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Conducting a Remote Interview - It's business as usual

One word that you’ve probably heard being exchanged in the workplace these past few weeks is the ‘C-word’. Coronavirus. 

To some individuals it’s a fairly scary word carrying legitimate cause for concern and drastic measures whilst to others, it’s little more than this years' media-hyped, headline ‘buzz-word’ unnecessarily scaremongering us into becoming walking bottles of sanitiser with an unhealthy obsession for toilet roll and anything that comes in a tin.

Either way, we cannot ignore the global impact it’s having to everyday life and with the effect on the UK becoming more prevalent day-by-day, we should each be preparing alternative solutions to our professional lives, in an effort to minimise its impact. The good news is that this can be done fairly easily. 

One of the initial and important steps is equipping your team and yourself with the facilities and tools to work from home (if necessary), which, coincidentally and conveniently you can read about in our blog on Remote Working - the best tools for your team. What are the chances?

Being a Recruitment Agency, we’re acutely aware that the hiring process simply does not pause during such trying times, however, it does leave individuals on both ends feeling understandably cautious and hesitant, and that’s absolutely fine. 

The truth of the matter is that you do not have to have face-to-face contact if you do not wish to.

Aside from the classic phone call interview, which is typically only the first stage of any interview process (and rarely the sole form of contact for the entirety), there is a magnitude of applications that offer great collaborative contact and the ability to have a long-form video call, with multiple users.

Woman using laptop with headphones on

We’ve compiled some of our favourite and widely accessible tools that you can use as an interviewer or an interviewee when going through the hiring process.

Skype logo

Skype

Skype and Skype for Business are a fantastic (if not obvious) remote interview solution due to the free and widespread accessibility across multiple platforms including desktop, mobile, tablet and just about any other device with a screen these days. Like many video call applications out there in the market, it exceeds the basic small group chat and can host video conferences of up to 50 people, allowing for true collaboration and faster decision making (though that would be one intense interview).

WhatsApp Logo

WhatsApp

Although a little more informal, WhatsApp’s simplicity and popularity makes it incredibly easy to reach out to the vast majority of people in a variety of different contact methods. Only requiring the individuals' mobile number (commonly shared information during the interview process), you’ll be able to reach them over data or WiFi, by text, voice or video call. Simple.  

To add a sprinkle of professionalism into the mix you can even download WhatsApp for your desktop (providing you also have it downloaded on your mobile device) which would be a slightly better setting than holding your phone at arm's length whilst popping down to the local shops for your next shipment of Andrex and Heinz. Not judging. 

Zoom

Zoom is another great tool for video calls and video conferencing and is becoming ever more popular amongst businesses of all sizes. Unlike some other software in the market, with Zoom you’re not required to have a Zoom account login to accept a meeting request, you can simply accept a meeting (usually via email) across desktop or mobile devices which will redirect your to your browser and you’re good to go. 

You do, however, require a Zoom account login to host a meeting. So if you’re the interviewer, it’s worth signing up for free and getting familiar with the application and its broad range of features.

Google Hangouts

Originally part of Google+ (remember that?), Hangouts became a standalone product way back in 2013 and, although it isn’t yet a superstar in the more social side of media applications, it's very widely used for both personal and business use. Similarly to Zoom, a user doesn’t technically need a Google account to join a Hangouts conversation or video call (providing the host has allowed non-users to accept) so the host/participants can invite an external user by simply providing them with the link.

Although this technically works, we would heavily suggest that you set up a Google account to make full use of the Google Suite and unlock all the collaborative benefits of Hangouts, including the sharing and editing of works within Google Drive. 

Regardless of your existing or non-existing account, Google Hangouts is fantastic for video calls and screen sharing, allowing for a smooth (and surely successful) interview process across desktop and mobile devices. 

Cisco Webex Logo

Cisco Webex

Although widely used by the majority for more internal business conference solutions, Cisco Webex does greatly support the more ‘one-off’ approach too. Again, similar to Zoom and Hangouts, anybody with the internet can jump on board and begin using Webex across desktop and mobile once provided with the invitation.

Their free sign-up plan offers a pretty spectacular set of features, including up to 1GB of free cloud storage which is handy when referring back to work examples during a numerous step interview process. 

FaceTime logo

FaceTime

Like WhatsApp video call, FaceTime is slightly less formal but is straight to the point and widely recognised across most individuals. Accessibility, on the other hand, is limited to iOS users only and so, therefore, can only be accessed on iOS devices such as iPhone, iPad, iPod, Macbook or Mac Desktop. So if you’re Apple product owner with an iOS account and reside on Apple island - you’re in. 

If you don’t own or have access to an Apple product (out of preference or principal) then thankfully, you have the choice of all of the above and more at your disposal across Windows and Android. Easy.  

Two women talking

There’s very little that can be achieved in a face-to-face interview that can’t be ascertained by a decent and thorough video call. You can live screen share, transfer documents, include multiple people for collaborative decision making and much more - all for free! There really is no excuse for not conducting an online, video interview if meeting up in person isn’t a preference or option. It’s business as usual.

If the whole idea of video interviewing is still fairly new to yourself as an interviewer and you’re worried about not being completely thorough with your new prospective employee(s), you can alleviate some of those concerns by asking the candidate(s) for previous work examples and additionally setting a pre-interview task, respective to the job role. 

This way, you can ascertain a great idea of their capabilities and have them walk you through their previous work and your task/project, on a live screen share.

Man working at laptop with a coffee

Implementing these technologies and strategies will without a doubt give you the significant, competitive advantage over your competition.

Whilst many of your competitors will simply bring their recruitment drive to a complete halt over the next few weeks/months, you can capitalise on the lack of players on the field and have your pick of the top talent within your industry, whilst letting nothing hold you back from elevating your business strategy.

Utilising these technologies and techniques isn’t only beneficial to business during current affairs but is a brilliant future-proofing solution - offering you the means and capabilities to interview anybody, from anywhere at a location of your choice.