Guide to Conduct Successful Remote Interviews

Guide to Conduct Successful Remote Interviews

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written on November 2020 by Magda Sowierszenko

One of the biggest benefits your company can get from offering remote-based work is the huge amount of talent that suddenly becomes available to you. The popularity of remote career opportunities is constantly growing which makes it easy to fill positions quickly.

You’re also no longer limited to people just in your local area, but instead can benefit from remote recruitment and hire from all across the globe. The world truly becomes your oyster. Taking this opportunity to source global talents is a bit different from the process in a normal office though.

Your interviews will be held remotely, the skills you’re looking for will be different, and your methods of communicating are radically altered. It’s a really important part of the process though for potential employees and shows a lot about your company and how it works. In fact, according to BCG recruiting it’s the most influential factor when it comes to revenue growth and profit margin.

Remote interviews may also take place even if the job you’re offering isn’t actually remote, so it’s a skill we should all learn regardless of how your company operates daily. More companies are foregoing the traditional in-person interview for an online-based process to reap the benefits that it has to offer. Let’s dive in and take a deeper look…

The Benefits of Remote Recruitment

Remote recruiting has one huge plus that makes it really attractive for an HR department: it’s much cheaper! There are no reimbursements to be made for travel, meals, or hotels. The interview can simply be done from whatever locations the candidate is in, so long as you can find a suitable time.

It’s a lot more flexible too, as it’s easier for most people to find time for a 1 hour video call from their home, rather than the multiple hours or possibly even longer it can take to get to the interview location and back again. This flexibility then makes it a lot less taxing on your candidate, allowing for you to conduct multiple stage interviews without inconveniencing them as much.

The Complications of Remote Recruitment

Even though remote recruiting has some strong and attractive benefits, its online nature can also lead to some of its most common complications. Conducting a remote interview by video chat or call puts you at a disadvantage, in comparison to a more traditional interview.

It’s much more difficult to read body language and non-verbal cues, even on a video call. Technology can also be a bit pesky, with bad internet connections and broken webcams causing all sorts of trouble. We’ve all experienced it personally in our day to day lives, let alone in an important interview that we’re taking part in. 

Top Tips for Conducting a Successful Remote Interview

The tips for making a success of remote recruitment are straightforward and easy to follow, so it’s worth making a checklist of them all to give yourself the best chance for success. To prepare, you need to communicate and set expectations for the interviewee.

Explain the process they’ll go through, the amount of interviews they’ll need to take part in, and the style. You should also prep the candidate on the tech they’ll need to use and any tips you have to make sure it runs as smoothly as possible. Ideally, your candidate should test in advance to make sure everything is working and that they can be seen and heard.

Evaluating the Candidate

For any virtual recruiter, a video call is always going to be preferable to just doing the interview over the phone. It’s still not quite the same as a traditional interview, but it’s as close as we can get. The candidate is still going to be just as nervous though, so spend some time building up rapport and ease them into the process.

Next, you can move onto assessing their qualifications just like you would in a standard interview. Especially important for those of you working in a completely remote company is going to be the culture fit.

Of course, it’s always important… but in a remote job, the company culture is really what helps us glue together and overcome the distance. Think of some culture fit questions or write down some qualities that your company agrees that each person should be able to bring.

Project Setting

For most jobs nowadays, it’s common to complete some task or work as part of the interview process. You can still do this remotely too. Depending on the role, the HR department should in combination with each team develop some stock exercises that every candidate can be assessed on.

This could be a filmed sales pitch, presentation to give during the next stage of the interview, essay, or whatever other task is most suitable. Do remember though that your candidates are doing this in their own time, and might also be doing the same with other remote career opportunities. Make sure it’s a suitable length and considerate towards the interviewee. 

Candidate Scorecard

You’re probably going to have to give some feedback to a team lead or other manager within your company, so having something more concrete like a scorecard makes it simpler to assess their suitability. Determine 4 to 8 qualities that you need for this role (including cultural fit!) and make sure the hiring team also agrees on them.

Rank the candidate during and after the interview, then compare scorecards for each person after you have conducted all your interviews. It will help you remember more about what’s happened, and explain to your colleagues more about each interviewee.

Tools for a Remote Interview

To facilitate your remote interviews, you’re going to need to use the correct tools to manage your appointments and carry out the call. Your company might already have a policy in place, but tools like Zoom and Google hangouts are all regularly used and familiar to most candidates already.

Calendly an awesome free tool which you can access here, will make it a lot easier to schedule your calls without the usual back and forth that can happen with emails. An applicant tracking tool is also a good shout such as Workable, especially if you’re dealing with a large volume of possible candidates.

Start Finding the Best Talent the World Has to Offer

Remote recruitment has a lot to offer everyone, even if you’re still working in an office and advertising for non-remote positions. Sometimes it will be necessary to do so if a candidate can’t make arrangements to come in person.

Going through the process of communication, evaluation, a project phase, and scorecard evaluation will bring some structure to your recruitment process. Just don’t forget to combine it with the right tools for the job, and you’ll have some superstars candidates knocking on the door in no time.

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