Will Covid-19 change the format of job interviews?


The outbreak of Covid-19, as well as the subsequent advice from the UK government to practice social distancing and avoid all non-essential travel, has posed countless questions about their effect on apprenticeships and other early career opportunities.

While several businesses have been forced to close their doors and freeze their recruitment cycles indefinitely, there are still hundreds of employers, colleges and training providers who are working hard to continue providing young people with the opportunities they need to succeed in their chosen industries.

We’ve been speaking to candidates across the UK about their thoughts and feelings in the wake of current events, and a lot of you have told us that you’re worried about how recruitment processes will change over the coming weeks and months – from job applications to interviews. Young people have also voiced their concerns about the potential lack of available opportunities for the foreseeable future.

It is impossible to ignore the impact of Coronavirus on certain industries, particularly the retail, catering and hospitality sectors where there will be a reduced number of jobs available due to their public-facing nature of work. However, many businesses have started investing in alternative methods to find the right people for their roles – these range from brand new tools and technology, to processes which have played a key role in recruitment for years, or even decades.

With social distancing measures in place, a lot of you may be wondering specifically about the form that interviews will take moving forward. Luckily, there are plenty of resources available for businesses to continue carrying out interviews – just not in the ways you may expect!

We predict that remote interviews, carried out either over the phone or via video calls, will become more frequently used by employers, colleges and training providers alike. Phone interviews and video interviews are certainly nothing new when it comes to early career recruitment – in the past, these have often been used to carry out preliminary screenings of candidates before inviting them in for a face-to-face interview. However, with the government now advising people to stay in their homes and work from home where possible, you may find that phone and video interviews will become the main interviewing stage of your application.

Another part of the recruitment process that will inevitably be affected is the open day or assessment centre that employers sometimes run for prospective candidates. We have spoken to lots of employers who are looking to either create an effective digital alternative to these events, or to postpone them until a later date.

This may sound daunting if you’ve never had to do a job interview over the phone or video before, and there’s no sugar-coating the fact that they can often be very different to a face-to-face interview. That said, there is nothing to be afraid of. Interviewers usually have a different set of expectations for these types of interviews and are usually extremely accommodating to young people who are nervous or anxious during phone and video interviews.

Have you been invited to an interview over the phone or via video by an employer or training provider? Check out our blog full of advice and tips to help you excel in your phone interview or your video interview!

Further reading around Covid-19 and early careers:

  • Will Covid-19 change the application process?
  • Advice & Tips