Did you click because we put Graduate Recruitment in the heading or was it the Coronavirus? Whatever your reason, fact is we are dealing with a pandemic that continues to grip economies across the globe. Whereas the likes of Heinz and Dettol might be recording the highest level of sales – based on the empty shelves in my supermarket; the impact has largely been damaging and can be felt across many industries, job functions and academic institutions. We have all had to take more precautions and sacrifices than normal like self-isolation, social distancing and washing hands regularly (who wasn’t doing this already?).
For many students who were hoping to graduate this summer to embark on those careers they have worked so hard towards, it seems likely that all such celebrations will have to be curtailed. Does that mean graduate recruitment will also stop?
The answer is recruitment will be affected but it will not stop. Whereas some companies have subscribed to freeze any recruitment until there is clarity on the impact of the virus, others have continued to recruit in a bid to avoid the inevitable business slowdown. It is without doubt some industries are being hit more than others for example Travel. Flybe, a British airline that folded last week cited Coronavirus as the last straw in an already “difficult situation.” On the other hand, companies that recruit mainly through graduate schemes that provide clear career development paths, have seen a slight increase in applications. Express Solicitors as an example saw an increase in applications in February 2020 compared to February 2019.
To reduce the long-term impacts on business operations like recruitment, companies are turning to technology for business continuity. Government recommendations to contain the epidemic like social distancing and home working have caused many of us to consider alternatives like video interviews.
This is not new. In fact, in the 2008 Global Financial crisis, there was tremendous growth in the video interviewing technology market. Whilst video interviewing is being adopted in place of the traditional face to face meeting, there remains a small disconnect. For many of us used to the office interviews, we need to figure out effective ways to continue to convey our company values and benefits.
For the graduates pursuing that dream role, they might not be as invested in the process after all. That feeling of waiting at reception to be called in whilst you absorb the vibe of the office is undoubtedly diminished; imagining how you would fit in, assessing travel and parking plus the local Costa or Subway. Video interviewing simply cannot give you that intangible feeling you would normally get by visiting the office.
Here are some practical tips to adopt in your next video interview:
- Prepare for the interview as you would a face to face interview. This includes dressing appropriately. One of my first bosses always said, “if you look the part, you feel the part.” Don’t fall for the usual shirt tie with pyjama bottoms look.
- Avoid any distractions. Lock yourself somewhere quiet, don’t let the pooch in for company however much you’re nervous.
- Check your surroundings including lighting. You might prefer sitting in the dark but unfortunately your interviewer won’t be able to see you. Also make sure you face the light source as such your face will not be in the shadow. Make sure the background is appropriate.
- Somebody mentioned camera “angles,” apparently there’s an art to this to. Whatever it is, please make sure your interviewer’s view isn’t the insides of your nostrils. Popup your device on some old textbooks if you need to. Maintain eye contact by looking at the camera of your device, not yourself.
- Make sure your equipment is working. Have a practice run, preferably not by Face Timing your nan.
Lastly please let’s all keep safe. Wash your hands like your loved one has a peanut allergy. . . and you just ate peanuts!