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How to conduct a successful remote interview

Philip Shepherd

30th March 2020

While face-to-face interviews are a great way to get to know a candidate, meeting up in person isn’t always possible.


During the current Coronavirus pandemic, many businesses are struggling to maintain normal procedures, with working from home and self-isolation being two of the main measures put in place to prevent the spread of the virus.


For candidates that you have already agreed to interview, or for those essential roles that you need to fill, remote interviews can be a great way to avoid missing out on top talent without putting anybody’s health at risk. It’s also a good process to have in place to support candidates in the future who are less able to make it to interview.


Start with a phone interview


Phone interviews are already pretty commonplace. They are often used as an initial benchmark of a candidate’s suitability before bringing them in for a face-to-face interview.


This helps to get a good idea of candidates without taking up too much of either party’s time, and means that you can avoid any physical contact. For remote interviews, a phone call is a great starting point.


However, it can be harder to concentrate when you are unable to look a person in the eye, making it difficult to remember each interviewee. There’s also a lot to be learned from seeing how a candidate presents themselves, both in terms of their physical appearance and body language, so it’s best to progress to video call after this first step.


Make a video call the main focus of the interview


Whether you decide to pre-screen through phone interviews or not, a video call should be the biggest part of the interview procedure.


This allows you to get a more personal feel for each candidate through visual cues and helps you to make more of a connection. It’s important to treat a video interview the same as you would treat an in-person interview, and seeing how candidates handle the experience can also tell you a lot about them.


They should be dressed appropriately, as they would be for meeting you in person, in a calm, quiet and tidy environment. There should be no distractions, although you should be willing to make reasonable concessions for mitigating circumstances or unavoidable responsibilities such as having to look after children.


While technical issues may arise, seeing how a candidate manages them on the fly can give you a useful insight into their character and problem solving abilities.


Use screen sharing


Screen sharing is a useful tool that allows you to see what’s on another person’s computer screen remotely.


This is a great way for candidates to show you examples of their work to support their application, or to give a slideshow presentation if required as part of the interview.


You can also use screen sharing to show candidates information that may be useful to them, such as examples of relevant projects or the software that you use. As well as sending documents by email after the interview, going through them together while sharing a screen can help to promote understanding and give a better opportunity for candidates to ask questions.


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If you’re looking to fill a certain role and you want nothing but the best candidates, get in touch with us or view our hiring page to see how we work.

Philip Shepherd

Philip Shepherd

Founder & CEO

Philip specialises in: Senior, Director and C-Level roles in Digital Marketing

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020 7183 7145