Remote Interviews: Tips for the Present and Future

For many of us the use of Microsoft Teams, Zoom and other video conferencing platforms has become the ‘new norm’.  Over the last few weeks, employees from a range of business have gone from reluctant participants in online meetings to enthusiastic and expressive contributors in what is now one of the few means of communication with the world outside our own homes.

Whilst for some sectors, the ability to continue recruitment is not possible until the economic forecast becomes more certain, for others, the need to have the right people in place to respond to the challenges presented by the crisis is a major priority. As people become more comfortable and accustomed to communicating by video link, those businesses that are continuing to hire are presented with the opportunity to carry out a virtual recruitment process.

Interviewing remotely presents some additional advantages for candidates and employees alike.  As a candidate you may feel more relaxed in a familiar environment, without the stress of getting lost en route to interview or being spotted at a prospective employer’s office.  There is also an option for a virtual run through.  Candidates may wish to record themselves in a mock interview and get feedback from friends or family.

As an employer you can record the interviews and review the footage to measure candidates’ performance.  These recordings can be shared with a colleague to gain a second opinion.

However, the use of video link interviews accentuates the needs for a different kind of preparation. Below are some useful tips for both candidate and employer:


Check your set-up

Ensure that the technology platform, webcam, and speakers are working well, but also make sure you have a professional and tidy background visible during the video interview. Ensure the room is well lit and will be free of interruptions. Dress professionally, avoiding bright colours, and place your phone on silent.

Connect with your interviewer in advance

It is advisable to connect on LinkedIn and make sure you exchange phone information, so you have a backup in case technology does fail.

Be aware of energy and body language

The reason why video interviews have yet to become commonplace is the concern over replicating the energy of a live face to face meeting.  Therefore in order to conduct a successful virtual interview make sure that you smile, make eye contact, and speak clearly and enthusiastically. When listening, nod and smile to show you are engaged and use hand gestures when appropriate.

Making use of your desk

Unlike in a face to face meeting, a video interview allows you to make use of what the person at the other end does not see.  Use post-it reminders, a pad of paper to write notes, e.g., look at the webcam, smile, or even reminders of key examples to use.


Confined to our homes at present, many of us relish the opportunity to conduct face to face interviews again.  In the meantime, making use of the tips above could prove key to gaining your next role or making your next appointment.

There is the distinct possibility that as a result of our lockdown many business activities that automatically took a certain form, may change.  The interview process may well fall into this category.  It is likely that the ‘new norm’ will mean that in the future at least one stage of an interview process will be conducted remotely.  It seems inevitable that the tips given today will be useful beyond the current crisis.


Rutherford Cross handles permanent and interim opportunities with businesses across Scotland and the UK.  To find out more about these positions, or about our events programme, contact [email protected]