If you own a laptop, you’ve probably had at least one personal or professional conversation via webcam before. Software like Skype or Apple’s FaceTime, both of which let people video-chat over the internet with the use of cameras are part of technology referred to as video-telephony. Odd as the word itself sounds, video-telephony software is revolutionizing how we communicate. Not only are calls to relatives suddenly more than a voice over the phone lines (or via cell phone towers), they’re visual visits! And the same goes for the office too. In fact, video-conferencing is all the rage.

But what about interviews? One thing that many hiring managers do on a regular basis when looking to hire graduates or set up internships is conduct phone interviews with potential employees. This first step before an in-person interview could often just as easily be conducted via Skype, FaceTime or another video-telephony media – but what are the advantages and disadvantages therein?

Pros
There are a few pros to being able to see the candidate you’re interviewing, but one of the most important is gauging body language. Essentially, all the small and nuanced things you’d normally be able to pick up on in an in-person interview you’ll get a preview of here. It’s potentially also advantageous to see your interviewees surroundings. Are they in a clean and well-kept space? Do they seem like an orderly person? Did they decide to have the interview at a local coffee shop? These can all provide clues to character.

Cons
Frankly, there’s two significant cons to interviewing via video-telephony media. First, there’s no guarantee the candidate has a webcam or the required software. Second, appearing on camera can make interviewees nervous – and the last thing you want to do is jeopardize a good interview because of nerves!