Social media, virtual meetings help firms enter markets and save capital

For some companies, Twitter has replaced recruiters, and video conferencing is used to conduct interviews

By , IDG News Service |  IT Management

To chat with potential customers and employees in remote destinations, Nimbula turns to Skype and Cisco System's WebEx program for Web conferencing. For prospective clients, this allows real-time demonstrations without expensive travel. For potential hires, virtual meetings allow them to show more of their personality and communication skills than a phone call would permit, said Malekzadeh, adding that interviewees appear more focused during video sessions.

"Twitter doesn't just necessarily bring you the best candidate," Malekzadeh said. "More talent is presented through shared video conferencing."

And the interviewees don't mind appearing in front of a camera, he said.

"We've never had anyone say we don't want to talk with you because it's video conferencing."

In some cases, though, traveling on Nimbula's part is required, said Malekzadeh. The size of the customer and certain sales may require a trip as does participating in a conference, he said.

IT services and consulting company Intelligent Technologies Labs , in Alexandria, Virginia, also turned to virtual meetings to interview staff for its Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, office.

The company, founded in 2002, looked to expand its business from U.S. government contracts a few years ago after the economic crisis, said CEO Mohamed Abuagla. Growing up in Saudi Arabia gave Abuagla business connections in that market, and Intelligent established an office there last year, he said.

Abuagla uses video conferencing interviews as alternatives to "passive" email interviews and the costly and time-consuming option of flying candidates from Saudi Arabia, where the company began doing business a few years ago, to the U.S. Hiring local staff played a key component in the company's business plan since it needed staff who understood the country's culture.

Trading emails and phone calls "doesn't totally give you experience that you want. You don't get to see who is talking, or get to feel out the body language," he said.

With the company looking to fill some positions that require direct client interaction, a professional appearance and demeanor are required. The company needed an interviewing process that allowed hiring managers to see and interact with interviewees, according to Abuagla.

Video conferencing adds visual and nonverbal communication components to the interview, allowing candidates "to articulate and use gestures to communicate," he said.

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