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Five Tips for Recruiting and Interviewing Remotely

March 13, 2020

As I type up this blog post with my hands cracked and dried from washing them for 20 seconds dozens of times a day, I wanted to share some thoughts on how to reduce the impact of working from home on the recruiting process. With all the news about Covid19 and the cancellation of large events, the world of recruiting continues to discuss the best practices and outcomes of the current work environment. Companies are requiring people to work from home and move to video or phone meetings. And, companies still need to hire mission-critical talent and cannot afford to delay hiring. How do you keep the process moving along and the pipeline full if you’re holed up at a home office? Or, if you’re in the middle of a job search, how can you continue your interview process if the company’s offices are closed temporarily?

Try these five tips to get your virtual life kicked into high gear.

#WorkingFromHome is a concept some companies have avoided, but with #COVID19 it’s near necessary. @IQTalent explains how you can reduce the impact of a #RemoteRecruiting process.Click to Tweet

1. Start Conducting Virtual Interviews

Using video calls for “virtual onsite” interviews can be a great answer to seeing a person without having to be right next to the person! Specific tools, like HireVue, WePow, and Vidcruiter, can help you manage video interviews, but everyone may not have the budget to implement these platforms. If you need a quick, temporary fix, we’ve put together a list of the most prevalent free or freemium tools you can use immediately.


The process of scheduling can vary from tool to tool. From sharing user names of each person in the calendar invite to getting a dedicated link that works between the program and web browser version, it’s a rather simple process to get everyone on the same video call. Each party has to be responsible for following through with their responsibilities to make it a seamless process. The company needs to ensure that the candidates know the process of connecting to the service. If you’re a candidate, be sure to test the service well before your call and let the company know if you can use that specific tool on your phone or computer.


Microsoft Teams is included in most Office 365 accounts. It's a great example of how tools allow for program to browser to phone connections. Candidates, hiring managers, and interview panelists alike, can download the software (free) or use the link to log in through a browser. In the event there are connectivity issues, a phone number and conference ID can be used for an audio-only call.

2. Prepare Your Location for Your Video Call

Just like you’d want to present your best self for an onsite interview, you want to do the same for a virtual interview. Be sure the lighting is good. Talking with someone who is sitting alone in the dark can feel creepy! The light should be on your face. If it’s behind you (coming through a window, for instance), you will be backlit and look like a shadow!

3. Look Me in the Eye

Look at the camera, not the person on the screen! This is easier said than done and takes some practice (facetime a friend). Certainly, watch the screen/the other person when he or she is talking because you want to see expressions and match the tone and emotion. But, when you’re talking, you want to “look them in the eyes.” If you look at the screen while you are talking, it feels weird for the person on the other end because they’ll see you looking down. It’s tough to stare at a tiny circle on the bezel of the computer screen. Put a sticker near the lens or even print out a picture of the interviewer and put it next to the camera. Do whatever will work for you and practice with a friend or colleague before you “go live.”

4. Test Your Tech: Audio/Visual/Software

The most important point for a virtual interview is to prepare well ahead of the call time! Nothing could be worse than discovering your camera won’t work just as the call is coming on-line. This is true for both the employer and the candidate. No one wants to work for a company that looks disorganized, and likewise, employers want to hire candidates who are prepared and confident. Particularly in an environment where you may have to work from home for a short time, companies want to know you have a grasp of current technology, specifically in the virtual meeting space. So, test your microphone and camera. Download the software in advance. Watch an instructional video on the software if you need to. Being prepared for a virtual interview comes with very different challenges than a traditional onsite interview!

5. Prepare your Questions in Advance

Just like an onsite interview, preparation is key for both the candidate and the interviewer. Candidates should have researched the company and prepared a list of questions for the hiring manager that will determine if the role is a good fit for you. Likewise, the interviewer needs to be well prepared so the interview flows smoothly. If the onsite interview would have incorporated numerous people, and now each of those people is in a different location, it is imperative that each interviewer is assigned topics to discuss with the candidate. Ensuring that the candidate is not asked the same questions by multiple people will achieve a better experience for the candidate.

Once the interview is over, how does a hiring manager get comfortable extending an offer to someone without meeting face to face (f2f)? Consider what you get from the face to face interview that ultimately helps you make a decision? This answer takes some deep philosophical thought. Hiring without an in-person meeting might feel uncomfortable because, up to this point, it isn’t really something that many hiring managers have experienced. However, the numbers show that more people than you may have realized received offers over the phone or video without ever meeting their bosses. We haven’t seen any data that says hiring virtually is detrimental to the new hire’s performance. It is simply not something we’re comfortable doing because we haven’t done it that way in the past!

Whether the candidate goes through a traditional onsite interview or has a series of virtual interviews because we are practicing “social distancing” due to CoVid19, the recruiting and hiring processes ultimately end with a leap of faith. You have to trust that you and your team evaluated each candidate to the best of your abilities. When selecting the person that will receive the offer, you’re making an educated guess. And if the person has had only virtual interviews, it is a guess that was not influenced by meeting someone in person. Who knows? This process of virtual recruiting may ultimately reduce bias in the recruiting process.


It comes down to trusting yourself, your team, and your process.

Now, go wash your hands!

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