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Pros and Cons of Virtual Interviews in the Food Services Industry

Virtual interviews, once considered a necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, is now a regular, and very effective, interview technique for the food service industry. But are they right for every restaurant? We explore that in this article on the pros and cons of virtual interviews.
Virtual interviews, once considered a necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, are now a regular, and very effective, interview technique for the food service industry. Faced with ongoing staffing shortages, hiring qualified candidates has become more of a challenge for the industry. Virtual interviewing streamlines the process, making it faster and easier to hire skilled talent.  According to a recent Indeed survey, 82% of employers use virtual interviews, and 93% of them plan to continue using this method in the future. However, as with everything, there are drawbacks to virtual interviews in addition to the many benefits. 

Why virtual interviews?

According to Vivian Wang, CEO of Landed, virtual interviews decrease overall recruitment time by over 20 percent. Most industry principles agree that the virtual interviewing process is an important asset for both job seekers and employers, saving time for both sides. 

Types of virtual interviews

One-way, pre-recorded video

Also called an asynchronous video interview, this allows a hiring manager to send a prepared list of questions to candidates, who will then record their answers and send the video on for consideration. This video method is convenient for job seekers who may need more time to present themselves in the best light to a potential employer. For a busy employer who has multiple resumes to get through and wants to assess if a candidate is a good fit quickly, a video highlighting both their skills and personality may be a good choice. Employers can also set aside time in their day to go through several interviews at once instead of pushing everything aside for a live interview.

Two-way, live video

Also called a synchronous video interview, is a face-to-face interactive interview that is conducted remotely but in real time. It allows an employer and job seeker to schedule a mutually convenient time for the interview, where they can exchange questions and answers via a video conferencing platform like Zoom, Skype, or Teams. The advantages of this type of video interview are that the candidate and hiring manager can get to know each other in a more personal way. The hiring manager can ask follow up questions while the candidate can seek clarity on questions that they might not understand fully. According to a recent study by Forbes, both employers and employees are happy with the current virtual interview methods, but there are others who see room for improvement. So, to fairly assess this popular recruiting trend, let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages:

Pros of virtual interviews:

1. Saves time  

Virtual interviews can save precious time for both the hiring manager and the jobseeker. The employer can conduct many interviews remotely at their convenience to ensure they select the best candidates for the job. Jobseekers can often interview from their homes (multiple times) without having to take time out from their day traveling to and from a set interview location. For a pre-recorded video interview, time is well-spent for the employee or the employer as it is done on their own time at their convenience.

2. Faster hiring

According to a recent HR study, it takes 45 days on average to hire a new employee. The ability to select from a wider pool of candidates in a shorter time by screening them remotely is an advantage for the employer in today’s competitive restaurant and QSR hiring market. With both types of virtual interviews, hiring managers can access candidates on the spot and quickly select those they want to move on in the process. They can also share these interviews with team members faster, allowing access to others in the company who need to weigh in on the hiring process.

3. Interviews are monitored and recorded

Online interviews are often recorded. This means all questions asked during a virtual interview may be monitored and trackable by the hiring manager. This makes it easier to remember how well each candidate answered the questions rather than relying on random notes. It also levels the playing field in a one-way interview, as each candidate is given the same questions to answer for the open role.

4. Presents Positive Company Culture

In today’s competitive restaurant and QSR industry, talented candidates have more choices in where they want to work. For many, assessing company culture plays a vital part in their decision. A tech-savvy company with an opportunity to present its company mission in a virtual interview is more likely to appeal to a younger, more progressive pool of candidates. When a company strives to present its culture in the best light possible, it will attract the top talent they want.

Cons of virtual interviews:

1. Impersonal connections

Experts report that discerning non-verbal cues like body language and facial expressions during a virtual interview has its challenges. Establishing a personal connection with the candidate may be tougher due to a faulty internet connection or other internal distractions. Additionally, some candidates may not have access to reliable internet or the tech required to complete the interview. One-way interviews, in particular, perpetuate this lack of connection as the employer isn’t allowed the opportunity to interact, read cues and make a “live” impression of the employee and vice versa.

2. Struggles for non-native English speakers

In a one-way interview, pre-recording a video may be particularly hard for some candidates who are not speaking in their native language. Many worry that they could be penalized for mispronouncing words or not using proper grammar when answering the questions. Additionally, some say that video interviews introduce another element that can contribute to unconscious bias in hiring.

3. Employer can’t ask questions

When it comes to one-way interviews, it’s just that, one-sided. An employer may have trouble assessing a candidate’s fit for their company if they can’t ask pertinent follow-up questions and respond to their verbal and non-verbal cues. If recording a video seems like too much effort, a candidate may simply walk away from one opportunity and move on to the next. Some, though, see this as a positive way to “weed out” candidates who aren’t dedicated.  The ability to highlight a business’s benefits and culture in real-time is also important to attract top talent today; a one-way virtual interview does not allow for this.

4. Higher potential for ghosting  

Ghosting is happening more often in the hiring process. The loss of in-person connection is becoming a prime factor in ghosting. Because it can be hard to form a connection with someone virtually, it makes it easier for employees to ghost candidates and vice versa. The investment in traveling to a location and taking the time to meet is not there, so it may be easier to ghost when that person-to-person connection was never established. On the other hand, if a candidate does go through with the virtual interview, they are much more likely to show up to the in-person interview or first shift, so while ghosting may increase on the front end, it will be less on the back end.

Interviewing reimagined

If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it’s clear that the food services industry has undergone some significant challenges in the last few years. Whether it’s addressing staffing shortages, customer service issues or learning new technology, it’s all happening at a faster pace than expected. The virtual interview, once considered impersonal, is quickly becoming the preferred way to recruit top talent. Most industry experts agree it’s a trend that’s here to stay. To stay on top of hiring best practices and make sure your job posts are optimized to find the right candidates for your business, Wizehire has hiring coaches who help your business throughout the hiring process. We also provide pre-written job templates, an applicant tracking system, and DISC+ personality assessments for each candidate. See our pricing page to sign up for Wizehire today!


Susan Sherman

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