The Coronavirus situation is evolving daily. Travel restrictions, changing guidelines and organisations’ policies are in flux, and because of these, there are three major influencers on recruitment decisions

• International travel.
• Domestic travel.
• Meetings of large groups of employees or candidates.

The impact on recruitment decisions are potentially far reaching. Candidates may not be able to attend assessment days or in-person interviews. Internal applicants may not be able to attend development centres or training events. Even if these events are able to run, the management or recruitment team cannot guarantee resource accessibility or availability due to illness, self-isolation or travel restrictions.

The result could be a knee-jerk reaction to postpone everything recruitment, induction or training related.  However, it doesn’t have to be that way – there are alternatives.

Remote interviewing

Now is a great time to seriously consider video interviews. There has already been a huge increase in the use of video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts in the last few weeks. Many organisations are already well ahead and even conducting full blown virtual assessment centres.

Communicate, communicate

With the fast pace of change it would be too easy to overlook the need for a thorough candidate communication plan. A poor candidate experience has consequence’s – from sharing stories with friends and family to negative comments left on employer review sites and on social media. This is the opportunity to demonstrate the strength of your employer brand values.

Our tips for effective virtual interviews

Video Technology

First, determine how you are going to carry out a virtual job interview. The big question you need to answer is whether you’ll incorporate video or simply use the phone. We highly recommend that you try to integrate video if possible, as it will allow you to best simulate a real, in-person interview.

There is no shortage of virtual options to utilize video conferencing for a virtual job interview. Skype, Zoom, UberConference, FaceTime, MS Teams and Google Hangout are just a few to consider.
Before your virtual job interview takes place, make sure you test out your video provider to ensure things run smoothly.

Things to check on include:

• That your account is up to date
• The latest software update has been installed
• Being familiar with features software features
• Connection speed

Set up

Just as you would if your interviewee was coming into the office, you want to make sure that you have set a professional scene for your virtual interview. While testing your technology, determine where in your remote location to have the conversation. Find a quiet room with good lighting (being near a window helps) and a blank, clean wall. You want to be the focal point of the interview so that your interviewee is focused on your questions and answers, not on the picture hanging behind you. Turn off any audio distractions such as a TV or radio that could be picked up by the video conference audio.
Also, tidy up your surroundings. You wouldn’t want to have an untidy office when interviewing a candidate in person.

Body Language

Before your virtual interview, spend some time checking your body language and posture by watching yourself using your video conferencing software`. The angle of your computer’s camera and the chair you’re sitting in can have a significant impact on how you present on your interviewee’s screen. You don’t want to spend the first few minutes of the interview shuffling around with your camera to find your best light and angle.

We’ve all taken photos where we’ve wished the photographer would have tried a different angle to allow ourselves to showcase our best selves. The same is true with video conference feed. Figure out a configuration that will enable you to interview with confidence.

Dress the Part

One of the perks of working remotely is that employees do not have to spend the time getting ready and dressed for their day. However, if you’re hosting a virtual job interview, you need to dress the part.
How would you dress if the interview was taking place at your office? That is exactly what you should wear for your virtual meeting. You don’t want the candidate to think that you’re not taking it seriously and that they’re not receiving the same experience that they would with an in-person experience.

Acknowledge the Unusual Circumstances

While your goal is to make this experience as similar to a regular interview as possible, you’ll want to acknowledge that this isn’t a normal circumstance. Thank your interviewee for agreeing to interview virtually and make a comment on how extraordinary this interview is— just like the dozens of other extraordinary things that are happening due to the Coronavirus.
This experience will probably just as new to the candidate as it is to you. By letting them know you’re in it together, you can accelerate the connection between the two of you, and allow them to be comfortable during the course of the interview.

Be Normal, Be Prepared

The most important thing about conducting this type of interview is that you and the candidate both feel like the virtual element of the conversation did not negatively affect the experience. That starts with being prepared.

Plan how you’d like the interview to unfold and prepare all of the questions you need to ask the interviewee. If you’re not as prepared as you usually are, the candidate might feel like they were cheated out of a true interview because of the virtual element. However, if you’re prepared and are able to control the flow of the interview, the candidate will feel comfortable and answer.

The new normal?

Many business owners believe we are experiencing the dawn of a new way of working. In every crisis there are opportunities and we all have an opportunity to really up our recruitment game by using technology to improve the recruitment process. 

More team members are working from home.  When you get it right, research shows that working virtually can drive productivity improvements of up to 43%.

Working virtually could drive really positive changes in your recruitment processes.

If you would like to know more about how the First Base team can support you during and after these unusual and challenging times, contact Tricia Hay on 01453 755330 or email