We are living in very difficult times. Covid 19 has changed life as we know it, pretty much overnight. We all need to do what needs to be done – maintain our social distance, only go out for essentials, work from home, if you can. But what does all this mean for the recruitment process? Over the last few days our recruitment team has been inundated with calls and messages from candidates and hiring managers concerned about the implications of the current lock down on their recruitment plans. One thing is certain, face to face interviews are being put on hold and we are in a time when the video interview will come to the fore.

Looking on the bright side, we are fortunate that we live in a digital age. In the desperate circumstances the world is finding itself in, communication will not be hampered by the physical restrictions placed upon us. Telephone, Email, WhatsApp, Skype, FaceTime, GoToMeeting… there are so many ways for us to stay in touch… and so many ways to conduct an interview.

It is likely that the hiring process will slow down, and companies may take longer to make you an offer. Not only because the current level of global uncertainty may make some companies postpone the final decision, but we know that most senior-level positions are unlikely to be filled through video interviews alone.

While no one wants to take part in prolonged hiring processes, you need to remember that we’re currently dealing with unprecedented circumstances. If you want to land your dream job, you’ll need to continue engaging with these processes — no matter how long it takes — to be considered for roles. To help give you the best chance possible of securing that dream role, it’s important to be adept at video interviews, so read on to get our top tips to help you ace a video interview.

Do your research

Just like a face-to-face or telephone interview, do your homework. The key is to do as much work and research ahead of an interview as possible. Make notes on the company, research potential questions and, if you can, research your interviewer. In our experience, video interviews tend to contain less small talk and be shorter than in-person meetings. So, it even more important that you make an effort to form a bond with the person on the other side of the screen. It’s a good idea to look for things to talk about on the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile, for example. Or, you can mention something they said on a podcast, twitter or elsewhere.

Prepare your space 

Unlike in-person or telephone interviews, those done by video often open a window into your personal life and you shouldn’t let recruiters or hiring managers see a messy environment filled with mountains of papers or crooked picture frames! Keep the background neutral and make sure you are the focus on the interviewer’s attention. If possible, set up the camera in front of a blank wall and sit close to the camera, so the interviewer sees just your head and shoulders.

Find a good camera angle. Place the webcam at the same height as the top of your head and point it slightly downward, which is generally the most flattering angle. (It will force you to sit up straight, which is also important). Use a good-quality microphone so your interviewer can hear you and beware of noises in the room in addition to your voice which a microphone will pick up. Don’t shuffle papers, tap your foot or move things around and make sure you organise to keep pets and children out of earshot!

Prepare yourself

In advance of the video interview day, make sure you spend time rehearsing in front of the camera. Use Skype, Google+ Hangout or a similar tool and ask a friend to give you a mock interview so you can practice answering questions. It can be really useful to record the interview and then review it, looking closely at your body language, posture, articulation, the physical environment and, of course, your responses.

Make sure you are well rested, sharp and interview ready. Choose your outfit carefully for the day to ensure that you look professional – business casual dress in neutral colours works best for a video interview, so you and what you say are the focus and not your possibly eclectic dress sense!

Although it won’t be quite as easy to have all your talking points laid out as it might be in a phone interview, you can have some notes in front of you or around your workspace. Also, if you have dual monitors, you can have one for the interview and one for your notes. Just be careful to make the conversation natural and don’t give the interviewer the impression that you are reading from a script – keep notes nearby for an occasional glance, but they should be there mostly to give you confidence and kept out of the sight of the camera.

During the interview

Make eye contact and smile. Look at the interviewer, not off into space or down at your notes. Lean forward slightly to show you’re engaged and actively listening.

Don’t do anything else while interviewing – a video interview is not the time to be checking Facebook or email! Quit out of distracting applications, turn off notifications and the ringer on your phone, so you can give the interviewer 100% of your attention.

It is a good idea to ask for specific information about the company’s hiring timeline during the interview and to ask whether the position will be remote until the pandemic is over and how the onboarding process will proceed if the company continues to work remotely for a month or two. These are exceptional times and while not all positions may be able to work from home, it’s important to understand the procedures the company has in place to protect its team and how these may affect your new role in the company.

It’s also important during a video interview to tell the recruiter or hiring manager how interested you are in the opportunity. You should thank the person for their time, tell them how impressed you are with the team and say how honoured you are to be considered for the position.

Once you’ve done all the prep work you can it’s time to open up your laptop, answer the call and repeat after us: “Yes I can.”

Good luck!