As many of us are close to day 30 of working from home and figuring out how to effectively navigate this new COVID-19 environment, the impact on human resources and recruiting has been immense. While many companies have had to lay off or furlough employees, others have found themselves in unchartered territory – requiring an entirely different workforce as services and labor have shifted to meet new customer demands.

A main element of hiring and recruiting has ceased – in-person, human-to-human interactions. Being able to meet the candidate face-to-face, have them connect with team members and even see their potential work environment, are all elements recruiters can no longer rely on. Even though you are forced to make this shift to virtual human relations, there are ways to make the most of digital interviews during this time.


Prepare as you would for an in-person interview, and then some. In addition to prepping questions and conducting additional research on the candidate, you will need to make sure your technical set up is effective and professional.

If you work for a large company, chances are you already have a digital system set up in house that you can simply plug into. However, smaller companies may need to set up a system from scratch, which may take more time and preparation.

  • Test your sound and lighting. Make sure you aren’t in shadows and that volume is working on both sides.
  • Many small-to-medium sized businesses are using Zoom, a free online resource for video conferencing. Paid subscriptions are also available, including GoToMeeting and Google Meet. These online platforms vary in terms of privacy protection, so be sure to research appropriately to find a solution that works best for your company.
  • Don’t use a headset for interviews. Your computer’s audio should output the clearest audio resolution.

In addition to technical elements, be sure to prepare thoughtful questions as you would for a traditional interview. A positive outcome of digital interviews is that they tend to be more time-efficient, however do not let this impact the quality of the personal connection.

  1. Assess your traditional interview questions to make sure they still work in a digital interview. You may need to alter some to elicit more in-depth responses in a shorter time frame.
  2. Make time for a personal touch. Given the medium (and current environment), it is important to allow for enough time for introductions and to get to know the candidate. Be sure to acknowledge the process and be prepared to answer specific questions about onboarding and working if hired during the stay-at-home order.

Pay attention to details

Setting up an at-home space may require some additional preparation. In addition to dressing professionally or as you would if you were conducting interviews in the office, pay attention to the background the interviewee will see in the video.

  • Opt for a room or space that is free of clutter or any distractions (even bookshelves). If you have a blank wall or plain backdrop, those tend to work best to keep the candidate focused.
  • Prepare your computer desktop. If you are screen sharing at any point during the interview, make sure your computer desktop does not have any personal tabs or screens open that may be accidentally clicked. You may also want to disable any text messages or notifications that may pop up.
  • In addition to background distractions, pay attention to child, pet or partner interference. If you are caring for a child during this time, try to schedule your interview during nap time or when your partner can help.

Get creative

The opportunity for the candidate to meet his or her potential coworkers and see the office environment may not be possible during digital interviews. Ideally, your company is already focused on employer branding, and you have assets to share that will help paint a picture of your corporate culture. Before the interview, send the candidate links to your social media platforms, share previously created company videos and testimonials from clients or employees.

If you lack strong assets, now is the time to get creative!

  • Have your top employees record a video testimonial or short intro about what it’s like to work for your company and share it with the candidate before or after the interview.
  • Beef up your social media by featuring some of your best work or share how you’ve best served your clients.
  • Record a virtual tour. If you’re able, go to your office and record a quick video walk-through of the office to share with the candidate.
  • Schedule additional video interviews with team members or managers for candidates you are seriously considering.

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve and change on a daily, if not hourly, basis, it is essential to be as flexible and innovative as possible as you shift and manage hiring strategies. The team at VIZI will continue to share helpful tips, strategies and ideas to support you in navigating this changing environment.