How to Thrive in a Time of Video Interviews

By Molly Norton


To all of our Valued Clients, Candidates, and Community Partners,

While COVID-19 has brought all of us a great amount of uncertainty, it has also allowed us opportunities to thoughtfully plan and prepare to push forward towards imminently better days.

Our motto since we started Acumen has always been “We listen…We care…We deliver.” We continue to listen deeply, even more so than ever before and we continue to truly care for our clients, candidates, and community as we navigate this uncertainty together.

What is your organization doing to adjust to today’s challenges? Acumen has always had an effective, flexible, remote-work model in place and will continue ensuring the safety not only of our team, but the safety of our clients and candidates through virtual meetings and interviews. So, it’s a great time to level up those video-interviewing skills.

Here are a couple resources to help get you started navigating this virtual world of interviewing.

The first link is a free guide that provides a range of solid tactical tips: (FREE)

If you subscribe to LinkedIn Premium, Jenny Foss, who is a celebrated local LinkedIn Learning Author and Founder of Job Jenny, has a LinkedIn Learning Online Course that is helpful for anyone who is about to embark on video interviewing, on both sides of the table. Note that this course is included free with LinkedIn Premium.

In this series of enjoyable short-courses, Jenny suggests asking your recruiting team to help you prepare (that’s our job!). Some good questions to ask about a video interview include:

  • How many people will be on the call?
  • What’s the hiring team going to be looking for?
  • Do you have some prep materials to share?
  • For a one-way interview – ask if questions can be reviewed in advance, if available
  • How do I handle a technical snag? Is there a backup plan?

As with any interview situation, Jenny (and we) recommend:

  • Do your homework – study up on who you will be interviewing with – LinkedIn provides a treasure trove of information.
  • Do some online sleuthing to see what’s going on with the company and the industry.
  • Dig into their products or the services they offer.
  • Get an idea as to their culture by reading blogs and social media accounts, which will also help determine if you have good cultural alignment with the organization.
  • This due diligence will hopefully lead to a list of thoughtful, insightful questions that you can have in front of you during the interview to show how thoroughly you’ve prepared – and because you are interviewing the organization too.

We wish you good health and we look forward to connecting with you — virtually and emotionally.


The Acumen Approach – Now Backed By Behavioral Science

Acumen spends a great deal of time with our managerial through executive-level candidates.  First and foremost, as true partners with our client companies, we need this time to ascertain the candidate’s ideal position, cultural and core value alignments, and a multitude of other factors making them the one right candidate for our open opportunity.  Secondly, we genuinely develop meaningful relationships with our candidates and want them to succeed.  During interview coaching, one of Acumen’s most highly stressed suggestions is to never answer an interview question with a yes or no but rather, tell a story.  A story that doesn’t talk about what the candidate may have done in the past but instead helps the hiring manager envision how the candidate can be additive and help with specific challenges facing the organization.

Recently, I attended a Link event at which Mr. Larry Shoop was giving a presentation titled “The Science and Power of Story.”  I knew I had to attend on the title alone given the potential significance to one of Acumen’s core tenets and I am so glad I did. In addition to being with a dynamic and fun group of ladies and hearing an amazing presentation, I learned a statistic I was previously unaware of.  A statistic that gave the team here at Acumen further conviction in our approach.  I learned behavioral science shows a staggering 95% of all decisions are first made emotionally while rationalization and reasoning follow later.  As human beings we are wired to learn through stories, we are going to remember the stories which trigger an emotional response and those emotions are going to color our decisions.  I also learned the average attention span is now just 5 minutes; not a lot of time to leave a memorable impression and further underlining the importance of making an emotional connection with your audience.  Apparently, this is all simply science and the Acumen team couldn’t agree more!

As a recruiter I conduct a lot of interviews and my most insightful interviews occur when the candidate opens up and starts sharing applicable stories.  I am able to develop an essential rapport through shared stories.  I get to see what is really behind that nervousness as the candidate relaxes and I often gain valuable information I wouldn’t have otherwise received.  The content, structure and even subject matter of candidate stories help us to better understand their motivators, core values, personalities and much more.  With over 12 years of success following our proven process, it was exciting to hear about the science behind why it works!