual secretaries, assistants and employees.

Along with workforces becoming virtual and online, learning processes and teaching courses too are following through with virtual classrooms and online degree and diploma courses, paring down the need for physical presence to a minimum.

It is no wonder then, when workspaces are becoming virtual or semi-virtual in nature with the progress of communications and information technology, and where learning and teaching systems are going online with virtual classrooms, the interview process, too, would be conducted at a virtual level, doing away with the need of unnecessary physical presence within the same space and time.

However, this does not mean that personal interviews are losing their charm. Rather, being more expensive in terms of time, money, and physical presence, personal interviews are being limited to those situations which clearly necessitate the advantages of a personal interview. Where part of the interview process can be done virtually, it is done virtually, as it always has been done.

Few people care to recognize that virtual interview processes have always been around. In fact the submission and consideration of a resume, personal statement, and cover letter etcetera are done without the ‘physical presence’ of the candidate, and are therefore ‘virtual.’ The only difference that has happened with the introduction of computers, internet technology and instant communication systems is that even a big part of a “personal interview” or “face-to-face” interview can also be carried out in a virtual environment, through videoconferencing or online tests.

The purpose of the candidate selection or recruitment process is to select from among competing individuals the persons who are most suitable for the required job positions. There are several methods of evaluation and screening done to attain this objective. And as many of those processes can be successfully transferred to a virtual environment it is better, for it increases organizational reach and cost-effectiveness in recruitment.

Wherever, processes of selection and evaluation of candidates is done in a virtual environment, there is the added benefit of automatic recordings in data bases, as also the easy possibility of automatic audio-visual recordings. This is difficult to arrange in traditional interviewing processes where post-interview decision-making depend upon the fickle memories or notes of interviewers without the possibility of third parties being able to review things objectively.

Personal interviews, today, are necessary only when it is necessary to evaluate the responses of a candidate under the ‘pressure’ of a personal interview. Otherwise, virtual interviews with their greater geographical reach, automatic record capturing and cost-effective nature are preferable for the greater part of the recruitment or selection process.