Job interviews are one of the many steps a business needs to take to recruit talent.

That last word is powerful – Talent.

Because that’s what it’s all about.

If you’re hiring a graphic designer, does it matter whether they can walk?

If you’re hiring an accountant, does it matter if they are autistic?

So, when you are recruiting the best person for the job, you are aiming to recruit the most talented person. This does not mean the person who scores highest on a personality test, nor does it mean the person who aced the competency based questions. But it could be the person who lost their focus before getting to the interview room as their wheelchair struggled to get past the photocopier.


What is stopping businesses giving the choice to the candidate?

Why can’t it be like this?


We are able to carry out the first stage of our interview process in a number of ways. As a result, please let us know which you would prefer:

  • The office
  • Video call such as Zoom or Teams
  • Coffee shop
  • Telephone

Have you started to think how you would like to be interviewed yet? How an employer could see you at your best.

Whilst being interviewed in an office was the popular choice, it still meant lot’s more preferred to be interviewed outside of the office. Every time you are holding your initial interviews outside of the office you are not seeing the best of 63% of your candidates.

However, you don’t necessarily need to leave your office to interview as 36% of those who took part in our survey are happy with the process starting on Zoom, Teams or Google Meet. This is only 1% more than the people who want to come to your office.

The difference for the candidates who prefer one or the other though could be massive. Some people can get anxiety trying to work video calls or fear the dreaded loss of internet. Whilst others may find coming to an office daunting for reasons that are not directly linked to the office themselves such as public transport.


The purpose of the interview is so you can select the most talented candidate

but you have a responsibility to give everyone as good a chance as each other.


This inclusive way of arranging an initial interview would allow me as a wheelchair user to either control the environment by choosing a coffee shop that I know is accessible or by choosing a video call. If I proceed to a second interview within the office, I would hopefully have provided you with enough information to ensure accessibility getting to and from the room (as well as the room itself).

This can be as simple as removing one chair at the desk, instead of me getting there and trying to move it myself. Ensuring the projector wires are out of the way so they don’t get tangled in my wheels. Others need may be more complex, I don’t want to paint a picture that being accessible is always simple or that it’s just about moving furniture.

Telephone interviews seem to be the least favoured with just 4% selecting this. However, I had a healthy debate with a Housekeeping Manager at a Hotel and Spa about this, who was clearly looking at it from the interviewers perspective.

“Telephone interviews don’t work you need to see the person face to face in same room”

“Remember it’s an initial interview, so you would still have a face to face interview at a later date.
Be interested to know if your reply is as jobseeker or a hiring manager. Or both?”

Scott Whitney I’ve interviewed staff side I won’t do telephone interviews unless it’s teams or Skype”

“So as an initial interview the advantage for the candidate is that some people in particular neurodivergent people may have imposter syndrome and be unsure on whether they have the capability to do the role.

A 15 minute informal interview before could settle nerves prior to the actual face to face interview

For businesses if the interviewer has to travel to carry out the interviews they will know the candidate is worth their while prior to travelling 100+ miles to do the interview

For businesses they surely want to hire the best candidate and setting can be important for this

Although the votes indicate telephone is low but teams / zoom is pretty high”

Finally, 23% prefer a coffee shop. Being interviewed in a coffee shop for me throws more choice in the mix. Not only am I choosing what shirt to wear, how far up my arm do I roll my sleaves to show what I believe to be the right balance between professional but easy going. I know have to choose whether I am able to accept whipped cream, marshmallows and a flake in my hot chocolate and still get the job. Will I be confident second guessing if I have whipped cream on my nose or not?

Back to my initial question, what is stopping businesses giving the choice to the candidate?

I don’t see any reason.

You don’t have to give four options, you may limit it to two or three.

I’d also provide a box to say is there anything else you would like us to consider whilst planning your interview and detailing the type of interview as this may also impact preference.

I will leave you with one more comment left during the survey

At the office is 2019. There’s no need to be in an office anymore.

Note. Survey was completed by 156 people between 20th January 2023 and 26th January 2023 via a Linkedin poll.

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