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Will video kill the face to face meeting?

Love them or loathe them, the video meeting has earned its place in our working lives. Where colleagues once congregated around a table with water, tea and the ubiquitous office biscuits, now we are confined instead to a laptop screen in the least cluttered corner of our homes.

For job hunters and recruiters, the interview has also transferred from face to face to video format. Candidates have had to master an entire new set of skills to ensure they are able to impress as much on screen as they would in person.

But is this a fleeting necessity or a rude awakening to a new normal? Is this a new dawn for the video meeting? And if so, what does it mean for you?

One thing is for certain: whilst countries around the world start easing their lockdown restrictions, there will not be an overnight return to business as usual. So video interviews and meetings will certainly continue to dominate in the short term.

For many international companies, fishing for their talent from a global pool, video interviews have already been routine for many years. Many business courses teach students the skills needed to impress and succeed within the confines of a video conversation.

For the vast majority of us, the switch to video was sudden and revelatory. Feedback on how successfully we have transitioned is very mixed. Whilst some have reported that there has been no change to a meeting’s success, there have been some interesting observations.

One important finding is that, for some, retaining information given in a video meeting is often less efficient than when that meeting is in person. For reasons that are not yet entirely clear, the medium of video is a handicap to memory. This is particularly worrisome for candidates, for whom it is vital that an interviewer retain as strong an impression of them as possible!

Secondly, feedback has indicated that loss of body language cues is a big problem for many participants – leading to more misunderstandings and making communication much less effective. Much of our communication is visual and we learn so much from how something is imparted than just from our words. So communication is significantly weaker when we are deprived of these vital clues.

This presents a huge challenge to a candidate: how to fully convey their passion, energy and motivation to the interviewer across the sterile medium of a screen. Conversely, the interviewer has to work harder to evaluate and discern a candidate’s suitability with less information than if they were meeting them in person.

Meeting other people, and how we comport ourselves and relate to others when we do, is a huge part of what makes us human. We need that interaction to thrive and be as effective a species as we can be. Therefore, we strongly believe that video can never entirely replace the face-to-face meeting.

Having said that, video has shown a new way of working so we predict that you will see an increasing trend of video meetings and interviews – where they are deemed appropriate and expedient. So we strongly advise you brush up on your video skills and get ready for your close up!

For tips on how to ace your video interviews, click here to see our recent blog

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