Top tips to help employers get the most out of remote interviews
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The Coronavirus has caused unprecedented disruption to businesses, from recruitment and how we conduct interviews to keeping our teams engaged, across the globe, which has led to many companies, big and small, working remotely to keep their staff safe.

Whilst this move to remote working has many positives, it also comes with a few challenges for employers like interviewing and hiring remotely. Which is why we’ve brought in Recruitment Expert Lucy Smith from Digital Grads, to give her top 5 tips to help small businesses get the most out of remote interviews.

Pick the best tools for success

Picking the perfect tool to host your interview shouldn’t be a problem as there are a vast amount of options out there at various price points to suit everyone’s budget. But if you are struggling to choose my two favourites are Zoom and Google hangouts, which are both user friendly, they integrate to most calendars and they are wallet-friendly too!

Be sure to test the platform before the interview so it doesn’t lead to any technical mishaps. You’d expect the candidate to do some prep, and check out the tech, so too should the employer. Which leads to my next point…

Come prepared

Prepare your technology

If you have a day of remote interviews planned, any technical difficulties can disrupt this dramatically meaning you could lose time spent on evaluating each candidate, and it could make your business appear unprofessional.

Make sure you prepare a day in advance ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the room have a strong enough WiFi signal to run video calls?
  • Is all the equipment you need plugged in?
  • Have you got the candidates telephone number in case of a technical mishap.
  • Have you given your phone number to the candidate?

Gather everything you need for the interview

Don’t try to wing it, remote interviews require equal preparation as in-person interviews. We recommend that you have any candidate research handy, you have an agenda prepared and you have a printout of the candidate’s CV. Ideally, you would also have a list of questions and a scorecard based on the job requirements either on a pad or on a separate screen or tablet.

Give your candidate everything they need and set clear expectations

When liaising over interviews it’s important to set clear expectations for the interview such as whether the candidate is required to be on video or not, how many people will be present and how formal it is.

We strongly advocate setting the candidate up for success. So tell them about anything they should prepare for prior to the interview and give them detailed instructions for any tasks or presentations.

It’s also a good idea to send any documents or videos about your company and culture to the candidates a few days in advance so that they may adequately prepare. It’s easy to forget that to attract the best talent you should be selling your business just as much as the candidate is there to impress you. It’s arguably more important now to give them a sense of what it’s like to work in your business as they most likely won’t get to physically see the office and meet their team for a few months yet.

And lastly, don’t forget to send them a link to the video conference call, the timing, the date and clear instructions on how to set up their video and audio!

Dress to impress in a suitable location

Make sure you dress appropriately just as you would for a normal interview. If you would normally wear jeans and a shirt in the office, wear that on the video call. Just try to keep it as close to normal as possible.

Before you start the interview, make sure you’re in a quiet, tidy location with a neutral backdrop and decent lighting to avoid any distractions.

Think about your body language

According to Gianpiero Petriglieri, an associate professor at Insead video calls can be more challenging than face to face contact, as your brain finds it harder to process non-verbal cues like tone, pitch of voice and body language.

So, make sure you speak clearly in a calm tone whilst smiling and laughing when appropriate, to show you are fully engaged in the conversation. It’s also worth leaving a few seconds between sentences to ensure you don’t speak over your interviewee.

On the call, you might also be inclined to look at your image, but it’s best to minimise yourself so your attention is concentrated on the person you’re interviewing.

Perfect your close and always follow up

At the end of the interview make sure to thank your candidate for their time, let them know what will happen next in the process and check if they have any questions. Interviews can be a stressful time for candidates, as you well know you’ve been there before, so maybe it would be great to offer them the time to email in with any questions that they may forget to ask on the spot.

It’s also best practice, for everyone’s peace of mind, to follow up with your candidate whether it’s bad news, good news or no news yet. Your candidate will appreciate the effort and it will leave them with a positive impression of you and your business.


Once you’ve found your perfect candidate your next step is to onboard them properly into the company. It’s important not to overlook this step, as a proper onboarding procedure can help your new hires become contented, productive workers, and eventually lead to your company having higher staff retention

HR Software like citrus HR can help you get this right with onboarding features that can help you send out new starter forms and employment contracts in seconds or a create detailed checklist of things a new hire needs to do or learn.

Another key feature of onboarding is an online staff handbook, which is a legal requirement for employers to provide company policies and procedures for staff to read. Some software platforms even generate an acknowledgement form for employees to sign when they’ve read something which can help you prove that you’ve provided the required information if you ever need to.


How we can help

Our HR Software comes fully equipped with all the onboarding tools you need as standard and our friendly HR team can help equip you with an expertly crafted staff handbook, bespoke to your organisation.

Why not give our friendly, expert team a call on 0333 014 3888 or email to find out more about this and all the other ways we can help you save time and money on HR admin.

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