The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted the way we carry out our professional lives in many ways; from switching those early morning commutes for home workouts (or perhaps an extra half hour in bed), to virtual meetings with colleagues and clients becoming the new norm.

Now halfway through the second UK lockdown, it’s looking likely that this way of working is set to stick around for at least a while longer. Many even predict that Covid-19 has altered the way of working forever, expecting flexible working arrangements to become the norm rather than simply just a trend.

As well as impacting our current roles, the pandemic has also altered how job seekers apply for new vacancies. Due to safety restrictions, Covid-19 has forced recruiters and managers to move their hiring processes online. This has meant switching in-person interviews to video interviews carried out through popular platforms such as Skype, Zoom, and Google Meet.

While the substance of these interviews is ultimately the same, there is no doubt that video interviews differ from the in-person meeting that we have become so accustomed to as a population. For interviewees wanting nothing more than to impress and stand out in what is currently an incredibly competitive market, the thought of a video interview can appear daunting.

But do not fret: HdE Talent’s Managing Director, Scott Murphy, has compiled a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” when it comes to preparing yourself for a video interview.

The “Do’s” of video interviews

DO practice your body language

Just like you would during an in-person interview, it’s important you demonstrate that you’re actively interested and engaged with the conversation throughout. Of course, this is far more challenging through a screen, but there are many subtle things you can do to demonstrate your engagement and enthusiasm. For instance, you may want to ensure your hands are in view to show openness, smile regularly, and show interest through nodding when the interviewer is speaking. 

It’s really easy to unintentionally interrupt someone during a video meeting due to slow connectivity. To best avoid this, give clear signals when you have finished speaking so your interviewer understands when to take their turn to speak. You could do this by marking a decent pause, a nod and a smile, or perhaps saying something like “I hope that has answered your question?”.

DO dress professionally

Okay, so I’m sure we can all raise our hand and admit to working in our ‘loungewear’ attire at least once in the last few months… but when it comes to your video interview, you really must dress to impress – just as you would to an in-person interview. Not only does this portray a more professional appearance to the interviewee, but it will also make you feel much more in the zone and ready to make an impression.

DO prepare

As with every interview, it’s so important that you do your research. Spend time exploring the company’s website and learning its core values. Ensure you understand clearly what the hiring manager has shared in advance regarding the role, and be ready and confident enough to explain why you are the best person for the vacancy – and not the 20 people before you.

Like you would for an in-person interview, make notes and study them beforehand. Rehearse your answers and be ready to parade your fantastic talents and abilities. While you will have access to the internet and your laptop during a video interview, do not be tempted to Google questions you’re not sure of during the interview. This will only be distracting and make you look unprepared. Print off your notes, get comfortable with them and just be yourself.

The “don’ts” of video interviews

DON’T forget to check all your equipment in advance. 

If you’ve been working from home through lockdown, you’ve probably become very accustomed to the many mishaps of video technology. “Janet, you’re on mute again. Please could you repeat that?” “Steve, your frozen face is starting to frighten us… do you mind refreshing your connection?”. “As interesting as that point sounded, Ben, I’m afraid none of us can actually see the graph that you’re referring to? Are you sure you pressed share?”

Somewhat relatable? With colleagues, these kinds of issues can be laughed off and overcome with no bother. But during interviews, this could be really distracting for interviewers, it could ruin your flow of conversation, and it could truly eat into your allocated time slot.

To avoid any mishaps, be sure to do a trial run beforehand. Fully charge your laptop and check your camera, speakers and microphone are all ready to go. If you’re not familiar with the video communication platform planned for the interview, be sure to make yourself comfortable with all the functions just to be sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.

DON’T overlook your background or setting

Before the interview, set up your laptop camera to check your surrounding setting. You want to make sure that everything is tidy and there’s not too much clutter. If you have pets or children, try to keep them nice and entertained so you are free to give all your time and attention to the interviewee. You need to be the sole focus of the interview, and so it’s important that you don’t allow yourself or your interviewer to become distracted by your environment.

DO remember this isn’t a normal situation

Let’s end this with a nice and positive ‘do’. The most important thing is to remember with all this is that we’re in the midst of a pandemic, and you’ll be surprised at how understanding hiring managers and recruiters will be when carrying out video interviews. They’ll most definitely take into consideration that video interviews aren’t natural for many, and so, try not to let the situation overwhelm you. Try your best to follow the above guidance, but above all, be yourself. Only then will you ensure your accomplishments and desirability as a candidate can shine through.

Need more advice on interviewing? Reach out to our dedicated team of expert digi-tech recruitment specialists today.