How to conduct a remote interview

Even during the times when businesses face challenges, there is a constant need to hire new employees. The need for new members of the team may appear because the company has to replace workers who decide to leave the company for other challenges.

Besides, there can be a need to fire employees who do not perform and to find more suitable ones for their replacement.

In the after pandemic world when many businesses have switched to working remotely remote interviews have become quite ordinary. In fact, it is an efficient tool when you cannot meet a candidate in person. Yet, they need more preparation and effort to provide successful hiring.

We have created a quick guide that will help employers find the best fit for an open position and will provide that employees make the right impression about the company. As a bonus job-seekers can learn the hottest tips on how to pass a remote interview.

Choose the platform

Most likely you have already conducted remote meetings or even interviews and already using some tool for video-call. Here is the list of the most common options that can become an alternative for you.

Skype

Skype is a well-known Microsoft tool to conduct video calls. It is extremely easy to get registered and start using the platform. One can use a web version, a desktop app, or an app for mobile devices.

The service provides HD video and possibilities to arrange 1 to 1 and group calls. The calls can be recorded, so you can watch the interview afterward again. It is possible to share one’s screen if necessary and exchange messages in the chat. All the calls are securely encrypted to keep your company info private.

Zoom

Zoom is another video-conferencing tool for teams big and small that you can use to conduct remote interviews. It also offers online chat and content sharing possibilities.

You can really go big with zoom and have up to 1000 participants if necessary. It gives the possibility to record your video and provides a transcript for the call.

Zoom has integrated file-sharing and allows to schedule and start the meeting using Outlook, Gmail, or iCal. The tool also has an AES 256-bit GCM encryption that provides an increased level of security.

Hangouts

Hangouts is a Google tool for video calls and it can boast of all the Google security technologies that the company applies to its products.

The tool is synced with Google calendar which is especially convenient. You can access all the meeting details right from the slot in your calendar and join the meeting by a link, both from your computer or mobile.

Google Hangouts are easily integrated with other meeting solutions, such as Skype.

HireVue

HireVue was specially designed for testing candidates, so it has numerous features that help you to filter candidates and find the best one for an open position. The software provides possibilities to conduct live and on-demand video interviews.

On-demand video interviews are created in such a way that candidates will answer predefined questions when it is most convenient for them. It provides flexibility for job-seekers and saves much time for the recruiters.

Prepare for the interview

Choosing clothes

Remote interviews take a bit more time for preparation and require more effort. On the other hand, they give more flexibility for both parties, and if well-prepared they can be even less stressful. Here is a brief list of basic things you need to think over and plan as a recruiter.

  • Make a list of the participants. Decide who is going to participate in the interview and send invitations to all the participants beforehand to agree upon the time. Try not to invite more than 3 members of the team. It will be hard for the candidate to remember them and their roles, and besides, it may be hard for a job-seeker to focus. Some people may see it as an additional reason for stress.
  • Create the script. As soon as you have decided who will participate. Think about what topics each participant wants to discuss with a candidate. Define the order, who speaks first, who closes the talk, and who leads the discussion. It will help you to stick to the time and will give your talk a better structure.
  • Think over the questions. The best questions you can ask during a remote interview are the ones that describe the candidates’ experience. Ask them about how their remote day is usually organized. It will immediately become obvious if they ever worked remotely. This is also a great way to check what tools they are using in their day-to-day work. Offer them to tell you about the reasons why they consider a remote way of work to be the best option for them. Knowing if they have dependents (kids or elderly relatives they need to take care of) may help you understand their motivation in the future.
  • Prepare the background that represents your company. If you are planning to conduct a video interview from the office, it is easy to choose the appropriate set. In case you have to make a conference call from home, think of a neutral background that will not distract attention and will characterize you as a diligent worker representing the company.
  • Think of what to wear. Your clothes also need to be neat and tidy, which is an obvious thing that is easy to forget when working from home.

