Online job interviews in the time of Covid-19 – 7 tips for candidates

What strange times. Along with the concerns for the health of ourselves, loved-ones, colleagues and humanity as whole, we have had to adapt our day-to-day lives. A new experience for many has been remote working and video conferencing, and this has affected the recruitment process too. How should candidates prepare for online job interviews?

Even though the daily news is grim, it is important that life continues. Most economists predict a quick recovery after a sharp slump, so businesses must be prepared for when the economy clicks into high gear again.

Recruitment continues, whether it is completing the process begun before the crisis, or candidates finding the time to look for a new challenge. For example, we at Redbridge Recruitment recently secured a placement even though the candidate and the client had never met in person, despite both being based in Luxembourg. This was a first for us. It was a thorough, three round interview process, with the candidate having a series of virtual meetings with the Luxembourg managing director, then directors in the London office, and then a final interview with future colleagues in the Luxembourg office.

So what are the main things that candidates should think about in these changed circumstances?

1)         Wear a suit. Yes you might feel more relaxed working from home, but a future employer will expect a professional approach.

2)         Ensure the background of your webcam shot is appropriate. A bookshelf looks good, but are you sure every book in your collection gives the best impression of your personality? Also ensure that you don’t have lamps or plants that look like they are sticking out of your head. You might want to play it safe and use a plain background.

3)         Ensure privacy. Tell your flatmates or family about your meeting, and impress on them your need for privacy and quiet. Lock the door if you can and hang a do-not-disturb sign on the handle. We all remember the TV interview when the foreign policy expert was interrupted by his little girl coming to say hello. You will want your interview to be remembered for the right reasons.

4)         Be inquisitive about your potential new working environment. You want to be sure that the new employer is right for you, and you can learn a lot from the layout of the offices. If possible, ask to be shown around via video link to see where you would be working. This is perhaps something to be requested towards the end of the recruitment process when both parties are close to making a decision.

5)         Consider transport links. As you wont have had to travel to the office you will be less aware of potential commuting hitches. What is public transport like? Is there parking? Is the company thinking of moving in the near future? It is easy to underestimate the impact on our well-being of the trip to work. So ask about this, use www.mobiliteit.lu to model the bus, tram or train journey, ask if there a Vel’oh station nearby, and maybe even use Google Earth to visualise the trip.

6)         Prepare yourself for this novel experience. Video calls have time delays, so take a breath before talking to avoid talking over the interviewer. Also experiment which where you put the video application window on your PC, tablet or phone to find the position you are most comfortable with. Ensure that this means you are looking straight at the camera and not askance. Maybe ask a friend to take you through a practice session.

7)         Stick to the basics. And of course don’t forget to read up about your new employer and have good questions to ask to show that you are keen to work for them. Also, have a pen, paper and a glass of water handy.

These are uncertain times, but many of our clients are still recruiting and searching for the best talent. If you would like to know more about preparing for the up-tick, please contact us at info@redbridgerecruitment.com or +352 2600 5128.