Coronavirus: information and updates

Job interviews over phone or video

Remote interviews are when you are not in the same place as the people interviewing you. This can be a voice call or a video call.

You might be invited to a remote interview because it's

  • the first of several interview stages
  • cheaper and easier for employers

Remote interviews have become more common during coronavirus. Many employers are following social distancing guidelines when they recruit new staff.

Warning Find out about the interview

Get advance information about the remote interview format, including clear instructions about how to access video calls. This will help you to prepare and work out if you need reasonable adjustments to make the interview accessible.

Types of remote interview

Voice calls

Where you have a conversation with the interviewers. This is often a telephone call.

Video calls

Where you have a conversation on camera. The interviewers will be able to see you. Some employers use free apps that you will need to download like:

If the employer uses Microsoft Teams, you can sign in as a guest using the link in the meeting invitation. You can ask for a test meeting in advance if that would help.

Remote assessments

Some employers use assessments during remote interviews to test an applicant's skills. Assessment tasks vary. These will depend on the skills needed for the job.

Tasks can include:

  • role plays
  • presentations
  • case study exercises
  • email inbox exercises
  • using spreadsheets

Preparing for a remote interview

The employer should give you the information you need when they invite you for a remote interview. Ask for more details if you’re not sure.

Know the interview arrangements

Make sure you know:

  • the date and time of the interview
  • whether it is a telephone or video call
  • how to access the interview
  • if you need to prepare anything before your interview, like a presentation

You could also ask who is going to be interviewing you.

Set up the room for a video call

Try to make the room as quiet and private as you can. This may mean talking to the people you live with or helping children to play somewhere else. Shut the doors and windows.

Make sure that you have a reliable internet connection. This could mean checking that no one else in your home is using the internet for anything that might slow it down. For example, video streaming. Also, try to have:

  • a stable surface to keep your device still
  • a comfortable chair
  • good lighting
  • a neutral and tidy background
  • smart interview clothes
  • a drink nearby

If you cannot find a space with a neutral or tidy background, you may be able to blur your background or use a background image.

Google Meet: How to change background (YouTube)

Microsoft Teams: using background images (Office 365 blog)

Skype: How do I customise my background (Skype support)

Zoom: Virtual backgrounds (Zoom)

Make sure that you have a reliable internet connection. This could mean checking that no one else in your home is using the internet for anything that might slow it down. For example, video streaming.

Get to know the technology

Before a video call, get to know the technology you will be using.

If you can:

  • install the video call platform to your device
  • check how to switch on your camera and audio
  • have a practice call with a family member or friend
  • share your screen if you need to do a presentation

If you cannot use the same video call platform as the interviewer, use a different one so you can test your microphone and camera.

How to set up and test microphones (Microsoft)

Fix microphone problems (Microsoft)

Control access to your microphone on Mac (Apple)

Prepare what you're going to say

Prepare the same as you would for any interview. Even though you will not be meeting the interviewers, this is still a formal conversation. You will want to present yourself positively and professionally.

  • Think about the skills and experience you would like to discuss.
  • Research the employer online.

Interviewing for a job

Asking for reasonable adjustments

Under the Equality Act 2010 (GOV.UK), employers must make reasonable adjustments for disabled applicants. This means you have the right to ask for changes that will enable you to access the remote interview process.

Examples of reasonable adjustments might include:

  • extra time to complete assessment tasks
  • another person to assist you with setting up technology
  • changing the interview time
  • having a personal assistant (PA) or friend there to support you

A different video conferencing app

If a different video conferencing app would be more accessible to you, this could also be a reasonable adjustment. You could also ask to have a telephone interview instead.

Best video conferencing apps and software for accessibility (Big Hack by Scope)

Live captions and sign language interpreters

If your condition makes it hard to hear what people are saying, live captions or a sign language interpreter could be a reasonable adjustment.

Some systems have live captioning. You can ask for this to be turned on during the interview. These include:

  • Microsoft Teams
  • Google Meet

If you have a hearing impairment, adjustments could include live captions or an interpreter from a service such as:

Help with interviews and finding work

Support to Work is our free online and telephone support programme for disabled people in England and Wales who are applying for jobs.

We ask you about the roles you are applying for so that we can support you. We offer:

  • coaching on interview technique
  • mock video interviews
  • advice on preparing for different types of interviews and assessments

Last reviewed by Scope on: 08/07/2020

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