Conducting Interviews at a Distance

Conducting interviews by video conference

  • Choose a quiet, distraction-free space.
  • Test your microphone, speakers, and video camera before the interview to troubleshoot possible issues in advance.
  • Make sure you have a strong internet connection.
  • Be friendly and use non-verbal clues, such as nodding, to show you're listening. 
  • Look at the camera, not at the screen. This is the equivalent of maintaining eye contact.
  • Be aware of the camera position and check what appears behind you on the screen. Check that the lighting and camera angle are appropriate.
  • Wear a solid colour if possible.
  • Ask the interviewee if they can hear clearly, and that they can interject to let you know if they can't.
  • Be consistent. Ask the same questions as you are asking your in-person applicants, and give the same amount of time to answer. 
  • Keep a notebook available to write down responses or questions.
  • Be patient. Distance interviews sometimes have glitches. Plan for unforeseen disruptions: let the interviewee know in advance what will happen if the connection drops. For example, you might agree to continue on the telephone or reschedule.

Conducting interviews by phone

  • Smile - it comes through the line.
  • If a panel is conducting the interview, introduce yourselves at the beginning of the interview so that the interviewee knows who is on the call.
  • Ask the interviewee if they can hear clearly, and that they can interject to let you know if they can't.
  • Be consistent. Ask the same questions as you are asking your in-person applicants, and give the same amount of time to answer.