As a hiring manager, you are aware of how important it is to find the top candidates. However, conducting remote interviews for job postings has unique challenges in today's remote context. How can you acquire a sense of someone's personality without actually meeting them? How can you know if a candidate will mesh well with the culture of your team? With enough advance preparation and the right tools, you can conduct remote interviews that are just as effective as in-person meetings.
This guide provides practical tips for hiring managers on how to get the most out of virtual interviews. You'll learn strategies to put candidates at ease, ask probing questions, assess soft skills, and gain valuable insights into their experience and work style. With the help of video conferencing, collaborative editing software, and a few clever techniques, you can find your next superstar employee without ever shaking their hand. The future of hiring is digital—are you ready to adapt? Success is just a few clicks away.
1. Prepare technology and logistics in advance.
To ensure your remote interviews run smoothly, preparation is key. Take the time to test your technology and work out any kinks beforehand.
Double-check that your wifi connection is strong and stable: Conduct a test call with a colleague to confirm that your audio and video are working properly. Make sure you have a quality webcam, microphone, and video conferencing platform installed. Popular options like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams are easy to use and freely available.
Choose a distraction-free location for your video calls: A quiet, well-lit room away from household noises is ideal. Ensure there is nothing inappropriate visible behind you on camera.
Provide details about the interview format and tech logistics to candidates ahead of time: Send calendar invitations with video conferencing links so candidates can test their equipment. Explain that a strong internet connection and a desktop or laptop are required.
Have a backup plan in case of technical difficulties: Let candidates know that you may need to switch to a phone call or reschedule. Make sure you obtain contact information, including phone numbers, in advance.
With some pre-planning, you'll conduct engaging and effective remote interviews. By preparing technology and logistics, choosing an appropriate environment, informing candidates of expectations, and having an alternative plan, you'll find this new way of interviewing both convenient and productive. The extra effort will lead to hiring the best talent, no matter the distance.
2. Send clear instructions to candidates ahead of time
To set your candidates up for success during a remote interview, send them detailed instructions ahead of time. This helps ensure a smooth experience for everyone involved.
Let candidates know exactly what tools you’ll be using for the call, like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet. Provide login details and links to test the technology ahead of time. Offer to do a quick tech check minutes before the actual interview as well.
Share the interview format, including who they’ll be speaking with and for how long. For example, "You’ll have a 30-minute call with myself and two team members." This allows candidates to plan how they will allocate time to each person.
List some of the main discussion points or questions to anticipate. There’s no need to share the full list of questions, but giving a sense of the types of topics that will come up allows candidates to thoughtfully prepare.
Explain your expectations for attire and the environment. For example, "We request business casual attire and that you find a quiet, distraction-free place for the call."
Let candidates know how you’ll determine next steps and when they can expect to hear from you after the interview. Provide a timeline so they know when they'll receive a follow-up.
3. Focus on video when possible
When interviewing remotely, video is far superior to audio-only phone calls. Video allows you to make eye contact, read body language, and connect on a more personal level with candidates. This helps to build rapport and get a better sense of their soft skills and enthusiasm for the role.
Video calls feel more like an in-person meeting. You can see the candidate's facial expressions and hand gestures, giving you visual cues to their communication style and enthusiasm.
Video makes it easier to keep the candidate engaged since you can maintain eye contact. This also allows you to see if they seem distracted or uninterested at any point.
You get a glimpse into the candidate's home environment and how they present themselves on camera. While this may seem like a minor point, it can provide insight into their setup for remote work if they were to get the role.
Of course, there are cases where a phone call may be necessary due to technical issues, a poor internet connection, or the candidate's preferences. However, when possible, make video your default for initial interviews and ensure candidates have access to a webcam and a stable internet connection to participate. For any final round interviews, video should be required so you have the optimal experience evaluating and selecting the best candidate for your team.
4. Ask the right questions
Conducting a successful remote interview requires asking the right questions. The questions you ask candidates will determine how much you learn about their experience, skills, work style, and potential fit for the role.
Focus on experience and skills: Ask questions that probe the candidate's relevant experience, expertise, and abilities.
Discuss work style and preferences: It's important to understand how a candidate works remotely and stays productive.
Address Challenges: Don't shy away from asking about difficulties they've faced.
Ask about company culture: End by gauging whether the candidate will be a good fit for your company's culture.
The questions you ask in a remote interview are more important than ever. Take the time to prepare questions tailored to the role and your company's culture. The insights you gain will help ensure you find candidates who will thrive working remotely for your team.
5. Pay close attention to soft skills and fit.
When interviewing candidates remotely, pay extra attention to evaluating their soft skills and ensuring they will be a good fit for your company's culture.
Look for enthusiasm and adaptability: Notice if the candidates seem engaged and enthusiastic during the call. Do they ask good questions about the role, team, company, etc.? Enthusiasm translates well over video and signals motivation. Also, assess how well they adapt to the remote format. Candidates who are flexible and make the most of technology and experience will likely adapt well to a remote work environment.
Communication and interpersonal skills: Listen for strong communication skills like speaking clearly, succinctly explaining concepts, and avoiding "ums" and awkward pauses. Candidates with experience communicating remotely may have an advantage here. Look for signs that they build rapport and have a friendly, personable demeanor. These soft skills are essential for collaboration and relationships in a remote team.
Alignment with Company Values: Discuss your company's values and mission to determine if the candidate will be a good cultural fit. See if their experience, priorities, and goals align with your key values and objectives. For example, if "continuous learning" is a top value, ask how they stay up-to-date with skills and best practices. Misalignment in values and fit could lead to issues with long-term retention and performance.
Set the right expectations: Be transparent about what it’s like working remotely for your company. Explain values, priorities, workflows, communication preferences, and more. This helps candidates determine if the role and environment are the right fit for them and sets appropriate expectations about the remote experience at your company. Honesty and openness build trust in the candidate and set the relationship up for success.
Remote hiring can be challenging, but focusing on culture, soft skills, and fit will help ensure you find candidates eager and ready to thrive in a virtual work environment. With the right mindset and expectations, you can build an engaged and collaborative remote team.
Conducting remote interviews can be challenging, especially if you’re not used to interviewing candidates virtually. Don’t hesitate to enlist the help of companies that specialize in virtual hiring and recruitment, like DashHire. They have the experience, technology, and best practices in place to help ensure your remote interviews run smoothly.
Work with them to determine the best video conferencing software for your needs. They can recommend platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams and help you set up and test the technology in advance.
Ask them to provide sample questions and guidance on keeping candidates engaged over video. It may feel unnatural at first, but with their advice, you’ll be conducting captivating remote interviews in no time.
Have them sit in on your first few remote interviews to evaluate how you’re doing and provide constructive feedback. Their input can help strengthen your virtual interviewing skills and make you a remote hiring pro.
Conducting remote interviews may require an adjustment, but by preparing thoroughly, leveraging the right technology, and working with experts like DashHire, you'll be interviewing top candidates from anywhere and hiring the best talent for your team. With their support, you'll find remote interviewing second nature in no time and wonder why you ever did it any other way. The future of hiring is digital, so get ready to embrace it!
While remote interviewing presents its own unique challenges, the benefits of accessing top talent from anywhere far outweigh any difficulties. Follow the tips in this guide and take advantage of resources to help you through the transition, and you'll be conducting engaging remote interviews and making the best hires for your business in no time. The digital age of hiring is here—are you ready for it? With the right mindset and support, your team will thrive.