Top tips for online recruitment


Nobody can predict the future, but as we have had to find alternate routes through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, online recruitment may become more of the new normal.

To help make online recruitment work for you, we have included our top tips for changing to a web-based approach.


Preparation – what can you do to ensure a smooth recruitment process?

  • Ensure your documentation is refreshed and appropriate for an online process. This includes all advertising packs, job descriptions and specifications, terms and conditions, conditional offers and employment contracts. If needed review them, it may have been a while since you evaluated them without having the benefit of face-to-face explanation.
  • Decide on probation periods. You may want to consider extending probation periods, so you have more time to get to know the person. This may alleviate fears of not doing face-to-face recruitment. You could also delay start dates if necessary.
  • Allow yourself plenty of time. Things may take longer than normal so make sure you start the recruitment process early.
  • Ensure that at least one panel member has undergone safer recruitment training. We are offering online safer recruitment training if this helps.

It would be wise to document where you are up to as you move through the process, so if you are away, unavailable or ill, someone else can pick the process up.


The application process – what should you think about before advertising a position?

Firstly, you need to clearly state the skills needed for the role on offer, and the values you are looking for in a successful candidate.

Decide on interview assessments well in advance and ensure all those involved in the interview process are aware of them. Consider whether you need to send the assessments in advance and review before the interview or if these will be carried out online. If you need to observe something practical, such as a lesson observation for a teaching post, consider asking for a short mock presentation or lesson plan relating to a complex topic. You can then ask questions about how they would deliver the lesson and what they would do in specific scenarios, such as adjusting tasks for different levels of ability or pupils with SEND. 

Consider an extra interview by phone or video with an alternative colleague to provide a second opinion. You may want to organise this with a group of colleagues, governors, trustees or even pupils, if you want to get extra feedback. If you do organise a session with pupils, always ensure the safer recruitment-trained panel member is hosting the session, that pupils are monitored in school, and that they have been briefed in advance.

Write the stages of the process down, not only for the interviewers but also for the candidates’ benefit.  Be consistent in your approach to the process to avoid discrimination claims.

Ensure the recruitment panel and candidates have the technology to participate in video interviews. Where it is not possible, the interview will need to be carried over the phone. As with any video conferencing or online training, provide the candidate with a test link to ensure they can join the interview. Where possible, use a personal meeting ID and password for joining the video conference.

Where a video interview takes place, ask anyone who is not speaking to mute their microphone to ensure audio clarity. Nominate a member of the recruitment panel to chair the interview and clearly explain how the process will work at the start.

Don’t forget the candidate will still need to submit a reference and pass employment checks including an enhanced DBS check and police check if required. Bear in mind that whilst there have been changes to this process during the pandemic to speed up the processing of checks, there may still be a longer turnaround than normal.

The candidate can submit proof of their identity. The DBS have said that they will accept documents via video link or scanned images of original documents. The candidate must then provide them in person on their first day of work, where this is possible. If not, documents may need to be posted or dropped at a secure location. You can find out more by visiting FusionHR’s blog here.

You may also wish to increase the number of referees you ask for and increase the information that you wish to be supplied to cover any gaps that you can’t assess during an online process.


How to carry out an induction during the pandemic

A lot of the induction process will need to be carried out online. If the new recruit is a key worker, part of their induction may be carried out on-site.

Creating an effective induction process is key. You will need to make a plan and decide how you get the necessary information to the new employee – you should consider how you will answer the following questions:

  • Can training be carried out online?
  • Can you send policies securely for the new staff member to read?
  • How are you going to track the completion of the induction activities?
  • Could the new employee meet their colleagues on a video call?
  • How will you give them access to technology and systems?
  • Do you need to send out ICT equipment or mobile phones?

Locating and setting up equipment (and providing access to systems) will take longer during this period so it is important to plan ahead.   

Think about how often you can check on the new recruit. – Can you set up a buddy for them? Someone the new starter can go to for support and guidance.

If all this seems a bit daunting, speak to us. We can assist with recruiting headteachers, deputy headteachers, key leadership roles and trust leaders. We have already supported with headteacher recruitment campaigns during lockdown – here’s what one school said about the help we provided:  

“FusionHR did a fantastic job of organising the recruitment of a new headteacher and the whole process ran very smoothly due to their hard work and planning. It allowed us to focus on getting the right head and we got a great result at the end of it. I have really appreciated the expert advice and guidance you have provided throughout. I feel we all worked well together as a team. These are very strange and challenging times to recruit in however, it was made a lot easier working with professional people who had a human touch. We look forward to working with you again in the future”.

We can also support with template job descriptions for any senior role, application packs, employment contracts, job offer letters, induction planning and internal policies. We are also still processing DBS and employment checks during this period, so call one of the team if you need recruitment help on 01924 827869 or email