How to recruit for jobs remotely

Finding the right person for the job means changing up the recruitment process as video interviews and more applications become the new normal.
How to recruit for jobs remotely Finding the right candidate might take longer. Image Shutterstock.

Brooke Boland

Monday 27 April, 2020

COVID-19 has changed all the rules and recruitment is no exception. Gone are the face-to-face interviews as everyone adapts to digital tools to find the best candidate.

For hiring managers who are unfamiliar with recruiting online, the true version of the interviewee isn't clear. How can we hire someone without the usual firm handshake and five seconds of good eye-contact?

But you can’t quarantine important hires. We all need to get on with the job at hand, especially when timelines are at stake and employees need job security.

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So what’s the best way to recruit the right person for the job? Here’s some advice for organisations as well as candidates.

Allow for more time

The truth is, you can’t cut any corners. In fact, the process may even take longer than usual and you should prepare yourself for this.

‘Organisations should go into the process allowing for longer and having more meetings because it can be really hard to get to know someone only via video interviews,’ said Sharon Davies, Managing Director of Talent Propeller.

‘What I recommend is that you add perhaps one or two more interviews, so it assists in helping people relax a little bit more, and see more of their character and personality. Some of those might be formal interviews, some of them could be informal. That could add a week to the process.’

At the same time, you should manage candidates expectations as early as possible and let them know to expect a longer process than usual.

Get creative with how you interview

Recruiting remotely is also a good time to get creative with the way you ask people to apply. Video CVs, questionnaires, or asking shortlisted applicants to respond to a creative prompt are all ways to introduce something a little different to the process.

But this doesn’t mean that candidates should prepare any differently for the interview. Whether over videoconferencing or on the phone, the traditional set of interview questions are still likely to be asked.

The camera strips emotion

One of the biggest differences with videoconferencing interviews is how candidates appear to the interviewer. Candidates (and those hiring) need to consider even more than usual how they will convey their personality over video.

Read: 11 dos and don'ts of videoconferencing 

If you are the one being interviewed via videoconferencing, consider the angle of the camera and what the lighting is like. Davies recommends doing a trial run with a friend to iron out any issues.

‘The camera strips emotion. So, you have to overdo your smile for it to come across…the animation is really critical because you can't read emotions. And so, if you just come across as yourself, it actually makes you come across like you're a bit subdued or angry. So, taking the time to understand how you come off on-camera will help your chances,’ said Davies.

Be prepared for more applications than usual

Another trend Davies highlighted is the unusual number of applicants applying for jobs. ‘Where a role would have received 20 applications in the past, we are realistically looking at 100, maybe more applications now,’ she said.

This means companies and hiring managers should consider what they can do to streamline the process so it remains professional for the candidate. ‘That's something that people don't often think about, but the reality is there’s suddenly four times more applications. Ask yourself, how are you set up to handle those?’ Davies added.

About the author

Brooke Boland is a freelance writer based on the South Coast of NSW. She has a PhD in literature from the University of NSW. You can find her on Instagram @southcoastwriter.