Considering how to get the Best out of Interviews with International Candidates

Considering how to get the Best out of Interviews with International Candidates

Historically, a lot of interviews with international candidates were conducted face-to-face on in-country recruitment trips. Undoubtedly, this offers a lot of benefits – it is easier to build a rapport between interviewee and employer in person; you don’t have to worry about internet connection interfering with the conversation and candidates are often attracted to in-person recruitment events. 


However, given the advancements of technology, the convenience of virtual interviews, how quickly the talent market moves and the expense and time investment in face-to-face recruitment trips, the vast majority of employers now opt for remote interviews and that is industry standard – particularly since Covid 19.  


In order to promote a positive employer experience with candidates, various factors need to be in place. It can be very helpful to have technical assistance in some form, both in the UK and overseas to ensure candidates are ready at the time of their interview and have a good connection. It is not unusual for some candidates to struggle with connection or interview schedules to run late, so to have support to keep all stakeholders updated and rearrange the schedule as required is a big bonus. Most recruitment agencies will have this in place, but if you are recruiting directly, a team admin can often ensure the session runs smoothly. 


If you would usually run an invigilated pre-test as part of your face-to-face interview process, perhaps asking the candidate to complete a drug calculation test or values-based assessment, video software can enable you to invigilate these remotely via technology. The software may be available via your international recruitment agency. Something to consider is that you may want to update the pre-test with relative frequency to ensure candidates don’t become too accustomed to what is expected – if you are able to randomise the questions and answers, even better.  


It can be helpful if candidates have undergone a degree of interview preparation and/or coaching prior to their slot with you. Some nurses may never have interviewed previously if they were awarded their role in their hospital or institution following a training rotation, and many can be incredibly nervous. Common complaints if candidates are not well enough prepared include not knowing enough information about the specific organisation they are interviewing for; giving overly brief answers that then require a lot of prompting, or answering the question they wish had been asked (rather than the question they have actually been asked).  We do recommend live interviews rather than pre-recorded interviews wherever possible as it does allow interviewers to delve deeper into candidate responses and ensure answers aren’t overly well-rehearsed. That being said, pre-recorded video interviews provide a very useful way of first profiling international candidates with an organisation which is quite disparate and there are multiple hiring managers rather than one individual, as it avoids candidates having to interview with each different hiring manager individually.  


In our experience, having interviewers experienced with interviewing international nurses or working with international nurses can be helpful. Some candidates culturally are more reticent to take the lead and don’t want to be seen to be too overbearing, or alternatively haven’t had the same focus on patient-centred care as we see in the UK. Therefore, being able to interpret their interview responses within context and give them the benefit of the doubt can lead to more successful outcomes.  

My Healthcare Recruit supports UK healthcare employers in the public, private, and care sector to find international nurses who are a great fit for their organization, by using market-leading video interviewing tools to connect them to our database of qualified candidates. Our innovative approach makes international candidates easier to find and more cost-effective to source than ever before. Find out more at