Conducting Safe Onsite Interviews Post Lockdown

by Ruth Norman on 19 July 2020
Conducting Safe Onsite Interviews Post Lockdown

Covid-19 has forced us to deal with a myriad of challenges. Now with the lifting of some lockdown restrictions, many businesses are attempting to get back to some sort of normality - including conducting person-to-person interviews. This of course presents a whole new set of issues for businesses to consider.

So, to help you to navigate through, here are some quick tips to enable you to run a safe and successful onsite interview.

Set clear expectations with the candidate in advance

Provide specific instructions for candidates so they know exactly what to expect before the onsite interview. These instructions should include:



Guide to Conducting Safe Onsite Interviews_Protocols

Some of the new ‘protocols’ can seem a bit disconcerting or uncomfortable so to ensure your candidates feel at ease, warn them about what to expect beforehand.

What can they expect when entering your building:

  • Do they need to wear a mask? Will this be provided?
  • Will you be wearing one?
  • Do they need to sanitise their hands?
  • Will they undergo an onsite temperature check?
  • Other distancing and hygiene rules in place in your office that they need to know about e.g. oneway systems, or specific entry and exit points.
  • Handshakes – Explain you won’t be doing this because of social distancing. When rules relax a bit more and you intend to shake hands, make sure your candidate is ok with this. People have quite different views on what is or isn’t ok in terms of social contact during these times.

Finally, if you are not able to offer the candidate a drink whilst at your office, you should suggest they bring a one along with them. 


Health checks

 Guide to Conducting Safe Onsite Interviews_Health_checks

Take the candidate’s phone and email contact details so that, in the event of an outbreak of Covid-19 in your office or local area, you can supply them to the test and trace service.

Make it clear that candidates should notify you before the interview and must not attend if:

  • They have any of the obvious symptoms of the infection, such as a high temperature, headache, sore throat, or loss of sense of taste or smell.
  • Or if they know they have been in close contact with anyone with a suspected or confirmed Covid-19 infection in the last 14 days.

Likewise, if anyone in your office has had symptoms, it may be wise to re-think an onsite interview. 


During the interview

Guide to Conducting Safe Onsite Interviews_During the interview

Adhere to all social distancing guidelines as outlined by the government at the time of the interview. Make sure you’re also clear on your own firm’s policies and procedures for dealing with Covid-19 and social distancing.

  • Avoid close contact.
  • Ensure that you have an interview space where you can maintain an appropriate distance.
  • Ideally use a well-ventilated room.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, in particular those that your candidate might be likely to come into contact with and repeat after they have gone. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, desks, phones, keyboards, etc.
  • Wash your hands properly beforehand and have hand sanitiser available.
  • Offer the candidate the opportunity to use hand sanitiser on arrival and departure.


If in doubt, postpone or use video instead

Guide to Conducting Safe Onsite Interviews_ConsiderVideoInterview

Hopefully, it goes without saying that you will need to postpone the interview if the candidate, you, or any essential interviewers are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.

Given the severity of this pandemic, this is not a moment to take any unnecessary risks.

Alternatively, if the prospect of face-to-face meetings still seems too daunting, many firms are now choosing to run their whole interview process virtually using video.

It can be particularly challenging to conduct efficient and effective interviews under such strict conditions, but hopefully these tips and best practices will help you to navigate through the face-to-face interview process, with all involved feeling comfortable and safe, and of course, making successful hires in the process!


About the author

Ruth Norman
Learning and Development Manager
Training, coaching and supporting learning and development in the G2 Legal team.