How to interview during a pandemic?

  • Posted by Ed Ewer
  • Posted December 21, 2020
  • Categories Blog

What a crazy, strange world we currently live in……… We can’t really travel, we cant leave the house for exercise or unless we can’t work from home and we cant shop for anything but essentials (but coffee is essential right?)

So how on earth are hirers meant to hire and jobseekers meant to secure a new job during a global pandemic? The following article may help from both candidate and client perspectives..

Many employers have continued to employ through the past 11 months, but interviewing has changed dramatically. The face to face interview, in the UK at least in near on extinct, with the world turning to Zoom, Teams or Skype in order for employer and employee to meet. The more ‘traditional’ among us will see the digitalisation of the interview process as informal. No handshake or staring someone in the eye to make that first impression. No longer can you see if a candidate has polished their shoes or brought a notepad to take notes during your chat. Here are a couple of tips as to how you can get the most from video interviews.

  • Present yourself correctly – Regardless of where the interview is taking place, how you present yourself is key to both parties. Dress as if you were formally meeting at an office. Neat attire, tidy hair and a smile are imperative to make a good impression. Yes people think its funny, but dont only dress properly on your top half. You never know when you may need to stand up!!! Along the same vein, make sure your interview location is well lit and your background is fairly
  • Social Media is your friend – Our lives, like it or not, are broadcast on social media From your latest banana bread creation through to someone snapping your secretive new build yacht over a fence, nothing is secret any more. And hiring managers as well as jobseekers should be using this ease of information access to their advantage. Research each other, understand the character on the other end of the screen. Learn of latest projects, recent news stories and go prepared to ask questions. I think more than ever, the big question should be about the future outlook for the company.
  • Set Tasks – Whilst the age old ‘sell me this pen’ question is a regular during interviews, there are now a host of tools we can use to set tasks in advance of an interview in order to get the most of out both sides. Tools such as Odro are great for video presentation tasks that can be pre-recorded. Its now easy to generate and send out questionnaires to gauge character traits too, the same going for PPA testing (becoming more and more prevalent in 2020/21)
  • Don’t force the face to face – It’s clear that not everyone likes digital interviewing, but the worst thing either side can do is try to force a face to face meeting. For all you know, the other party could have lost a loved one due to COVID or be nervous about catching it, and this could break any initial level of trust between both parties. Interestingly however, through our own research, there is a near 50:50 split on feelings towards face to face interviewing right now. Some feel it an essential part of the process and a justifiable ‘essential journey’ whilst others will confidently employ without ever physically meeting an applicant.
  • Dont draw out the process – Now more than ever, we shouldn’t look to draw out the process. From previous experience, clients have delayed decision by up to 8 weeks! With people spending more time at home, particularly following redundancy, minds wander and doubt creeps in. This goes for both sides though. As a jobseeker, dont leave it a week to accept an interview or an offer. As an employer, dont wait two weeks in the hope someone better comes along. As its highly likely one party will be more proactive than the other and the process falls apart. We all have more time on our hands……but dont waste it!!!

So there you have it. A short whistlestop tour of tips to get you through the interview process in a pandemic!!

Of course, it would be lapse of me to not give SYR a short plug in all this too. With 7 years experience in managing the interview process, we’ve seen it all and as such, are well placed to advise candidate and client on the best course of action to take, be it for a role we’re working on with you, or simply as impartial advice. Dont hesitate to drop us a line!

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