One common complain about online interviewing is that you lose the emotional content. You can’t look the person in the eye, see if they are nervous, angry, upset or embarrased. It’s true that there is a meta-communication that takes place in an interview that doesn’t happen in the same way online. Language can be revealing, but not as revealing as tears or a red face. So there is some loss, but is anything gained at the same time?
There are some obvious benefits. The person you are interviewing may be nervous, or overly concerned with their appearance, or diction and as a result you may lose a lot in the way of content. Let;s face it, most people are not that comfortable with people they just met and have a dozen things on their mind to do with looking good rather than answering your questions. This does not really reflect who they are so much as it reflects how media savvy they are. The online interview does not get rid of this entirely, but it certainly puts them at much greater ease.
People are less likely to reveal certain personal details when someone is looking them in the eye. The less personal online medium can help to get interviewees to reveal more about themselves. That’s one of the reasons it can be so good for online dating.
Do you really know what they are thinking? The red face – what does it mean? Are they embarassed? Are they angry? Do they just have high blood pressure? Maybe it’s hot in the room? The assumptions that get made about meta-communication can be as wrong as they are right and interviewees are often appalled at how wrong interviewers get it.
So try it online and see how it goes.