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To interview in person or not...it is a complicated question that many an employer is beginning to ask. How can they once again begin to meet candidates face-to-face while adhering to local safety guidelines? This question is really two-fold. First, what are the advantages of returning to face-to-face interviews over virtual, if any? And, second, how do we do so safely?

Should we return to in-person hiring?

As a species, we are social. Can virtual interaction fulfill that social drive, and enable our primal senses to translate body language, eye contact, and subtle cues through a computer screen? According to the authors of “Getting to know you: Face-to-face versus online interactions,” it can’t.

The research performed in the study including having people interact with another person twice, once face-to-face, and once virtually. The results were clear. The face-to-face interaction resulted in more positive impressions between partners than those over the computer. The study also found that face-to-face participants had a greater “self-other agreement”, meaning their views of how they were seen and saw the other person aligned.

The bottom line, according to Nicole Plumridge in PsychMinds is “Overall, face-to-face communication fosters higher-quality interactions than online communication.”

Virtual interactions aren’t all bad, though.

Obviously, given current safety concerns and mandates, virtual interactions are here to stay. And they definitely have their benefits. Virtual hiring has reduced cost per hire as it relates to flying candidates out for interviews and has greatly expanded the talent pool if the position will also be remote. Virtual hiring is a great resource and is here to stay, but it needs to be integrated with in-person hiring, so we don’t, as they say, “Throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

How do we safely return to face-to-face hiring?

Mike Starich, CEO of Orion Talent, recently explored this subject in his article in Recruiting Daily, “Recruiters Weigh In: Are We Ready for In-person Hiring Events?”. In it, he explores how we might return to in-person hiring events seven months into the pandemic. He does so through the lens of Orion’s recent survey of HR and Talent Acquisition leaders, and hiring managers from companies of varying sizes and geographic regions on their opinion of returning to hiring events.

Of the 125 respondents, opinion was pretty evenly spread out when asked when they would return to an in-person hiring event. Twenty-four percent did say they were ready to return to in-person interviews and hiring events. So with this in mind, we asked what precautions would make our clients feel safe.

Consider these three things to have a successful in-person hiring event.

Venue Setting

Determine if your candidates value being indoors or outdoors, in a private room or conference hall, and create a safe environment.

Safety Compliance

Implement strict monitoring of social distancing, use of masks, temperature checks, and the availability of hand sanitizers, protecting both your employees and candidates.

Quality of candidates

Quality is even more paramount when there is any perceived risk in interviewing, so consider virtually pre-screening candidates so in-person time is more efficiently spent with pre-qualified candidates.

“Pandemic or not, companies need to keep hiring,” concludes Mike, “There is no one-size-fits-all answer for when the time is right to resume in-person hiring events. The best solution we have is to keep in close touch with the changing needs of our customers and stay informed, flexible, and patient as we work to keep ourselves and our current and future employees comfortable and safe.”

Whether you are sticking with virtual interviews as your strategy for the time being or considering in-person hiring events, Orion Talent can help you best leverage your chosen method. Explore our services and reach out for some recruitment guidance here.

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