Adjusting Your Interview Approach for COVID-19

Hiring managers and recruiters have been going through a state of extreme change over the past couple months in response to new and unavoidable working conditions. In addition to working remotely, the process of conducting an interview now also has to be done from a distance, and will require a COVID-19 era overhaul.

At this point, it is pretty much a given that interviews will not be done in-person for the foreseeable future. However, there are a few more adjustments that can be made to your upcoming interviews in order to make the most out of the process and ensure you hire the right candidates. Whether you are screening candidates for a client or interviewing a prospect yourself, we have gathered some tips for conducting a great remote interview during COVID-19 (and beyond).

The Interview Format


Isolation measures have been in place for several weeks now, and they are likely to remain there for a while, even after the worst of the outbreak has passed. In compliance with this, getting comfortable with conducting your interviews from a distance is a good skill to get down pat.

Just because you may be hosting your next several interviews over the phone or via video conferencing technology does not mean that they should be seen as more casual or that they don’t need as much preparation. In fact, the opposite is true. In a fluctuating hiring market you should strive to bring the same level of professionalism to each interview as you normally would, if not more – remote recruiting does not mean your company’s reputation should be compromised.

This means setting up a dedicated workspace to conduct your interviews, preparing your questions ahead of time and not simply ‘winging’ it and speaking in a professional manner. Being prepared comes across in your delivery and tone of voice, while maintaining a great candidate experience is very important right now.

If, under special circumstances, you do conduct the interview in person, be sure to enforce social distancing measures and have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as hand sanitizer available. At the end of the day, your health and the health of your candidates is the most important thing.

The Questions You Ask

While the technical questions surrounding the position itself will largely remain the same, some of the specifics that you ask your candidates will have to be adjusted in two ways.

First, getting to know someone over the phone or a video call is more difficult, so you may want to ask more introspective and personality-based questions in order to gain a better sense of who the candidate is. A certain human element is removed when you aren’t able to meet someone in person, because you can’t read body language or establish much rapport, so you may have to dig a little deeper.

Second, you will have to adjust your interview questions to reflect any changes to the nature of your workplace and position, as well as the qualities that you will need in a candidate. For example, if your workplace will now include remote workers, you might want to ask about their ability to work independently or their communication skills. You may also want to know how they deal with challenges, so asking them how they have been handling the quarantine could elucidate their conflict resolution abilities. Changing your interview questions to reflect the realities of your current situation is a must.

Make Necessary Adjustments to Your Hiring Timeline

Because you are likely going to be missing the in-person aspect of the interview, it may be beneficial to take some more time to make sure you hire the best person possible. Sales Director at management firm TripActions Brandon Binder says this about his remote interviewing approach: “I’m interested in really getting to know the people I interview, and since we can’t meet face-to-face, I’m willing to invest additional time over video calls so that we can go deeper and have real conversations.”

Candidates and employers alike are operating at a somewhat more flexible level during this uncertain time, so take a little longer with your hiring if you need it. As long as you communicate the changes to the hiring timeline with your clients as well as prospective candidates, they should be understanding about the extended process. The bottom line is that you want to make sure the person you hire is going to fit in with the rest of the team, and if that takes a few more calls, then so be it.

Mindscope is here to help our clients navigate the outbreak of COVID-19 and offer support so that your recruiting efforts can continue to go off without a hitch. If you need more advice or are interested in learning how an applicant tracking system can help you during this time, contact us today.

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