How to Conduct a Job Interview in the Social Distancing Era

A virtual interview platform can enable interviews at a distance — and bring new efficiencies to the process.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommend staying at least 6 feet away from other people – better yet, limiting close contact indoors with people outside of your household. CDC also recommends cloth masks anytime you go out in public, and, when possible, to work from home. Social distancing is effective for helping to stop the spread of coronavirus – but it’s not conducive when you’re trying to decide how to conduct a job interview in 2020.

Kevin Parker, Chairman and CEO at HireVue, says although traditional in-person interviews aren’t currently feasible or safe, software developers and other IT solutions providers may not be able to put them off.

“The United States has nearly one million open IT jobs,” says Parker. “Given the current hiring landscape, in which many companies still need to hire or will need to rapidly rehire furloughed employees once economies reopen, virtual interviews are the ideal solution.”

What You Need to Know About Virtual Interviews

Parker points out virtual interviewing isn’t new, Virtual interviews were already a rapidly growing part of the hiring experience, but HireVue has seen additional growth of virtual interviews as interviewing and hiring continue during the pandemic.

The benefits of virtual interviews, whenever you use them, include:

  • Time: It can take several months – or longer – for recruiters and hiring managers to fill a technology or developer position, but virtual interviewing can streamline and shorten that process.
  • Elimination of Bias: When combined with consistent, structured interviewing and pre-hire assessments, virtual interviewing can level the playing field by mitigating unconscious human bias. “This can open opportunities for developers in underserved communities to succeed,” Parker says.
  • Data-based decisions and visibility: With the right tools, you can improve your current interview process, as well as the likelihood of a good hire. A virtual interview platform lets you manage job analysis and assessment designs, pre-interview assessment results, analysis of soft skills such as communication and collaboration and candidate fit analysis.

How to Conduct a Job Interview Virtually

In many ways, software developers should approach a virtual interview like a traditional in-person interview, preparing for discussions of the applicant’s hard and soft skills, talent and potential.

However, there here are some additional preparations both interviewers and interviewees should make for virtual interviews. Parker offers the following tips regarding:

  • Where you interview: “Location is important! In our new work-from-home world, it’s important to find a quiet location where you can devote the time needed to complete the interview,” says Parker. “Whether it’s a home office, spare bedroom or at the kitchen table, great interviews can be completed almost anywhere and any time of day or night.”
  • How to schedule. “Most on-demand interviews take 20 to 30 minutes, but always add an extra fifteen minutes so there’s no need to rush,” he says.
  • Lighting: “This isn’t a screen test and you don’t need a film studio, but it’s important not to sit with your back to a window or a bright light source,” Parker comments. “Try to find a location where the bright light from a window or a lamp isn’t behind you, which can make it difficult for the camera to read your face.”
  • Test equipment in advance: “The great thing about virtual interviews is that they can be completed on a PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. As long as it has a front-facing camera and audio capabilities, it can likely be used for your virtual interview. That said, it’s always a good idea to test your gear before starting the process,” Parker advises.

Discover New and Better Hiring Processes

Beyond simply solving the problem of how to get to know potential hires without meeting in person, virtual interviewing also has the potential to transform the way companies discover, hire, and develop talent. These platforms expand your reach for potential candidates and enhance processes and decision-making through structured interviewing and science-based pre-hire assessments.

“I anticipate virtual interviewing will remain a permanent part of the hiring process for companies that utilize it during COVID-19,” Parker says. “Hiring managers are realizing the advantages it brings, including making scheduling more efficient, enhanced flexibility for candidates to record interviews after hours, and the ability for hiring managers to review assessments outside of normal business hours.”

“Virtual interviewing will continue to drive a new process for job applicants and hiring managers that make their jobs more efficient and effective,” he says.


Visit HireVue for information on CodeVue, its AI-driven solution for technical hiring for careers such as software developers and engineers. HireVue’s technical assessment solution allows candidates to  demonstrate  their ability to code consistently and objectively ensures they have the right skills to succeed in a role.

Mike Monocello

The former owner of a software development company and having more than a decade of experience writing for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of DevPro Journal.

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Mike Monocello

The former owner of a software development company and having more than a decade of experience writing for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of DevPro Journal.