The University of Arizona

Video Interviews Can Save on Costs, Increase Candidate Pool

By Al Bravo, College of Medicine - Phoenix | February 22, 2012

It's important to still behave as if everyone were in the same room.

Jessica Coronado Perez
Jessica Coronado Perez
UA College of Medicine - Phoenix
UA College of Medicine - Phoenix

Before you go out and get that plastic surgery for your upcoming job interview – slow down. Yes, technology has infiltrated the hiring process but it hasn't taken over, yet.

"Videoconferencing will probably never replace an in-person interview," said Jessica Coronado Perez, administrator of personnel affairs for the UA College of Medicine - Phoenix. "However, technology has become an effective tool, saving time, money and with an increasing number of people applying for jobs, it is invaluable."

Perez was recently interviewed by The Arizona Republic for a story on the changing landscape of hiring through the use of technology such as video interviews.

The newspaper reported that employers are increasingly using online tools, such as Skype, to interview applicants for jobs.

Perez says employers such as the UA can save on travel costs and consider more applicants for a particular job by using video interviews.

"That means applicants are now making a first impression through the camera," Perez said. "Appearance is important, as it would be no matter the format of the interview. But now you have to consider how you are being perceived since you are not in the same room."

Think about how important body language and one-on-one connections are during an in-person interview. A remote interview can play much more like a performance and can magnify an applicant's personality.

For the UA College of Medicine - Phoenix, Perez says, use of technology has been integral in the hiring process. She noted that the medical school has used videoconferencing to interview job candidates who live out of state and to allow Tucson-based employees to participate when an applicant is interviewing in Phoenix.

In fact, videoconferencing is a routine occurrence on the Phoenix campus with workers meeting with their Tucson counterparts by video regularly. So, being able to communicate through the medium actually can translate to the actual job.

One Phoenix-based College of Medicine employee used Skype to interview for her job while she was in Texas. She says she was familiar with videoconferencing, so interviewing on camera was not disconcerting.

One of the concerns – on either end – is when there are technical difficulties. That can fluster the most prepared candidate, so Perez recommends a backup plan, either a telephonic conference or, if necessary, rescheduling to make sure all candidates are evaluated on even ground.

Some additional tips from Perez:

  • Test the equipment. Make sure that your microphone, camera and Internet connection work well.
  • Avoid rooms with an echo and be certain the applicant can see all the members of the interview panel on the screen.
  • Avoid background conversations. You may be off camera, but people can still hear you.
  • Leave the cell phone alone. You know who you are. Even though the applicant is not in the room, give him or her your undivided attention. After all, that person could be your next boss!