DESPITE the advent of technology that takes the human component out of too many of life's transactions, it is heartening to learn that one form of human interaction is preferred over any technological simulation: the face-to-face interview.
George Washington University researchers have discovered as much and their paper, “Technology in the Employment Interview: A Meta-Analysis and Future Research Agenda,” is published in the journal, Personnel Assessment and Decisions.
In their data analysis, they found that the face-to-face (FTF) interview got more positive ratings from interviewees and interviewers, followed by telephone interviews and computer-generated interviews. Video interviews received the least favorable ratings.
"We live in a world where we increasingly rely on technology, but this study reminds us that peronal interactions should never be underestimated,” says co-author Nikki Blacksmith, a doctoral candidate at GWU's Department of Organizational Sciences and Communication.
“Many times, the candidate does not have a choice in the format of the interview. However, the organization does have a choice and if they are not consistent with the type of interview they use across candidates, it could result in fairness issues and even possibly a lawsuit.”
NB&Co. based their findings on 12 previous studies (meta-analysis) in which interviewers and interviewees rated job interviews that were both face-to-face and technology-mediated.
Interviewees rated (called applicant reaction) the quality of the interview process, while interviewers rated (interviewer rating) how well the interviewees performed.
Across the board, the FTF interviews were better received by both groups because its format is more susceptible to impression management. This is defined as a set of techniques such as nonverbal behaviors, pattern of speech and visual cues.
Technology-mediated interviews, by contrast, do not lend themselves as greatly to impression management. During a phone interview, for example, there is no visual cue such as a smile from an interviewee that might put an interviewer at ease and more likely to consider him/her as a viable team member.
As for computer-generated interviews, they often do not provide the clarification an interviewee requires to furnish the best or most accurate answer to a question, decreasing the opportunity to make the greatest possible impression on the individual(s) reviewing the responses.
A video interview may have time-lapse challenges, making it appear to an interviewer that an interviewee is not as quick on the uptake or less than forthcoming or downright dissembling.
An interviewee may feel that the lapse is rendering her/him less effective and impressive. These interviews can also induce nervousness. Further, they may not capture nonverbal behavior such as hand gestures, owing to the limited scope of the camera.
Even accounting for improved technology and respondent facility with it, the researchers found that FTF interviews still rated higher than technology-mediated interviews.
The study does have two key shortcomings: only that dozen studies conducted between 2000 and 2007. Further, the most recent data used in those studies dates to 2004.
Of course, more recent study will take into account enhancements that may reveal more positive outcomes for technology-mediated interviews. Researchers strongly suggest
further research be undertaken in this area and make at least four recommendations, including more in-depth analysis of the individual technologies.
The meaning behind such questions as "Tell me about yourself" are addressed in "How to Answer Interview Questions" (Audible – Unabridged Peggy McKee, author; Scott Mille,bone of two narrators).
They write: "It is not sufficient to use the technology type (e.g., video and telephone) as a catchall predictor construct. Instead, we must define the psychological attributes of technologies. The purpose of discussing media in terms of attributes is to focus on the communication exchange process and understand how the medium may contribute or detract from the process."
Still, it is difficult to imagine that in only the last dozen years that technology had advanced to the degree that a technology-mediated interview will get higher marks than an FTF.
An important takeaway: Often enough, old school ways are simply superior and no amount of technology can trump them.
Visit http://www. bit.ly/2au3Uep to read the abstract or downkoad the paper in its entirety.