Recruitment was turned on its head during the Covid-19 pandemic, with more people than ever working from home. We all had to get used to Zoom meetings rather than meeting colleagues in person, and getting applicants for a job into the office for an interview became impossible too. Remote recruitment poses its challenges, and even as we move back into having more people in the office, many employers are retaining remote recruitment as a way of cutting costs and time. But are there any disadvantages to recruiting in this way for either recruiter or candidate?


You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression

It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s also true. Experts estimate that it only takes seven seconds for your interviewer to form an impression of you, and this is mostly based on your body language, eye contact or handshake. All of that is missing from online recruitment which can make it much harder for the interviewer to assess the candidate, and for the candidate to form a relationship with the other people in the room. There are ways of conducting effective interviews remotely though, so think about the following issues:

  • Location – if you’ve been invited to a virtual interview, it’s essential that you find somewhere calm and quiet to sit. A busy background full of clutter can be distracting, and make sure your lighting is good. This is not the tine to take advantage of the coffee shop free wi-fi. Keep other members of the family well out of the way, including pets and small children.
  • Technical Issues – The phrase we’ve all heard in the pandemic is “you’re on mute” – when someone can’t make themselves heard on video calls. If your interview is going to be carried out over a platform you haven’t used before, take the opportunity to have a dry run or practice beforehand so you know what you’re doing. If things do go wrong during the call, don’t panic. Showing that you can react well to something unexpected happening gives a good impression to the interviewer.
  • Focus – It’s very easy to get distracted in an online call when the person isn’t directly in front of you. Your job as an applicant in a virtual interview situation is to show that you are listening and interested, by doing things like smiling, nodding, and maintaining eye contact. Try not to fiddle with anything on your desk or appear to be drifting off as the interviewer speaks.


Checks for People Recruited Remotely

Arguably, it’s even more important to thoroughly check the backgrounds of people who you recruit remotely and who you haven’t been able to meet in person. There are lots of ways of doing this, and many companies prefer to use an external checking company rather than manage the process in-house. The level of checking will usually depend on the level of the position – a more senior position will require detailed checks, whereas an entry level position might just have their references checked.