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Preparing to interview for your dream job? Better go in person

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WASHINGTON (July 25, 2016)–A new study examining the effects of technology-mediated interviews found in-person interviews yielded better impressions for the company and the candidate. The paper, "Technology in the Employment Interview: A Meta-Analysis and Future Research Agenda," published today in the journal Personnel Assessment and Decisions.

"We live in a world where we increasingly rely on technology, but this study reminds us that personal interactions should never be underestimated," said author Nikki Blacksmith, a doctoral candidate at the George Washington University'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."

To compare the effectiveness of in-person and technology-mediated interviews, Ms. Blacksmith and her co-authors examined 12 articles published from 2000-2007 that included interviewer and interviewee ratings, that is, assessment of how the company and the candidate performed during the interview. In order for the article to be considered, it needed to include both in-person and technology-mediated interactions.

Ms. Blacksmith found that, overall, technology-mediated interviews resulted in lower ratings for both the company and the candidate. Within that category, video interviews received the most negative rankings, followed by telephone and computer interviews. Face-to-face interviews received more favorable rankings.

Additionally, the study looked at the effect of time on the ratings, assuming that as people became more accustomed to the technology and it improved or advanced, they would rate it higher. In fact, the opposite occurred, and ratings became more negative for more recent studies.

"Considering the rate at which technology has changed, it is clear that we lack understanding of the modern interview," Ms. Blacksmith said in the paper.

While these results are important to note, Ms. Blacksmith also notes that the study has certain limitations. The paper evaluated a relatively small number of studies and the most recent article was published seven years ago.

In addition to Ms. Blacksmith, Jon Willford and Tara Behrend, also of GW, co-authored the paper.

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Emily Grebenstein
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