These are crazy times we find ourselves in and there is a lot of uncertainty in the tech sector in NI. Many companies have understandably hit the “pause button” on recruitment yet it is heartening to see that some companies are willing and able to forge ahead with growing their teams in the face of such adversity.
When it comes to recruitment, one thing certain for now is that this “new normal” is going to feature A LOT of video interviewing. Whether it’s MS Teams, Zoom or WebEx, overnight it has become the cornerstone of the candidate experience so here at Enso Recruitment, we wanted to provide some guidance, advice and insight to help candidates to perfect their approach to effective video interviewing.
The Not-So-New Normal
An obvious starting point for this blog is that of course that the art of the video interview is nothing new. Video has been a key part of many companies’ recruitment processes for years, particularly with multi-national firms spread across a large number of regions.
Here in NI though it’s a fairly safe bet that a video interview, until recently would have been at best, a small part of the recruitment process rather than accounting for the entire candidate experience. But then came our friend COVID-19 and the whole world changed.
Where video interviewing is concerned, if you get the basics right it’s not going to be any more challenging than a face-to face interview and some may even prefer the additional layer of distance that the screen can provide!
So without further ado, here’s our advice on all things video interview…
Practice makes perfect so whichever platform you or the company are opting to use, make sure you take a few practice runs first to make sure your hardware is working well. Think about your WiFi, volume levels and lighting – first impressions count so this is your chance to remove any need for awkward adjustments or apologies at the start of the call to ensure you are at your pitch perfect best.
I’m Ready for My Close-up
Set up the call in an uncluttered, tidy area of your home. Avoid strong lighting behind you or you will risk looking like a silhouetted super villain. Nobody is expecting a full professional make up job and there is no need to smear the camera lens with Vaseline. Be yourself and present yourself as tidy and professional. As a rule of thumb is probably best to wear what you would normally wear in a face-to-face interview. It might seem hilarious to wear a nice crisp shirt whilst cheekily having your PJ bottoms on under the table but you are running the risk of exposure should you have to suddenly get up for the dog barking at the postman, the smoke alarm going off, spilling a glass of water over yourself – who knows what could happen given the year we are having! Play it safe, people!
(Even more) Self-Isolation
We all know the video, the little girl walking in on her Dad while he was appearing via video live on BBC news (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh4f9AYRCZY). While it was hilarious, at interview you don’t want to be that guy! Take the interview seriously – remove any background noise, make sure someone is supervising the kids, tell your housemates not to bother you, tell your mum not to shout up if you want a cup of tea, whatever you need to do to ensure that your call goes through without a hitch.
Don’t Forget the Basics
Just because this is a video interview does not mean that the interview etiquette basics go out the window. In terms of eye contact and body language it is quite the opposite. Remember to smile and give a positive and upbeat impression of yourself. Don’t look at the persons eyes onscreen – look into the camera when possible. Try to keep fidgeting to a minimum as it can often look even worse when on camera. Sit straight and make sure you are comfortable and composed. Try not to gesticulate too wildly as it can be off-putting.
A video interview gives you the opportunity to have not only your CV in front of you – as a print-out or on a second screen, whatever your set-up is. But you will also have some scope to keep a few ‘cheat sheets’ to mind as well. Now this will only work if you use them wisely and don’t get overly preoccupied or distracted. But some pointers to remind you about excellent examples of projects you have worked on, tasks completed, facts and figures on a few post-its or highlighted on note paper could prove to be worth their weight in gold.
At Enso Recruitment, we recognise this is a difficult time for all in the NI Tech Sector so if anyone wants to have a chat for some further advice about effective video interviewing, get in touch. We are here to help.