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Tips for Remote Interviews: candidates & clients

04 Sep 2017

In the tech-enabled world, we are seeing employers use Skype and video conferencing to conduct more and more interviews - both initial interviews and team meets. These remote interviews enable employers to save time and streamline their interview process, making it easier for both candidate and company.

Whether client or candidate, recruiting manager or HR team, there are plenty of reasons to use remote recruitment methods. From the obvious saving on travel times, to trialling remote working skills, the right combination can be beneficial for everyone.

For clients and companies:

1.     Online CV and application submission

The most obvious benefits for employers are the reduction in paper admin and the ability to upload CVs to automated record systems. You can then review and evaluate applications based on a clear set of criteria. Then, when you’ve got your base requirements, you can look for those elusive extra skills and interests. Like to do team charity events as a company? Find Tough Mudder on someone’s CV and you’ve hit the jackpot!

2.     Old fashioned grammar and language tests

Increasingly relevant, or some argue less so, it’s easy to set and evaluate grammar or language tests online. Grammar and language tests are important if you’re looking for bid-writers or similar, but they also offer an insight into the way that others communicate online. We’re fans of grammar tests, as we believe that first impressions count – particularly when so much is done by email and virtual comms today.

3.     Skills-based tests

If you are seeking a particular skill – be it design-based, quantity surveyors, or other, setting a skills-based scenario up online is a great way to evaluate a candidate. You can either set a general test, suitable for evaluating between candidates, or use a tailored test if you’re searching for a very specific set of skills (Liam Neeson style skills optional!).

4.     Communication style

Does your company use text-based comms, or perhaps a virtual network? Is it Google or cloud based work, or perhaps you use Slack for everything? If so, is your candidate able to pick up the business technology that you use? If so, then conducting a few preliminary questions via Slack could be a good intro to your way of working. Similarly, a face-to-face element of the interview process could include a Google hangout interview or Skype video call.

5.     Personality tests

Online formats work brilliantly for personality tests. They’re quick, easy and effective, and ideal if you’re looking for specific personality traits in your team players, or management roles. Likewise, a team full of extroverts might benefit from some introverted thinking – or you might just want another extrovert to fire up the ideas. You can also add in some telling questions about teams. Do they refill the coffee machine, or do they only drink tea? Blue Smarties? They’re crazy; stay away (joking, we love blue Smarties as much as the next crazy person!)

For candidates:

1.     A strong application

Use online application processes to your advantage! You can usually save your application in stages, so make sure you take time to write the very best application. Don’t stay up until 2am to complete it, when you’re so tired you forget to add in your qualifications, or upload your CV with the application form. Silly things happen when you’ve been staring into a screen for hours. Spell check and grammar check – and go back and read it all again before you hit submit (at least three times).

2.     Slow down in skills tests

Increasingly popular are online skills-based tests and personality tests. Whether it’s a simple test of construction terminology, or a test of creativity in problem solving, take your time to read the questions carefully. Don’t try and second-guess online questions, it’s not worth it. Definitely don’t Google the answer – ever! Like teachers, recruiters have seen it all before. Make sure – as always – you re-read everything before you hit the submit button. Time is not money when you rush!

3.     Plan for Skype or Google video calls

As well as an old fashioned IRL interview (that’s In Real Life, for those of us over 13), there are plenty of positives to an online meeting. Firstly, it saves you money getting to an interview, as well as travel time. Just remember to always tidy your office, or sit in front of a relatively plain wall. You don’t want an interviewer to be distracted by photos of you and your crew half naked in Ibiza in the background… Or your family Christmas photo in matching Christmas jumpers (here’s ours). Save that one for when you’ve got the job!

4.     Be prepared

Be prepared for your online interview. As well as tidying your work area, or kitchen table, make sure you have everything you could need to hand. Write down answers to tricky questions and BluTack them to your table. Have your CV printed out with your key achievements underlined, so that you can reference them easily when asked. Make sure you also have a glass of water nearby. You will, without doubt, regret it if you don’t. No-one wants a coughing fit in an interview.

5.     Follow-up positively

If a company works using virtual networks and remote working they’ll be used to all sorts of digital disasters. Don’t panic. Stay calm. Regardless of whether your connection timed out, or your nan interrupted your Skype with a cup of tea, you should still follow-up in a positive way by email (or a call if you were interviewed by phone). Thank interviewers for their time and patience (if needed). And if you REALLY want the job make it clear; tell them you want it. Similarly – if you don’t get the job stay positive (we’ve got your back). Many, many opportunities come from connections made in interviews – whether virtual or IRL.

Our award-winning construction permanent and temporary recruitment specialists are committed to helping each of our candidates find their dream job. Contact us in confidence, register or send us your CV and let’s get started.

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