The coronavirus pandemic may have brought much of normal life to a standstill in recent weeks (and for the foreseeable future), but the practice of filling the prospective candidate pipeline and hiring new employees continues for many businesses.

Digital interviews, enabled via video, had already been gaining traction even before the current crisis. Now, given the impact of the global pandemic, interviewing by Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or some other digital service promises to be even more applicable as social distancing becomes the new norm.

That said, communicating through a camera versus meeting face-to-face remains “new” for most of us, even as the success of current and future job searches becomes increasingly dependent on this skill. Even more daunting are the initial video screenings which require candidates to record themselves answering a series of questions and submit the recording to a hiring manager.

Perform poorly during that first on-camera or digital interview, and there will be NO second interview, whether it’s in-person or virtual.

Why Video Interviewing Is Most Important Now

One of the main benefits of video interviews in the current environment is that no one has to meet in-person—not you, not the hiring manager, nor anyone else along the way.

You’ll be keeping a safe distance, protecting yourself and others from exposure to COVID-19, and the process of interviewing and hiring will be permitted to continue. That’s a win-win for everyone.

Other Benefits of Video Interviews

There are other reasons video interviews have been gaining in popularity:

  • Video interviewing allows companies to cast a much wider net for applicants, reaching potential candidates who otherwise may have been eliminated purely based on geography and barriers to travel.
  • Companies that engage in video interviews appeal more to Millennials who expect their prospective employers to “keep up with the times” and use tools such as video conferencing or video chat, pandemic or no pandemic.
  • Video interviews also save on overall travel costs, which can be cost prohibitive during the recruiting process. You can only fly so many people in without busting the budget (and in the current environment travel to and from certain places might not be possible or advisable).
  • As a vetting tool, virtual interviews can screen out the “no thank yous” and narrow down the list of who warrants face-to-face interviews later in the process.
  • Trying to coordinate the schedules of interviewers and interviewees so they can meet in-person can be a nightmare, especially with travel involved. With video conferencing, all parties only need to block out enough time for the meeting itself, not the travel to and from. Plus, they can come together virtually, no matter where they are physically.

Common Sense Advice for Candidates

Even if you’re comfortable communicating by camera, there remain some basic “dos” and “don’ts” as to what is appropriate for a virtual interview. My best advice? Use common sense.

  • Eating a piece of pizza while Web chatting with a friend? Just fine.
  • Scarfing down leftover Chinese takeout while videoconferencing with the leadership team or a potential employer? Not so much.

The Bottom Line

By engaging in a video interview process during times of crisis like the one we now face, companies can continue to move forward to attract and hire talent necessary to remain successful. Similarly, video interviewing during more “normal” times can minimize the time to hire, allowing them to fill key positions quicker and potentially with better-quality candidates thanks to the deeper pool of applicants no longer limited by geography.

In the meantime . . . stay well.

Learn More: On-Camera Coach

If you found this information valuable, check out my book, On-Camera Coach: Tools and Techniques for Business Professionals in a Video-Driven World, now available from Wiley Publishing. On-Camera Coach aims to take the mystery out of communicating through the camera and provides specific tips and techniques that can make your message sing—and you, the messenger, feel confident in a job well done.