Interviewing During A Pandemic

Interviewing During A Pandemic

Since it appeared in Wuhan, China, the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has dominated headlines across the glove as the number of cases has expanded. In more recent weeks countries outside of China have seen the outbreak worsen.

Due to continued uncertainty about its impact and progression, companies around the world are taking measures to reduce face-to-face gathering. A growing number of companies are switching to fully remote operations for their employees, so where does that leave the hiring process?

Same place as their day-to-day operations: online. One of the first things we are noticing here at ShapeIT is that companies are swapping to video interviewing. While in essence the process is the same as a face-to-face interview, we are aware that candidates will notice a difference in the process and find it a bit more challenging.

Many companies tend to have a quick interview process, however now that we are faced with a pandemic this may go on the back burner. The process from initial interview to job offer will most likely take a lot longer.

This can be due to a number reason, but one of the main issues when marrying working remotely and interviewing is getting everyone that has a say on the hiring process on the same page. It isn’t in anyone’s interest to prolong the process, however due to never before seen conditions it may be the case. Therefore, it’s important to remember that the process is one of engagement, even more so than before.

Another aspect to remember is that video interviews lift the lid and offer a small glimpse into your personal life. Therefore it should go without saying that a messy space is absolutely ill-advised. Your safest bet is setting up your video interview area somewhere that’s tidy, where there’s good lighting, and that has a neutral background.

One of the perks of conducting an interview via video is that you could place notes all around you and the interviewer wouldn’t really be aware. Whether you stick them on a wall behind the monitor or even on the table next to you, you will be aided in a way that wouldn’t happen if the interview were face-to-face. We won’t tell if you don’t!

Something that can be awkward for a lot of people is talking to a camera. That’s why if you can practice talking to it that would be fantastic. Stick something near the camera lens so that can be your focus during the interview. That way you’re not looking down or to the side when talking to your interviewer and it gives the illusion of maintaining eye contact which is always highly important during an interview.

Another key aspect in terms of preparation is to not slack off on researching your interviewer and the company you’re interviewing for just because it isn’t a face-to-face interview. You should do just as much research as you would normally and try to find conversation topics to create rapport with your interviewers.

Because it’s a video interview, small talk will probably not be as prevalent as these sort of interviewing formats tend to last far less than face-to-face meetings. Forming a bond with the person interviewing you is always important and even more so when your interviewer is on the other side of the screen. You can have a look at your interviewer’s LinkedIn profile and see if there’s any bits of information there you can use as conversation points.

The sort of questions you would expect to be asked in a face-to-face interview setting will be the same during a video interview. However due to circumstances it would be a great opportunity to ask about their plans on moving forward with the position and how the role is to go forward while the pandemic blows over. It’s the right time to find out if you’ll be working remotely and how thing will progress in light of the circumstances.

As with any other interview it’s also highly important you let your interviewers know how interested you are in the role, thank them for their time, and to let them know exactly which aspects of the job/team have impressed you. It’s important to drive home how much you really want the role.

While these tips are sure to perhaps ease your nerves about video interviewing, or at least give you a clearer overview of how it’ll work, you need to be ready for uncharted territories in the upcoming weeks. With more and more businesses working from home we all need to be aware that life can sometimes be unexpected, so much like that legendary BBC interview children or pets can sometimes interfere with a video interview. So regardless of what side of the screen you’re sitting on, a little bit of grace and good humour won’t hurt! Most importantly however, stay safe everyone!


If you're looking for a new position or a new role we can help! Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help you in these times. As you can imagine we are not working in the office either, so if you do want to get in touch drop us an e-mail at sally@shapeitrecruitment.co.uk and we'll be sure to help in any way we can!

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