Interviews are nerve wracking tests of preparation, motivation, will and professional passion. Interviews provide the time and space for an employer and prospective employee to not only talk about an advertised role, and the responsibilities it holds, but the culture of work and growth strategies to aid a candidate on their career journey, and the employer back to stable post-COVID business ground.

The professional recruitment journey has changed a lot due to the pandemic, and parallels that of other industries. For example, the changes to in-office work, and the rise of hybrid models of remote working that have affected recruitment and HR.

Despite the disruption to working norms it should be said that good recruitment still effectively hinges on two things – trust, and relationship building. 

Both of these recruitment elements have, however, changed, especially in regard to how they are developed, moulded and sustained in the digital realm. 

The reliance now placed on digital tools to help maintain recruitment relationships has put a new sort of pressure on stakeholders in the recruitment industry.

For candidates currently seeking new employment, nothing has so perfectly personified this change to recruitment norms than the rise of virtual interviewing. 

For recruiters at the business end of the employment cycle, virtual interviews are both incredibly effective at creating equity of opportunity and speeding up the recruitment process. But they do add a veneer of distance between employer and employee – for all the wonders of improving latency, 5G and rapid connectivity, holding interviews via a screen somewhat dulls rapport building. This, then, is the conundrum at the core of interviewing via a screen – can you truly, effectively, communicate who you are

Nevertheless, for candidates seeking employment the approach to video interviewing has to be definitive – virtual interviews are still formal interviews. To forget this is to make a huge misjudgement. 

Note for all candidates – the fact you can hold an interview technically from anywhere, at any time, from any location, does not mean you should. The basics of interviewing still apply, merely the form has changed. 

You are still expected to be:

  • On time
  • Prepared
  • Well dressed
  • Free of distractions
  • Armed with questions
  • Polite and courteous 

To help prospective candidates on their way to nailing a video interview, I have made a helpful Virtual Interview Hit List: a set of video-specific tips you need to put in place pre-interview to guarantee smooth sailing. 

1) Dress to impress

Show up like you mean business! The screen may mean you can’t shake the hand of who is interviewing you, but you can still take the time to show you respect the process. 

Dressing appropriately shows you respect the interviewer despite the distance. Do not misinterpret “remote” – it doesn’t mean disregard the basics of interviewing. 

2) Check your tech

Your Zoom link may work now, but will it tomorrow? Is your laptop OS the most up to date possible? Same goes for your interview connectivity and laptop health – is everything charged and ready to go? Nothing is guaranteed. So make a backup plan!

The easiest way to do this is by downloading the appropriate video platform on your smartphone and using that as plan B. Test it. Then test it again. Even if the worst happens and both platforms fail, you know you’ve gone above and beyond to build a contingency plan.

3) Remove distractions

If you live in a shared house, make the effort to inform housemates/partner/spouse you’re stepping into an interview. They are equally as responsible as you for guaranteeing a smooth interview. Same goes with making sure pets are happy and quiet, or organising online deliveries for certain times – think ahead and try to mitigate any reason you’d have to leave the interview.

Another important distraction to consider is your phone. PUT IT ON SILENT!

4) Consider your background

As much as a characterful Zoom background has delighted video callers for the last 18 months, you have to set a particularly professional standard during an interview. It’s worthwhile making sure your background is neutral, and that there are no backlights such as bright open windows that could disrupt the light balance on your screen. 

Again, this more about showing deference to the situation – a video interview is still a window into your life, and you are expected to show personality in how you approach it, how you dress and how you “dress your set”, for want of a better phrase. 

But be careful about going overboard – if in doubt, keep it simple, clear, clean and professionally neutral.

If you are seeking any more tips and guidance please reach out to one of experienced career coaches for guidance.


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