This document is part of the Working remotely in the Victorian public sector resource.

How to hire when working remotely guide

Section 1: How to use this guide

Section 2: What to read to inform your process

Section 3: Design principles for your process

Section 4: Candidate care

Section 5: Reasonable adjustments for candidates with disability

Be consistent and transparent

To comply with government standards, you must treat all candidates in in the same way. This means everyone must go through the same process.

If you adapt your process for one candidate, you must offer that same adjustment to every other candidate.

Keep in mind, your organisation’s policies still apply. This means you still need to balance your organisation’s policies with what is a reasonable or fair adjustment.

If the candidate has a protected attribute under relevant equal opportunity legislation, you must adjust your process for them.

Examples of how to apply this principle

Consistent and transparent example 1

A candidate says they can’t use Skype. So, you offer them a phone interview or another virtual option instead.

You must contact all other candidates and offer them the same options.

Consistent and transparent example 2

A candidate says they can’t do an interview. But your organisation’s policy says that any person applying for a job must go through an interview.

You don’t have to remove your interview requirement, unless the candidate has a protected attribute under relevant equal opportunity legislation. In which case you should offer them reasonable adjustment.

Checklist for being consistent and transparent

To create a consistent and transparent process in the coronavirus crisis, think about these things:

  • I’ve made a list of the new processes we’re using for physical distancing that are different to my organisation’s usual processes
  • I’ve spoken with my HR team about what phone and videoconferencing options my organisation has available
  • I’ve updated my expression of interest or job adverts to clearly state what these process changes are e.g. “We’ll interview you with Skype.” “You’ll get emailed a task and must send back your responses in 24 hours.”
  • I’ve asked candidates to let me know if they need any adjustments to the hiring process
  • I know what a protected attribute is under relevant equal opportunity legislation, such as the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act 2010
  • I’ve considered a candidate’s caring responsibilities
  • I’ve considered if a candidate lives in a remote area or different time zone
  • I’ve got a backup plan in case online services or phonelines aren’t working

Choose the right assessment options

There are a lot of options you can use to adapt your processes for physical distancing.

But it’s also harder to find out about a candidate if you can’t do a physical interview.

When you’re choosing your assessment options, think about how you want to find out about their:

  • technical skills
  • personality
  • behaviours
  • motivations
  • values

Any option you choose must let you assess if they’re able to do the inherent requirements of the role. But you must assess in an objective and transparent way.

If you’re in the Victorian Public Service, you must also assess growth potential under the Jobs and Skills Exchange Robust Assessment Process.

In the table below we’ve listed some of the assessment methods you could choose and the things to think about.

If you want to do things differently to what your organisation normally does, speak with your HR team first to check it’s okay. This is to make sure it complies with your organisation’s policies and the law.

You can also get in touch with us at the Commission for advice.

Method How to use this
Case studies or simulated work-task Give candidates a real-life situation that’s happened at your workplace to respond to.
Work samples

Ask the candidates to send you a folio of their work.

This could be a policy they’ve worked on, social media posts they’ve created, technical drawings they’ve drafted and so on.

Written exercises

Ask the candidates to respond to key selection criteria.

Or you could ask short-listed candidates to do a writing task the day before their interview.

Video responses

Ask your candidate to record a short video responding to a situation.

This is a great way to assess for cultural fit.

As everyone has different abilities with technology, make sure you’re mindful of this when you ask candidates to do something. This means you have alternative methods ready if they need them.

Reference checks Ask to speak to more of your short-listed candidate’s referees than usual, such as previous managers or colleagues.

Checklist for assessment options

To make our assessment options objective and transparent:

  • I’ve made sure the options we’re using assess a candidate’s suitability to fulfil the inherent requirements of the role
  • I’ve spoken to my HR team to check my options comply with my organisation’s policies
  • I’ve prepared ways to make reasonable adjustments to support workplace diversity and candidates

Creating a good hiring experience

As non-physical processes may be new and confronting for some candidates, show them empathy with this new way of hiring.

Checklist for a good hiring experience

To create a good hiring experience:

  • I’ve told candidates if I expect the recruitment process to take longer than my organisation’s usual process
  • I’ve thought about ways I can make candidates feel more comfortable, such as sending them the interview questions in advance
  • I’ve sent the candidates enough information about the role, team and department they’d be working in, at least a few days prior to an interview
  • I’ve checked what reasonable adjustments my candidates may need and offered the same adjustments to everyone if they need them


Online interviews

There are many options you can use to do online interviews.

Speak with the relevant team in your organisation to work out the best technology to use.

Checklist for online interviews

To make my online interviews work well:

  • I’ve prepared guides for everyone about how to access, set up and use the technology
  • I’ve checked all candidates can use the technology
  • I’ve set aside time at the start to set up, troubleshoot and make the candidate feel comfortable, such as using small talk to build rapport

Phone interviews

If you don’t want to or can’t do an online interview, a phone interview is still a good option for candidates.

Just be aware, it can make it harder to assess.

Checklist for phone interviews

For my phone interview:

  • I’ve asked the candidate to try and find a location that gives them clear phone reception
  • I’ve checked with everyone they can do conference calls on their phones
  • I’ve made sure each panel member for an interview introduces themselves by name each time they speak, as the candidate can’t see them

Interviews outside business hours

With people working from home or interstate, you need to think of different time zones and how they impact the hours they work.

Some people may have childcare duties that mean they can’t work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Checklist for interviews outside business hours

To cater for interviews outside business hours:

  • I’ve arranged interview times that suit everyone

Give your candidates helpful advice

Many candidates will be going through your new process for the first time, so prepare some advice to help them.

Checklist for helpful advice to give my candidates helpful advice, I’ve asked candidates to:

  • check their technology before an interview, such as their internet connection and software
  • pick a quiet, comfortable and well-lit location if they’re doing an online interview
  • be prepared like they would with any interview, such as practising answers to potential questions based on the position description
  • remove distractions around them so they’re fully engaged for the interview, such as putting their phone away
  • let candidates know they can have notes with them and refer to them during the interview