Recruiting in a Remote World - The Remote Interview

If, over the past few months, you have been thinking about your current or future recruitment needs, you have probably had a considerable amount of challenges to consider whilst as a business you have been navigating your way through this global pandemic - how to recruit the right person for your business, when meeting and on-boarding them might have seemed like a near impossibility!   

Over the last few months, we have continued to recruit for a lot of businesses who have made the difficult decision to switch to digital solutions to both interview and onboard new candidates. And whilst many businesses are now returning to some kind of normality, the uncertainties around Coronavirus and the impact it will have on recruitment continues to remain an issue for many, with many business yet to return back to site or trying to keep external visitors to a minimum.

This means that whilst some levels or normality are resuming, remote recruiting for either some or all of the recruitment process is still really important for many businesses.

As the pandemic has continued to affect the way both Elevation and our clients recruit, we have been talking to clients and candidates about their experiences and have put together some useful information for how to get the best outcome when recruiting in a remote world.

As part of a three-part series of blogs ‘Recruiting in a Remote World’, this week, Operations Director Emma Noble discusses the remote interview and how you can make sure the process is as smooth as possible for both your candidates and the hiring team.


Preparation is key

Remote recruiting can be really daunting for both client and candidate alike. It is something that is becoming much more popular, but don’t forget that many people haven’t been through a process like this before, yes your candidate, but also your hiring managers. Preparation is therefore key, as is managing the expectations of any internal clients and your candidates.

Helping candidates understand your business and your culture beforehand might be crucial here - especially as some businesses can find this really hard to do when they aren’t meeting candidates in person:

Set the Scene:

When you send the interview invite to the candidate, make sure you give them plenty of information to help them prepare for the interview and start to get a really good feel for the company and it’s culture. This will give them a picture of what the company is like, what it stands for and what it is like to work there. It should also help them to devise any questions they want to ask before hand.

A few ways that you could do this could include:

  • Sending them the link to your company website your opportunities
  • Providing a virtual tour of your offices/plant/site
  • Send them content that gives them a glimpse into your culture and lets it shine, like your YouTube channel, your brand's Instagram page, or your business's Glassdoor page.

Pre-Interview Prep

Send the candidate the link to the virtual interview in plenty of time. Ask them to test the link before the meeting & make sure you have the candidate’s mobile number and they have yours in case of any technology issues.

If the interview involves multiple people, choreograph and script that carefully. If you’re leading a hiring team, make sure they have the tools and the training to ensure the remote interview process goes well.

The experience of an interview, particularly when there is no chance of going to the actual workplace, counts tremendously. Mediocre, awkward, tedious interviews will transmit the message that the work culture at this prospective employer is likely lacking.


The Remote Interview - Points to Consider

Making the candidate feel at ease

Remote interviewing can feel very different from in-person, so make it as comfortable as possible for both the hiring team and the candidates. Without the natural flow and physical reminders of an in-person interview, it’s easy to forget the small things that would make a remote interview just as comfortable as coming into the office:

  • Dress the set - make sure the background isn’t a cluttered mess
  • Dress the interviewer - make sure you and other interviewers wear an appropriate top or shirt
  • Be the first to show up! Put your candidates at ease by being present when they join the virtual room

Taking notes

Ideally, take notes on paper so that you’re not typing while the person is talking. If you’ll be taking notes on the PC, call out the fact that you’ll be typing during the interview so that the candidate doesn’t feel that you are distracted. In this scenario, it’s also best to mute yourself so that you’re not typing in their ears as they’re speaking, but keep in mind that for them it will feel like they’re talking to a silent crowd.

Building a rapport

Don’t lose the small talk you would normally have with candidates in-person. It could actually be more important than ever. Be attentive to what the candidates are telling you and how you can relate to them on a personal as well as a professional level.

Be overly expressive — interviews are extra stressful when it’s hard to read body language. Nod, smile, and laugh, to help make the situation more comfortable.

It’s good video etiquette to maintain eye contact: not a glassed out stare, but looking at the face of the person you’re interviewing, and transmitting your reactions clearly. Focus on the person you’re interviewing, not the screen or the settings (another reason to have the tech well rehearsed).

Body language is more obvious in this virtual environment, and so is your intonation. Be human, but be polished.

Make sure you provide time for candidate’s questions, and answer them thoughtfully. If you have to get back to them, do it in a timely fashion. 


How to Deal with Technology Issues, Should they occur during the interview

Technology issues can happen. However, it is important to firstly not panic, and secondly be prepared in case they do. Many of us have been working from home, conducting interviews, or even friend and family chats a lot over the last few months - so everyone will understand that the technology can sometimes fail us!

Here are some of our tips for working through tech issues:

  • When in doubt, leave and rejoin the meeting. If that doesn’t work, we recommend giving the candidate a call. Make sure you have their phone number in advance!
  • If the issue is Wi-Fi connectivity suggest that the candidate move closer to the wifi router (if able). The second step would be to turn off video and attempt to communicate just over audio. Third and final step would be to switch the call to take place over the phone.
  • If you’re spending more than five minutes troubleshooting tech issues, it may be best to reschedule for a later time. Work with your internal stakeholders to make it happen.
  • Be prepared for the above to happen – make sure you have a plan B!



Establish a clear way for candidates to follow up with you. Now, more than ever, feedback from candidates is vital, and a great way to show that you value their opinions. It also opens up the opportunity for them to ask any follow-up questions, should they need to.

Your candidates and interviewers can offer critical feedback to help you strengthen your process over time. Continue to collect feedback from both sides, and use it to improve your virtual experience, especially if this process is new to you.

Once an employee is onboarded, ask them the value they got from your interviewing and onboarding strategy. By constantly evaluating and improving the onboarding process, you can help remote workers adjust to their new roles easily and refine for future remote hires.


Further Information and Support

Look out for the next blog in the series: ‘Recruiting in a Remote World - Hiring Remote Workers’.

Elevation Recruitment Group have worked with multiple businesses across the region supporting them through Covid-19 and remote interviewing:

  • We can provide insight on the best interviewing technologies i.e. Microsoft Teams vs Zoom
  • We can advise on the best interview techniques
  • We can provide advice on how Covid and Virtual Interviewing has effected candidate attraction
  • We can sit in your interviews with hiring manages to help control the format or provide support to them on questions
  • We provide feedback on the pro’s / con’s of your interview style and feedback candidates are providing

If you need any further help and guidance on this area please contact Emma Noble on 07710 096 839

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