Americans have unsurprisingly embraced remote work in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of U.S. workers have enjoyed the pandemic-era health precaution of remote or hybrid work that has, to a large degree, morphed into an employee expectation.
It’s perhaps surprising, then, that recent survey data collected by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Staffing Association (ASA) finds that when it comes to interviewing for a job, U.S. jobseekers actually prefer being in person.
In-Person Interviews Preferred
The survey was conducted online in the United States from October 27–31, 2022, among a total of 2,019 U.S. adults aged 18 and older; 1,140 of these respondents were employed. The results showed that 70% of respondents preferred in-person interviews to all other methods. Seventeen percent preferred video calls, 9% audio-only calls, and 4% something else.
Demographic differences seemed to correlate with respondent preferences. As readers may have suspected, Generation Z and millennial respondents were more likely than Generation X and baby boomer respondents to prefer video calls. But the differences weren’t as large as you might have guessed.
While just 12% of baby boomers said they preferred video calls, that proportion grew to 18% among Generation X respondents and 23% among millennials and went down a bit to 21% among Gen Z. Seventy-nine percent of boomers preferred in-person interviews compared with 63% for both Gen Z and millennials.
Race and ethnicity also correlated with interview preferences, with white respondents preferring in-person interviews at a rate of 74% compared with 65% for black respondents and 67% for Hispanic respondents.
Takeaways for Recruiters
This data has some important takeaways for recruiters and HR professionals in a climate of high labor demand.
Just because workers tend to prefer the ability to work remotely doesn’t mean they see zero value in in-person interaction. That can be particularly true during the interview process, when candidates get a chance to get to know their potential employers and managers for the first time.
This study suggests that businesses should do what they can to accommodate the desire for in-person interviews, even if positions will be fully remote. First impressions make a difference.
Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.