Researchers Say Job Candidates Are Rated Lower In Virtual Interviews

According to CNBC, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused as many as 8 out of 10 recruiters to turn to videoconferencing to screen and interview job candidates. This conveys a shift in hiring practices that may continue long after the pandemic’s impact wears off. With this trend, employers and job applicants may wonder how interviews conducted through Zoom, or other video-mediated communication (VMC) platforms, hold up when compared to face-to-face sessions, says Dr. Denise Baker, who worked on the project with Dr. Devin Burns and Dr. Clair Kueny, all assistant professors of psychological science at Missouri S&T.

To address a gap in scientific literature on the impact of passive observation of real-time, video-based interviews versus passive face-to-face observation, the researchers created an experiment using a three-person interview paradigm. One member of the hiring committee asked the candidate questions in person, one member observed the interview in person without asking questions, and one member observed the interview through a video-mediated platform without asking questions.

The researchers analyzed 21 job interviews involving 84 participants. They measured the participants’ observations in three primary areas: impressions of the job applicants, such as likability, competence and hireability; perception of “agency” of the applicants, or the degree to which they were capable of emotion, planning and communication; and how much attention the participants paid to the applicants.


The results showed large differences, with video observers rating the applicant substantially worse across all measures. Differences could even be seen in the adjectives participants used to describe the applicant. Face-to-face passive participants chose words like “experienced” and “intelligent,” to describe the applicant, while VMC passive participants used “unprepared” and “unenthusiastic.”

“To avoid being unfairly biased in favor of in-person applicants, we recommend that all applicants are interviewed in the same manner,” says Kueny. “These days, that will probably mean all interviews through video conference.

“Our finding also has relevance for higher education where courses are offered as distance classes. The distance students may form more negative impressions of the instructor than the in-class students, for no other reason than the medium of communication.”

For students and others who are virtually interviewing for jobs, the researchers suggest that applicants make an effort to address all online observers participating the interviews to make more of a real-life connection with them and gain their attention.

“We’re not saying that Zoom interviews are bad,” says Burns. “What we’re saying is that you can’t fairly compare them with face-to-face sessions, and employers need to keep things standardized.”

The team plans to continue their research on virtual interviews by investigating other factors. “In future work, our team will look at how applicant ratings are influenced by additional variables like gender and interview quality,” says Baker. “Participants will wear mobile eye-tracking glasses to examine whether the visual cues people pay attention to differ between video-mediated and face-to-face observation.”


By Paula Spencer Scott

A growing chorus of doctors think we focus on health-related numbers that are outdated. Here are some things to let go of – and what to pay more attention to – for your body’s benefit.

Obsess Less: 10,000 Steps a Day. Counting steps can be fun, and the upside that you you’re apt to log an extra mile a day. But 10,000 isn’t a magic number, it caught on as a target thanks to a 1960’s Japanese pedometer, manpo-kei, which translates as “10,000 steps meter.” In fact, a 2020 Brigham Young University study found 10,000 steps a day didn’t help subjects lose weight compared to those walking half as much. A study of older women put the ideal max for longevity at 7,500 steps. Given that Americans take well under 5,000 steps a day (about 2 miles), doctors do urge more. The kicker though: Whether 5,000, or 10,000 or 20,000 steps, walking should be only part of a total fitness routine.

Focus More: Better than using your phone to count steps, use it to time how long you sweat. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes, 5 to 7 days a week, adding 30 more minutes each day is even better. Physical activity like walking shouldn’t be confused with exercise. You need both, along with less sitting. Set a timer to remind you to stand, stretch and move at least once an hour.


  • Glass takes one million years to decompose, which means it never wears out and can be recycled an infinite amount of times!
  • Gold is the only metal that doesn’t rust, even if it’s buried in the ground for thousands of years.
  • Your tongue is the only muscle in your body that is attached at only one end.
  • If you stop getting thirsty you need to drink more water. When a human body is dehydrated, its thirst mechanism shuts off.
  • Zero is the only number that cannot be represented by Roman numerals.
  • Kites were used in the American Civil War to deliver letters and newspapers.