When the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center recently conducted upper-level job interviews, it turned to webcams rather than phone calls.
The health care giant joined a growing list of companies using programs that allow users to make telephone and video calls online to conduct interviews.
UPMC opted for the free online service Skype, which has been available since 2003.
"We see a ton of value in it," said Matt Rimer, director of talent acquisition for UPMC. "I, personally, have done a few Skype interviews here recently. I've found them to be very productive interactions with the candidates."
While some businesses might experiment first with Skype because it's free, companies that specialize in video call programs such as HireVue and GreenJobInterview.com are "growing exponentially," said Elaine Orler, president of Talent Function Group, a San Diego-based management consulting firm.
"Each of them are probably adding anywhere from 10 to 50 new customers a month on trials," she said.
Rimer said the savings of using Skype could be "substantial."
"If we needed to bring somebody in to interview face to face, which obviously is the richest type of interaction we can have with an individual, you have to think about what it takes logistically to get a person here," he said. "If we're flying someone in from West Coast or the Midwest, you're looking at a round-trip airfare, you're looking at potentially some lodging, then you're also investing a substantial amount of our managers' and supervisors' and leaders' time in interviewing someone. …