While the ability to hire talent from all across the globe is one of the best things about remote work, it also comes with challenges of its own. To hire a good candidate remotely, you’d need to modify your hiring process to accommodate special remote qualities as well as judge a candidate in the usual way you would in an in-person interview.
You now have to look at skills like a self-starter attitude, the ability to assume complete responsibility, and comfort collaborating across time zones, which you may have otherwise sidelined in a co-located work environment. There would also be a need for ace written and verbal communication skills as information has to be passed on very clearly in a remote environment.
All aspects of the hiring process need to be polished. Although you can conduct written assignments in the same way as in person, interviews can be a whole different ball game. Not meeting with the candidates in person keeps you from understanding their body language and how they respond to verbal cues. As such, the remote interview process needs to be treated with particular care.
Fortunately, advancing technology and the experience of established remote companies is a great guide toward conducting a remote interview in the correct manner. According to a survey, 63% of HR managers have used video interviewing recently and 13% plan to explore it in the near future. More and more people are employing video interviewing methods and this means that you need to up your interviewing game too.
Given the above, here are some points to help you conduct a successful remote job interview and make sure you hire the right candidate.
7 Tips for Conducting A Successful Remote Interview
- Be prepared: Inform team members, review candidate information, and test the interview platform.
- Communicate expectations: Notify candidates about the interview format, focus, and dress code.
- Focus on essential skills: Assess technical and soft skills based on the type of hire.
- Maintain professionalism: Conduct interviews in a quiet space, dress appropriately, and avoid distractions.
- Keep it human: Ease into the conversation and make the candidate feel comfortable.
- Discuss team culture: Share information about company values, work environment, and reporting structure.
- Conduct async interviews: Save time and improve candidate experience with asynchronous interview platforms like Willo.
1. Be prepared
You need to be ready for the interview and also account for possible edge cases in advance:
- If more than one person from your team is to be a part of the interview, inform them about the details of the interview and the candidate.
- Go through the job description, the candidate’s resume and keep a list of the questions you would like to ask ready.
- Inform the candidate of the names and titles of the other people from your team who will be a part of the interview.
Also test the platform you would be having the virtual interview on and also keep a backup platform ready. Do the same with your internet connection. Make sure to keep in mind everything you need to know about virtual meetings.
2. Notify candidates of what is expected and communicate details beforehand
In case you will be discussing only the technical aspects, or discussing a certain case study in a given interview, notify candidates of this in advance. This helps them prepare better and helps you conduct better interviews.
Before the interview, also notify the candidate if it’s to be an audio or video interview and inform about the dress code if the latter.
Towards the end, inform the candidate of the time the hiring process is likely to take and when they can hear from you next.
In any remote scenario, clear communication is of utmost importance and you need to ensure that the details are given properly. If required, also send a copy over mail.
3. Focus on skills that are important to you
In the process of making the interview successful and comfortable, do not miss asking questions or testing on the data you actually require. This is where being prepared in advance comes into handy.
The type of hire you wish to make would also play a role in preparing a list of skills. For example, what you look for in a freelancer could be very different from a full-time hire. While in the former, the technical skills would be the most important, in the latter you’d want someone who is able to learn quickly.
Observe the skills of the candidate thoroughly. This includes punctuality, communication skills, attitude and other soft skills along with the ones particular to the role. The candidates should be expected to test their setup in advance, too, and arrange for a backup or inform in case of any issues in advance.
Keep a checklist of the areas you want the candidate to have satisfactory skill sets and distribute it with the rest of your team who will be a part of the interview.
4. Maintain professionalism
Just because the interview is being conducted remotely does not mean that it can be taken lightly. You would not like it if the candidate took the interview over the phone while traveling to the grocery store. Similarly, you should also maintain a level of professionalism. There are certain etiquettes you should be aware of, such as:
- Take the interview from your home office or a coworking space and ensure there are no distractions.
- Dress appropriately for the interview.
- Keep your table clean and make sure your background is not cluttered to avoid distracting the candidate.
- Taking phone calls during any conversation rubs off poorly on the other person and could set a poor image for your company. Silence all your devices and stay focused on the interview.
5. Keep it human
Virtual interviews lack the human touch and this can make the interviewee uncomfortable, especially if they’re not used to working remotely. Keep in mind that the candidate would also find it difficult to picture the working of the company without being able to see a physical environment or interaction like in a colocated office and may be confused.
Instead of directly jumping into the interview, ease into the conversation with some light banter. Talk like you are getting to know the interviewee as a person and not just as a probable new hire. Also make sure to allow the candidate to ask questions and give them all the information that they need.
6. Talk about your team’s culture
Following up on the previous point, also introduce your company’s culture to the interviewee. Talk about the values you give importance to in your company, where people work from, the work timings, who the candidate would report to if hired and other such details about the company.
You do not need to reveal every detail, of course, but make sure that the candidate is clear about the core ideas of your company. Your explanation would be the candidate’s expectation if they’re selected so it’s up to you to get the candidate excited about any potential offer.
7. Conduct async interviews
As goes with virtual meetings, interviews take time. Increased productivity and time flexibility is a major benefit of remote work and lengthy meetings are clearly counterproductive. To tackle this, adopt async interviews as your standard mode of interviews.
Async interviews are becoming the go-to for many leading businesses, and it's a good idea to start using them now to stay ahead and access the best candidates. A good async interview platform like Willo saves you a lot of time as well as makes sure that nothing is missed out. The candidates can also answer at their own comfort, effectively eradicating any nervousness that could affect performance.
You can also have a mix of async and synchronous interviews depending on the agenda for the interview.
Hiring a candidate remotely isn't the easiest thing to do and there are bound to be bottlenecks. However, with the above tips, you can be sure to conduct excellent virtual interviews. Make use of the tips in your next interview and ensure a comfortable ride for you as well as the interviewee.