Beringer Tame Blog

Top Tips- How to hire remotely & conduct successful video interviews

Filed in:
Insight, Tips And Advice

Lightbulb moment

I was recently interviewed in the press about how candidates could best prepare for video interviews and it got me thinking.... how many businesses are now having to run a hiring process remotely given the current global situation with COVID-19?  

Hiring remotely is something that, as an ecommerce recruiter, I already have a lot of experience with. In fact, a lot of what we do on a daily basis is done remotely so I'm here to share some of my best tips & tricks with you.

What is the difference between hiring face-to-face and remotely?

It's a good question and one that I have been asked a multitude of times.  Many people seem to think that moving to this format is going to make things harder, when in reality not much really changes... other than the absence of the first stage interviews taking place on-site.  Even during these times of social distancing, a final stage interview could be done face-to-face if the right precautions were taken. Essentially, whether you're interviewing face-to-face or online, most of the process remains the same - you are still looking for the candidate to showcase their experience and skills so you can assess their suitability for the role.

Think differently

Now, there is evidence that we tend to hire people like ourselves. We like people who think and behave like us  and make us feel comfortable. It's usually unconscious - just human nature - but there really is no place for it in recruitment.  Successful teams are made up of many different types of people (introvert, extrovert, creative, strategic, empathic etc) and these contrasts in personality facilitate wider thinking and more successful business decision making. 

So what's my point?

"By interviewing remotely, you can be less emotional and more objective freeing you up to find the best individual for the job and the business."

The successful candidate should always be the one who matches the skillset and experience required by the role - not necessarily the one you'd like to take to the pub for a drink after work .. but if you find someone who fits both, you're really on to a winner.

8 Top Tips on How to Hire Remotely

  1. Choose a solid video interview platform and send the candidate clear instructions for use
  2. Make a brief call to the candidate prior to interview for an informal chat 
  3. Schedule the interview in your calendar with mulitiple reminders and send reminder to the candidate 
  4. Prepare your interview space - tidy up, set up, test equipment, be ready
  5. Get yourself in 'zone' & re-familiarise yourself with the candidate by re-reading their CV
  6. Have all of your notes ready and accessible
  7. Be ready to coach the interviewee through the process so they can put their best foot forward
  8. Build rapport quickly through informal questions and put the candidate at ease

Pre Interview

It's harder to build a rapport over a virtual platform. You can't read body language in the same way or pick up on the little nuances that a face-to-face meeting gives you, so it's important to develop some kind of chemistry with the candidate prior to the interview to make them more comfortable on the day.  This will inevitably lead to a more productive discussion and a better candidate experience.


1) Send the candidate clear & concise interview instructions & advice

Make sure they know which video collaboration tool they will be using. Do they need to download it? How do they use it (chat/mute/sharing functionality).

2) Make a brief (15 mins) & informal phone call to the candidate a few days before the interview

If you do nothing else, do this!  I promise it will be invaluable and time well spent. The candidate will be off-guard with their barriers down so they'll (likely) be more open to an informal chat vs being in interview mode. 

3) Ask the candidate 2 or 3 questions to get to know them

  • Is there anything they'd like to understand about the job prior to the interview? Get insight into what part of the job spec wasn't clear or that they're most interested in.

  • What is their current situation?  Are they furloughed or working? Understand how their life is working at the moment.

  • Have they interviewed elsewhere? Understand what processes they're involved with and who your competition is.

  • What are their interests? Discover what makes them tick and what they love to do outside of work. It's an opportunity to discuss the lesser discussed 'hobbies' part of their CV.

Interview Day

DO NOT FORGET THE INTERVIEW.  You'd be surprised how many people, hiring managers and candidates alike, forget.  Yes really!  If the interviewer doesn't have to book a meeting room, order refreshments or ask colleagues to meet and greet a candidate, an interview is easy to forget.  Equally, if an interviewee does not need to pre-plan their travel or find the best head-to-toe outfit to wear, it makes the interview equally easy to miss. So make sure you do everything you can to avoid potential embarrassment.


1) Put the interview details in your calendar and set (multiple) reminders

This way you won't forget the details and you can also send a 'gentle' reminder to your candidate too. 

2) Make a good first impression

Give yourself time to get your interview space ready (as you would if you were running a face-to-face interview).

3) Prepare yourself

Be early, make sure your tech is working and have all your documentation organised and accessible. Read the candidate's CV and remind yourself of important details shared during the pre-interview call. Look through the job description and have your interview questions ready.   

During Interview

Building rapport is vital for any interview and can be much harder during an online meeting. Have a few informal questions ready to help relax the candidate (did they have a holiday planned prior to lockdown? Where were they going?  What have they been doing during lockdown to keep sane) and share your own experiences.


1) Coach, don't catch-out

You want to get the best from any candidate, so create the best experience by giving them every opportunity to do their best. Explain at the start of the interview how the time will be managed, as well as how and when to ask questions. Setting expectations upfront will only help.

2) Advise them on how they should sit in front of the camera

You want to be able to see their head and torso - rather than be looking up their nose. 

3) Check the tech works and test microphones

Make sure you can see, hear and understand each other.  It is a good idea to agree upfront that you will end the interview and reschedule if the quality of the connection is not good enough or becomes poor during the session.

4) Introduce the candidate to any other people who may be in the room

Explain who they are and their role.

5) Place your notes at eye level

They should be out of camera shot and (ideally) at eye level so you don't need to keep looking down.

6) Minimise your own image

We all know how hard it is not to look at ourselves on screen and check our hair looks ok etc.  By minimising your own image you will be focussed purely on the candidate.  Again, this may seem obvious, but it is amazing how many people don't do this. 

7) Turn off any email or instant messaging notifications

Do not have anything open on your computer other than the interview - do not get distracted.

So panic not.  If anything, remote hiring could discipline you into being a BETTER hiring manager.  There is less room for building chemistry with the usual handshake and quick chat at the coffee machine, so you are likely to be less hubristic, more rigorous and more diligent.  This doesn't mean that rapport isn't important - it is vital - but being on the other side of a screen will give you a more autonomous, less emotional response.

Think differently.  Have confidence.  Be a better hiring manager!

Coverage on this blog can also be found in;

PA Life – 06.08.20; Hiring remotely done right ‘could make you a better hiring manager’

London Loves Business – 06.08.20; Hiring remotely done right could make you a better hiring manager


Think about things differently

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