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September 2nd, 2020

It’s been a tough old year so far and as we adapt to the changes that the pandemic has had on the business world, more professionals are settling in to a new working routine. With some companies back to business as usual from the office, others operating from home, or a combination of the two, one thing that is clear is that video calls for both meetings and interviews will be an option that we still see moving forward.

As companies continue to push towards recovery, we are exploring ways in which our clients can approach the ‘new normal’ from a recruitment perspective. We’ve put together some top tips to assist our clients to ensure a smooth and professional remote hiring process.


1. Tackle your tech!

It is often said that failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Evaluate your company/home Wi-Fi signal strength and ask yourself: ‘is it adequate enough to a hold a conversation without any glitches or interruptions?’ Check that everything is working properly when it comes to your preferred video conferencing tool (From Google Hangouts, Ring Central, Microsoft Teams and integrated Zoom video conferencing to more informal tools like Facetime, there is a service out there for you no matter what your circumstances are). By testing the camera and microphone well in advance of the interview and making yourself familiar with the chosen platform, you give yourself a stress-free time frame to tackle any issues. Have a colleague do a test run with you to ensure that they can see and hear you clearly, and consider re-running the test call on the morning of the interview. That way, you can introduce yourself and your company with confidence, knowing that things are running smoothly on your end and you know how not to fall victim to the famous business quote of 2020… “You’re on mute”.

2. Make a great first impression

Although your colleagues may understand that you have children or pets at home and it may be a mutual decision amongst colleagues that it is perfectly acceptable to video call one another in slightly more casual clothing, do remember that this interview reflects your company and brand. If your company usually interview wearing suits in-house, then conducting a video interview should be no exception when it comes to dressing smart. Also consider the background in your home/office space: it should be minimal, free from any candidate distractions and as quiet as possible. If you are working from home, consider choosing a spot with a plain wall behind you which lets your professionalism do the talking without interference from your freshly hung laundry.

3. Prep, prep, prep…

Have a print out of the candidate’s CV handy so that you can ask any experience related questions without having to figure out how to minimise your video call to access their CV, or scrolling through your smartphone emails mid-interview. It works well to have the questions you intend to ask laid out in front of you and in paper form, so that you can focus on calmly speaking into the camera to help create a connection rather than clicking away at your keyboard. Body language is extremely important, as is eye contact, and the candidate should feel like they are your one and only focus.

4. Creating a connection

It is worth noting that usual interview etiquette that helps create human connection will be hard to achieve from the candidate’s perspective: arriving early, shaking your hand, etc. Maintaining eye contact in a video environment by looking directly into the camera can help counter this. It’s important to help put the candidate at ease in an unusual interview circumstance and this can be achieved by smiling and nodding your head often when listening to their responses or asking upfront if they have any concerns with the format of a remote interview. When the candidate is answering questions during the interview, take notes to show that you are engaged and use these following the interview to evaluate their performance.

5. Communication is key

Make your expectations clear beforehand and avoid any awkward situations by sending an introductory email to state who will be present at the interview and what the agenda will be. Clarify who will be instigating the video call (will you be calling the candidate, or are they attempting to call you?) and if you are hosting the meeting, exchange meeting codes ahead of time to ensure that things run to schedule. Also clearly stating how long the video call will run for will be helpful from the candidate’s perspective (you both may feel quite uncomfortable if background distractions start to arise because it wasn’t made clear from the offset that it would be a two hour process). It is worth ensuring that you have the candidate’s contact number to hand, so that if there are any technical issues you can give them a call to reschedule/end the interview in a professional manner. Following the interview, if it’s one of our experienced consultants here at Futures who has found you the candidate, expect a call from them that same day. This gives you the opportunity to let your consultant know how the candidate came across and you can discuss the next steps in the hiring process, ensuring that the candidate receives timely feedback.

6. Evaluating skills against the role at hand

Will the candidate be a remote worker if successful, or is this process out of the ordinary for both parties and just a temporary solution to today’s current climate? If they seem uncomfortable in front of the camera but have unrivalled skills for a job that won’t be remotely based, take this into account. However, if the plan is to continue working remotely as a company, then factor in their communication skills and consider if they would be a good cultural fit within the team – you could even consider asking interview questions based around remote working and the challenges it poses.

7. Portray your brand and values

In normal circumstances, a candidate would get a feel for your company by stepping foot in the building, witnessing the atmosphere for themselves and seeing the team operate in their natural work environment. A strong introduction can ensure that the company ethos, values and objectives are still communicated to the candidate. It is up to you to paint a picture of the role, the team and anything else that they should know to sell your brand, which might not always necessarily be as easy to get across remotely. You can give candidates a tour of the office if that’s where you’re video calling from, invite additional members of the team to join the video call for a short duration, or talk them through your social values and any charity/volunteering involvement that the company may have. As the interview draws to a close, be sure to thank the candidate for their interest in the vacancy, and give them a clear idea on when to expect an interview outcome. Although video calls can feel unnatural, don’t forget to smile – everybody wants to work somewhere with enthusiasm – a friendly manner doesn’t have to take away from your professionalism and will leave a positive impression of you and the business.


How can we help?

Hiring now means employers will see a pool of passionate potential candidates who are ready to make a difference. With priorities in perspective after a period of reflection we’re witnessing a small pocket of opportunity to pick up some fantastic talent, that may not usually be available, due to the unfortunate climate and mass redundancies.

If you’re a business owner or hiring manager and looking to find the best talent for your company whilst hiring remotely, then get in touch with the team at Futures today for advice and support.

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