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Virtual interviews: top tips for success

Emilia Carden from our workforce category team shares some top tips to help you successfully carry out virtual interviews.

While some office-based staff are returning to the workplace, many public sector organisations are continuing to work remotely, and social distancing measures mean this could remain the case for some time. In fact, for a lot of organisations, remote working could become the ‘new normal’ for some or all of their employees. This means that organisations will have to adapt not just to a new way of working, but also to recruiting and onboarding new employees remotely. 

Some of the tips shared in this blog might seem pretty obvious, but it is all too often that the simplest of things that can trip you up. Make sure you are well prepared and a technical hitch won’t mean you lose out on a great candidate. Whether interviews are face-to-face or online, planning is the key to success.


  • what technology are you planning to use? 
    • make sure it is a platform that is easily and freely accessible to your candidates, for example, Skype, Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams
    • if you chose a platform that you don’t normally use in your day-to-day work make sure you (and all your interview panel members) can access it from your work computer – and make sure you know how to use it
  • consider a quick test call with candidates and the interview panel ahead of the actual interview to make sure there are no technical glitches:
    • this will help ensure that you are well prepared and can give a great first impression of your organisation
    • importantly, it will also help ensure that candidates feel confident and focus on giving their best at the interview – not worrying about the technology
  • have a backup plan, such as a conference call number, in case the technology fails you on the day – unfortunately, we all know that this can happen

Sifting candidates

  • a first stage of phone interviews can be a good way to help you create a shortlist if you have lots of candidates to consider – and then you can invite your shortlist to a more in-depth interview

Interview panel

  • have the same panel members for all your interviews if you can – you will build a better rapport between the panel and the interviews will flow better
  • have a pre-interview session with panel members to go over your planned interview format, questions and scoring:
    • it’s a good idea to agree in advance who will ask what questions and the roles each panel member will have

Before the interview

  • decide if you want to record the interviews to help you review candidates: 
    • if you do, check your chosen technology platform can do that and that you know how to do it
    • tell your candidates in advance that you plan to record the interview so they don’t feel ambushed and self-conscious – and give them the opportunity to opt out 
  • agree in advance if you expect everyone to have their cameras on – it will certainly help you build a rapport and read their body language, so should be encouraged

We’re here to help

I hope you find these tips useful. For more advice and guidance on recruitment email the team or fill in our short online form and one of our commercial experts will get back to you. 

You can also explore our full range of workforce frameworks and the latest news on our new dedicated workforce web page.


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