Telepresence

I spent a big chunk of yesterday (and will be spending a similar chunk of today) conducting a series of interviews via video conferencing, and I’m having one of those, “well, duh” moments: video interviews are different from phone interviews, because you can see the subject. And she can see you.

Despite how much of a tech-junkie I am, I’ve resisted video interviews until now, partially because of the many glitches I encountered in my few previous attempts to use the form, and partially because of my own overdeveloped self-consciousness (for a deeper understanding of the functioning of which one might see the ‘why the videophone failed’ section of Infinite Jest). And for both of those reasons, I’m stunned by how well yesterday went — I feel as though I have a much better sense of the folks I was talking to than I would have gotten otherwise.

The technology is still imperfect, and I wouldn’t exactly call it the next best thing to being there, but it’s better than I expected, and it’s better than the phone.

One thought on “Telepresence

  1. I’m a big fan of the video conference — soooo much better than phone interviews. But everyone needs to be alert, as you imply… Years ago, at Plutocratic U., a program director and I hired an associate director over the summer, via video conference. I kept a close eye on the picture-in-picture so I could judge how I was coming across, but the program director didn’t — she made all sorts of faces when she heard answers she didn’t like, etc. Which just made the candidates collapse, except for the one who was strong enough to stand up to her (and whom we hired, of course). That was a memorable lesson in communication for me.

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