New job in lockdown: What I learned about video interviews


Since it’s my job to tell you how wonderful video interview technology can be for your business, I thought I’d put my money where my mouth is and chat about some personal experiences of using video during the recruitment process. After all, it’s that very recruitment process which got me this amazing job at VizCareer Digital.

I wasn’t actually looking for a new opportunity. Well, I was; what I mean is that I wasn’t sitting at home every night applying for jobs. But a good friend of mine had heard through the grapevine that VizCareer Digital were seeking a Sales Director. She thought I’d be perfect for it, so made the connection. Yes — that friend was a recruiter and may be “off the tools” these days but connecting people is in her blood.

At this point we were right in the midst of the pandemic, so a face-to-face meeting was completely out of the question. That’s why we set up a phone call. I hadn’t planned any meetings that day, so I was wearing joggies and a hoodie with my hair in a high pony. The unofficial work from home uniform? Maybe! But it’s not the look I’d go for in any “normal” interview scenario.

But let’s face it, nothing is normal anymore. That’s why when Steve spontaneously suggested we jump on a video call, after a moments hesitation, I thought ‘what the hell’, they’re not hiring me for my fashion sense. Thankfully. Event still, it’s the first thing I tried to explain: my appearance. But Steve was more interested in me as a person, and not what I was wearing, which put me at ease straight away.

In my opinion — if we are to use video, we have an obligation to make people feel as comfortable as possible with it. Video technology may not be going anywhere, but it’s still relatively new to the majority of us. The fact that I was wearing work-out clothes led us to discuss one of my biggest passions: fitness.

I mentioned that I was studying part-time to become a Personal Trainer, and rather than express concern, or suggest it could distract me from my day job — he thought it showed a real entrepreneurial spark. This was the first of many signs that VizCareer were a supportive employer; something that was high on my list of priorities. Big tick.

It was all coming across just as clearly as it would have done if it were in-person. So we scheduled in another two interviews: one was with Connor — and I’m not just saying this to get brownie points with my new boss, but he’s extremely lovely. The other interview was with our Chairman, Alistair, who’s track record is beyond impressive — so of course I was nervous.

I actually think there is slight advantage to video when it comes to nerves. The employer only gets to see so much of you so your nerves can be masked a little more than they can face-to-face. Decision day arrived. Waiting to find out if you’ve got the job really is nerve-wracking. So, when Steve asked to jump on a video call at midday, I drove myself crazy, second guessing what it meant.

Surely he wouldn’t decline me on video? I must have got the job! But wouldn’t he just tell me that on the phone? Maybe they truly do everything on video, even the decline and feedback! I didn’t get it! I did get it! All these different thoughts were bouncing around my head like a tennis ball. It went like that for an hour or so, but Steve finally put me out of my misery and offered me the job, which instantly I accepted.

Interviewed, offered, and accepted — all over video. This really got me thinking about the entire process and how video can play such an important role in recruitment. The first thing I did when I joined the team at VizCareer was produce a video advert to attract my new team with — I truly believe it captures attention and engages people better than text.

And importantly, when it comes to giving feedback and decisions, I will commit to using video. Feedback is so terribly important for candidates and is often an element of the process that is managed badly. The candidate journey is more important than ever and if we engage with candidates on video from the outset it makes sense to conclude the process in that way — successful or not. My advice. Be brave and watch your employer brand flourish!