Virtual Hiring Tips – Our Good Practice Guide For Remote Interviewing

We’ve known for some time about the growing trend towards agile working and remote business functions even before the Covid19 Pandemic took hold.

As an organisation, Greenacre Group has been successfully operating our remote-ready teams for some time now, and having done a fair amount of research into modern hiring, employment and retainment practices, we were well aware of the influence tech and innovation have been having across the recruitment sphere. The current global crisis has accelerated this process and those organisations who were not prepared before are having to adapt quickly to the changing environment in order to survive and continue.

At least for now, most of our hiring, training and onboarding is having to be handled remotely. The way we attract, pool down, interview, hire and retain our employees now requires a whole different set of considerations and perspectives, and what once was effective practice face to face does not necessarily translate well through a virtual format. Conversely, there are several virtues to holding interviews remotely, not least due to cost and time saving benefits (especially useful with interim hiring), but also in the way you can gauge how competent your future employees are with tech, how they may come across remotely to your customers and clients, and the advantages of recording and analysing the interview process afterwards, leading to less ambiguity.

Getting It Right

Greenacre are fortunate to not only be ahead of the curve when it comes to remote business, but as an established recruitment firm we have the advantage of being in regular conversations with top organisational strategists, who have been sharing their current ideas, perspectives and successful practices when it comes to interviewing and hiring employees to best effect remotely.
Dan Short, Greenacre’s MD and Barry Forsythe who heads up our Midlands branch, have come together to create a short video collating some of the best remote interview practices to ensure your organisation keeps on top of your recruitment process. To support the video, below are a selection of our key tips to make sure your current and future remote hiring processes are fit for purpose and ready for the new paradigm shifts now shaping and evolving recruitment.

Consider the best model – Consider which interview model is the best fit for the role – Who will be the relevant stakeholders involved? It may be a good idea to include the candidate’s future team in the interview process. What is the best platform for each interaction? Will you be using online presentations? Would you typically use social interactions with team members or online assessments for instance? If replicating a full assessment day virtually, consider the planning and time required – the focus should be on making the candidate experience pain free.

Check your tech! – Ensure each panelist has the right tech installed on their device, make sure they have all been sent the relevant documents, such as role profile, CV, any presentations, interview questions etc. Test it all works for everyone well in advance.

Create the right environment – Ensure each person’s room is quiet, has the right lighting (no windows behind you to avoid glare), check the background behind you is appropriate and free from clutter. Turn off phones, alert sounds etc.

Agree roles – Make sure everyone is aware of their level of participation. Agree on the host – they will be leading the interview and facilitating how the rest of the panel will communicate with others, and the order of questions. This will allow the candidate to experience a clear interview process and help to avoid anyone speaking over one another.

Agree communication channels – Consider how the panel will communicate with each other during the interview (i.e. chat function on the platform, WhatsApp etc).

Consider your schedule – long days interviewing on-line can be draining, so make sure you factor in regular breaks and allow sufficient time for panel members to discuss feedback.

Prepare the candidate – send the interviewee a good practice guide for what works for you or use your recruitment partner to issue a good practice guide. Explain the interview process and what will be expected of the candidate.

Makes sure there is a plan B – Technology is great, but it can sometimes fail at the most inopportune moment, so ensure you have a back up interview plan, in case there is an unexpected cut to the connection.

Show up first! – Ensure yourself and anyone from the interview panel is ready and waiting for the interviewee before the start. This will show them you are prepared and will make them feel they are being welcomed to the interview.

Manage the online administration effectively – Each separate part of the interview assessment can have a different link and invitation so that the right people are able to access the relevant session. Making use of the lobby function or waiting room facilities to manage attendance in the right way can be a good addition to the process.

Set the scene – Lay out the process clearly so the interviewee knows what to expect, be clear and direct, introduce each panelist properly, explain who does what, and if you’re taking notes, tell them so they understand why you are typing or writing.

Be aware of your body language – Look into the camera to make the candidate feel that they are being listened to. Be engaging and communicate your questions and responses with effective use of signals, nodding, facial expressions etc.

Conduct the interview clearly and amicably – Make the end of the questions obvious, ensure your dialogue is clear and avoid interrupting – practice facilitation techniques of more than one panelist, inviting others to speak or ask questions, so there is no overlapping.

Use niceties to assess the right cultural fit – Make the candidate feel relaxed. Try to replace the pre interview handshake and pleasantries with virtual exchanges to make them feel comfortable. These exchanges will help to reveal their personality and cultural fit for your organisation. Consider a stage in the process with the relevant stakeholder to concentrate on cultural fit, aside from the technical assessment.

Explain the next part of the process clearly – make sure you close the interview with strength, making clear what the next steps will be. If there is a second interview stage, outline the structure, how and when they will hear back, and what they should do to prepare if successful.

Ask for feedback – Usually it’s the candidate who will ask for feedback, however, by asking how the online interview process was for your candidate after the interview, you will not only gain valuable insight into the experience from the other side, which may help conduct future interviews more efficiently, it may also highlight any difficulties they may have been having but may not have felt able to express during the interview. For instance, they may have been dealing with tech issues, which may have appeared as a distraction to an otherwise excellent interview. Feedback is especially important from both sides when interviewing remotely to get a well-rounded picture of the process and keep an eye on technical fluidity.

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Greenacre Recruitment are corporate members of the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) and operate within its code of professional practice, adhering to the highest standards of recruitment professionalism.

Greenacre Recruitment are a recognised ‘Disability Confident’ employer, and we believe diversity drives innovation. We are committed to ensuring our recruitment processes are inclusive and accessible to all.