Videoconferencing is set for take off in the world of job interviewing.
Videoconferencing systems now cost as little as $10,000, a sixth the price of a few years ago, and improvements in technology mean overseas interviewees can be spared long flights for interviews. Electrical fittings company PDL Holdings was recently fitted out with videoconferencing equipment in its Christchurch, Auckland, Napier, Melbourne and Adelaide offices. The company says these have slashed travel expenses by $7500 a month, with fewer staff having to cross the Tasman. It also uses videoconferencing for job interviews. "When you talk on the telephone or fax or send an email it can be more difficult to interpret people correctly," says PDL IT group manager John Shaw. "There is a far better level of personal interaction during a videoconference, and we don't experience the same problem with people talking over each other that often happens during telephone conferencing." Napier-based Link Technologies, a reseller for US-based Polycom videoconferencing systems, installed the equipment for PDL. Other recent customers include Fastway Couriers of Napier, who had systems fitted in their Sydney and UK operations. Link general manager Adriaan Vermunt says health funding authorities, Lion Breweries and many of New Zealand's top firms use video conferencing. His firm also offers facilities for hire. "Videoconferencing has been around for a number of years and is improving in quality and price. The entry price was $60,000 but with it dropping to $10,000, the spread is going to be broader. "People are coming from the East Coast and Gisborne to use our facilities for interviews,” he says. The rental works out at $240 plus the primary rate ISDN line - about the same price as a toll call, he says. "I would imagine that over the next year people will be using videoconferencing facilities pretty much like fax machines and email," Vermunt says. Candle IT&T contracts manager Christine Fitchew says videoconferencing is all the rage, particularly for bringing people from overseas. "It's all part of globalisation.” Enterprise IT recruiter Alan Diepraam says there is definitely a demand for videoconferencing for interviews. One of his international clients uses it for job interviews, while having face-to-face meetings as well. "That's the way things will go, especially with the price of fuel going up," he says. Increasing use of the Internet and Web cameras, coupled with telephony software, are likely to make videoconferencing more popular. "There's no reason why you cannot conduct a videoconference over the Net," Diepraam says.