Before the interview

It is good to arrange a phone call with the candidate and be very detailed on where, when, and how the interview will take place. Besides, you can send the outline of your call with all the details to the candidate’s email. So that you are both sure you know what to do next and how to meet.

During the interview

  • Show that you are human, it is harder to make the candidate feel at home when talking online. So do not skip the meet and greet part as well as the small talk that follows.
  • Speak about your company values, culture, and the team. To make the right decision a candidate needs to learn about the way your company lives from the first hands.
  • You can even take an office tour and show how people in your office work.
  • Share your Instagram page, show videos from your company’s retreats.
  • Take notes on paper. The typing sound may distract the candidate when speaking. Muting the microphone is not the option either as it creates an impression of talking in the vacuum.

Troubleshoot technical and connectivity issues

  • Check out the troubleshooting guides for the platform you’ve chosen. Before you start the meeting download or open in a separate window;
  • Leave and rejoin the meeting. If that doesn’t work, we recommend giving the candidate a call.
  • If the issue is WiFi connectivity, the first troubleshooting step we recommend is suggesting that the candidate move closer to the wifi router (if able). The second step would be to turn off the video and attempt to communicate just over audio. The third and final step would be to switch the call to take place over the phone.
  • If you feel that troubleshooting takes too much time, consider some other time for a call. It is much more professional than waisting each others’ time.

Collect the feedback

There is no other more effective way to improve the experience of your candidates and the team than to collect their opinions. You can send a survey after the interview to the candidate and ask them if they felt comfortable during the talk or not.

You can also try to find out if the candidate got all the information about the company and was it enough for them to build an impression about your team and product.

Do the same with your colleagues, ask them if they had enough time to get to know if the candidate will fit the role. If there was anything during the interview they missed and what other questions need to be added to the next sessions. Also, ask about general improvements and suggestions.

To get more tips on working with remote teams refer to our guide.

Tips for job-seekers

Tips for job-seekers

A remote interview is stressful not only for employers, it feels even more insecure and uncertain for the candidates. We have collected the most common mistakes that one should avoid when taking part in a remote interview:

  • Lack of preparation. You need to prepare the same way as for the real face-to-face interview. The problem with the video interview is that you will have to answer the same questions in the same order as other candidates. Imagine the HR-professional who will need to identify who is the best fit. It is not an easy task, is it? At a certain point, all candidates seem the same. Who is easier to remember? The person with the most outstanding gestures and answers. To practice before the interview, record yourself using your phone or computer camera. Try to answer the most popular questions, like “Tell me about yourself?”. This will help to evaluate yourself, your gestures, environment, and see how you can get better answers. Besides, it will help you to feel more relaxed in front of the camera. Show the video to trusted friends, they can give you valuable insights. When you feel ready go on and choose the right place to record your interview.
  • Not controlling your surroundings. Make sure the background represents you. Check the light, make sure it doesn’t change during the interview. If you live with people ask them to keep quiet so they do not disturb you. Take the pets out of the room so they do not distract your attention and give the interview a comic touch.
  • No precheck of your tech. Check the app you are going to use for the interview, figure out how it works beforehand. Test it. Then check your internet connection using speedtest.net. Your minimum speed should be 2 Mb per second for your download and upload if you want the best results. If you are below that, try moving closer to your router, or simply ask people in your house to turn off wifi on their devices. Make sure you plug your device, the last thing you want is your computer or phone turning off in the middle of the interview.
  • Not reading the instructions carefully. Use the HireVue app to start the interview, but before it read the instructions carefully and go through the tutorial if it is available. Here you can get important information about the timing, the use of different buttons, and more.

Final thoughts

Summarizing the above, conducting a remote interview, bear in mind that the more time you spend getting ready for it technically and in terms of content, the better results you will get. This is applied to both employers and job-seekers.

Another important thing is that at every step of the preparation and the remote-interview itself overcommunication is an essential thing. It helps to avoid misunderstanding and convey ideas in a more human way despite a lack of personal interaction.

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