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Recruiting Myths: Jessica Alcock on Video Interviews

Summit Search Group

Jessica Alcock

Recruitment Manager

Jessica Alcock

Recruitment Manager

“You’ve probably heard that video interviews and remote hiring are just trends. You’ve also probably heard that they’re the future of recruitment,” Jessica Alcock begins. “They’re both myths: the future of hiring, just like the future of work, is hybrid.”

Jessica opens our conversation on video technology with a few easy answers: yes, a video interview is a real interview and no, you should not take any interview in your car. But the nuanced etiquette of remote hiring is still complex in many ways – partially because it’s still evolving.

“Video interviews were never really a thing before the pandemic: they were a worst case solution for recruiters. At first, when this became the only option, people were scrambling – it was the only way to move hiring forward in many cases. Now that people are shifting back to the office, we’re seeing this as a blend in most processes. While a first touchpoint may be on video, the process may ultimately end in person.”

Jessica sat down with us to unpack both truths and untruths around one of the newest elements of today’s recruiting process: video technology and the etiquette of remote hiring.

Video interviews and ongoing recruiting relevance

“In some cases, depending upon a role, interviews can still be all in-person or all virtual,” Jessica explains. “We’re seeing companies integrating video interviews into their processes as a first step, and saving the on-site elements later in the process.”

Just like in a traditional interview, Jessica cautions candidates to be attentive to their etiquette. Here are her tips for approaching your next video meeting with the right perspective.

  • DON’T be late – even if it’s because of technical issues. Lateness is lateness. She advises her candidates to test meeting links in advance, check for program updates to their software, and confirm all necessary downloads. She even recommends joining the call five to ten minutes ahead, just to be sure you arrive promptly.
  • DO mind your background. On site, the setting is the client’s responsibility. On video, the candidate is also responsible. Choose an organized, clean, quiet space. Don’t be afraid to blur the background if you need to!
  • DON’T interview from your car, ever.
  • DO dress to impress. This is still a first impression!

“Remember, during an interview in person, it is so much easier to read body language and get a sense for whether or not you have fully answered a question,” Jessica adds. “Interviewers in the same room will often put their pen down, or sit back in their chair, when they’ve heard what they needed. You may not pick up on these cues in a virtual interview, so keep all of your answers clear, concise and to the point.”

Understanding on-screen professionalism in hiring

Jessica emphasizes that the key to on-screen professionalism lies in balancing your presentation, your personality, and your environment.

“Your neat appearance, promptness, and attention to technology all make it clear that you’re focused on presenting yourself in a polished and serious way,” she says. “But don’t forget that it can be more difficult to convey your uniqueness digitally, too. Don’t be afraid to be yourself!”

One of the most common myths Jessica has encountered is that it’s essential to be available for a video interview whenever possible – and that availability overrides the value of communicating with the right environment.

“In a video interview, your space impacts your professionalism. Messy environments are distracting, as are poor connections. We always recommend taking the call in a neutral environment,” she notes. “A hiring manager’s expectations on a video interview are the same as they would be face-to-face.”

Preparing for a video interview

Jessica points out that one of the hardest elements of planning your interview lies in the inevitable distractions. “Sometimes it can be hard when you’re at home with children, pets, and even partners working from the same space,” she details. “Planning ahead to give yourself the time and space you need is always important.”

She also reminds us that, at the end of the day, video interviews are still real conversations with real people. “Honestly, prepare for these interviews just as you would for an in-person interview. Know that the people on the other side are only human, too – we all know how to juggle our time. If you’re interrupted by your kids during the call, people do have more of an understanding of this stuff than they once did. But take their time as seriously as they take yours, and always make sure to send a thank-you note afterward, too!”

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