Guidelines on assessing candidates remotely

The following guidelines have been developed for recruiting managers to follow when interviewing and assessing candidates remotely via video conferencing.  These guidelines focus on the practicalities of interviewing remotely and are in addition to the University's recruitment and selection procedures which should still be followed.

Key links you may also want to view in line with this document are:

Preparing for interview

1. Ensure the candidate is informed in advance (at the point of invitation) which video conferencing software will be used e.g - Skype, Google Hangouts.  This will ensure they have adequate time to ensure they have access to the software and can familiarise themselves with it.

2. When setting the interview schedule, allow more time in between interviews and for the actual interviews themselves, to allow for any technical delays before or during the interview. 

3. Ensure you and your fellow panel members are familiar with the video software you will be using.  University guidance on video conferencing can be found on the IT Services website.  You should also take the time to ensure your camera and microphone are working.

4. Make sure the candidate has clear instructions on how to join the interview and at what time.  For example, if Google Hangouts is being used, ensure the candidate has been sent the correct link to join in advance.  If you are using Skype, make it clear that you will call the candidate.

5. Prepare your environment - ensure you will have no distractions during the interview.  Also, try to ensure you are set up in a neutral environment so the candidate will not be distracted by anything in the background.

6. Have a pre-meeting with your fellow panel members to agree how the interview will run.  The Chair of the panel will need to direct the interview from start to end to ensure no confusion and interruptions.  For example, the chair should indicate who will be asking the next question(s) and ask panel members to indicate at the end of each of the candidates answers if they have any follow up questions.

7. If you would normally carry out some form of assessment activity e.g a micro teach, in-tray exercise or a presentation consider how you will approach this remotely.  With some creative thinking and adjustments, it should be feasible for candidates to undertake many assessment activities remotely. However, additional thought may need to be given to the approach to ensure it will still be an effective form of assessment.  If you need any support with this, please contact your link HR team

8. Reasonable adjustments - If HR have identified that a candidate will require reasonable adjustments for a disability, take the time to discuss this with your link HR team so the interview process can be adapted to include agreed reasonable adjustments.

During the interview

1. As with a face to face interview, introduce the panel members and let the candidate know how the interview will run.  In particular, make the candidate aware of how the panel members will indicate if they have a follow up question (raising a hand after the candidate has finished speaking, or typing in the text box).  This is so they expect it during the interview and are not distracted by it.

2. Make the candidate and all panel members aware that they should mute their microphone if they are not speaking to avoid interference.

3. Make it clear to the candidate what they should do if they get cut off at any time.  For example, if Google Hangouts is being used then they should rejoin as soon as possible.  If Skype is being used, make it clear that you will call them back.  It would be worth confirming a contact number and email address with the candidate at the start of the interview in case the connection is completely lost.

4. Remain personable - remote interviews can feel awkward as it is a lot harder to pick up on body language cues.  To overcome this:

  • look into the camera as a way to replicate eye contact;
  • allow for any time lags / delays in signal by waiting a few seconds after speaking for a response before you move on.

5. Ensure the interview is sticking to schedule.  

6. Consider having a soft copy of the questions to hand so you can share each question individually on the screen when it is being asked to ensure the candidate has the full question.

After the interview

1. As per the usual R&S process, it is important that you assess each candidate after their interview so it is fresh in your mind.  Set up a separate meeting with the panel to do this so there is no chance the candidate can accidently hear your discussions.

2. Take the opportunity between interviews to get up from your desk, move around and get some fresh air.

Checking the eligibility of the successful candidate

Although it may not be possible to physically check the successful candidates eligibility documentation, please ensure a remote check still takes place as follows:

1. Ask the appointed candidate to scan a copy of their passport to the recruiting manager.  

2. The recruiting manager should then hold a video call with the person and ask them to hold up their passport so the recruiting manager can do another check.  

3. The recruiting manager should still make sure they see the original document before the appointed candidate physically sets foot in the workplace.  

4. If you have any concerns with the eligibility of the candidate, or the documentation they have provided, please flag this immediately to the People Directorate Operations team:

Guidance created April 2020