Telephone and Video Interviewing: Limitations and Advancements

August 2, 2018 Richard Justenhoven

telephone and video interviewing

The impact of video interviews

The use of digital technology to improve employee selection processes such as interviewing has advanced considerably over the past decade. Without doubt, telephone and online video interviewing offers time and resource savings for both candidate and the hiring manager.

But how do telephone and video interviews impact applicant reactions and interviewer ratings?

Nikki Blacksmith, Jon Wilford and Tana Behrend carried out a meta analysis of 12 studies to explore this impact.

The study

The 12 studies included in the meta analysis all focused on results from what the researchers called ‘technology mediated interviews’. That is, interviews carried out either by audio-only telephone or as a live video interview using technology such as Skype. The 12 studies included resulted in looking at the reactions and ratings of over 1,500 participants.

The analysis showed that:

  • interviewer ratings are lower in technology mediated interviews than face to face interviews.
  • candidate reactions are lower in technology mediated interviews than in face to face interviews.

Does this mean we need to ditch the technology and revert to face to face interviews?

We think not. Indeed the research team highlight a number of limitations to this research. One of these is the fact that the team combined telephone and video interviewing studies to become a single ‘technology enabled’ category and clearly there are strong differences between the two.

But perhaps the strongest limitation is that technology advances rapidly and even the most recent of the studies included in this meta analysis was carried out in 2009.

But there is also the change in general technology behaviour of interviewers and candidates; technology is embedded within working and daily life to a far greater extent than a decade ago. Candidates are now more used to communicating via video and understanding how best to present themselves and make eye contact even when the camera is not in the natural line of vision or there is a time lag from question asked, to question heard. They are better at realising that they cannot rely on verbal cues for feedback and interviewers in turn are better equipped to ask more structured and competency relevant questions.

But the biggest step forward in making remote interviews more effective is the advancement of the recorded video interview. In such situations a few competency based questions are sent to the candidate and he or she is asked to video and record their own responses to these and to send the video clips back to the hiring manager. Connectivity issues are instantly removed. Hiring managers can compare easily between candidates, replay and share videos and build into an online selection process.

You can learn more about our vidAssess video interviewing tool here.


Blacksmith, N., Willford, J. C., and Behrend, T. S. (2016), Technology in the Employment Interview: a meta-analysis and future research agenda. Personnel Assessment and Decisions: Vol. 2: Iss 1, Article 2.

About the Author

Richard Justenhoven

Richard Justenhoven is the product development director within Aon's Assessment Solutions. A leading organizational psychologist, Richard is an acknowledged expert in the design, implementation and evaluation of online assessments and a sought after speaker about such topics.

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