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It’s a new age and people are working remotely from home more than ever before. The health and safety of current employees and future ones are paramount.

If it can be avoided why risk bringing someone in for an in-office interview especially if you end up not hiring them.

With current social distancing rules in place employers around the world are turning to remote interview solutions creating virtual interactions that require adjustments to the interview process.

Through our research and own experience, we cover tips and best practices for hiring managers conducting remote interviews.

What is a remote interview?

A remote interview occurs when the interviewer and the interviewee are not in the same geographical location. Remote interviews can be conducted by using virtual interview software, phone, or other technological means.

What are some remote interview best practices for employers?

Choosing a video interview software platform, standardizing the interview process, interview procedures document for candidates, structuring your remote interview, conducting a mock interview, troubleshooting potential technical issues, proper presentation, avoiding distractions, and giving feedback quickly.

1. Choosing a video interview software platform

If you have not used a video software platform for remote interviews before the process of choosing one can be a bit intimidating, some potential video interview solutions include Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, Gotomeeting, and Webex.

Not sure which virtual meeting solution you should choose? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered, check out our article on the 5 software options for video interviews to learn more.

2. Standardize the remote interview process

Once you have chosen your remote interview software you need a standard document that can be shared across all departments to keep things running smoothly. This document should include things like, who initiates the interview call, account usernames, and other necessary contact information.

3. Interview procedures document for candidates

If you’re going to be interviewing a lot of candidates for a role it’s a good idea to have a standard itinerary you can share with them outlining your interview process. 

Candidates need to know what type of remote interview software you’re using so they can test it ahead of time.

List where they can download the software if necessary, expected interview time length, what should they prepare for, names of team members they will be speaking with and a backup phone number in case of glitches, bad lag in the interview software or if one of you loses your internet connection.

4. Structure your remote interview

It’s a good idea to create an interview itinerary and have questions prepared ahead of time to keep things moving smoothly. Also, make sure each person that is a part of the interview has a copy of the candidate’s resume and itinerary.

A basic interview structure might go something like this.

Part one: The introduction

Start with introducing yourself to the candidate, who you are, and your role in the interview process. Then put the candidate at ease with a little small talk. It’s important to make the candidate comfortable in the first minutes. Treat them the same way you would a member of your team as they may soon be one.

Why should you make a candidate feel comfortable during a remote interview?

They will answer questions more naturally and give improved responses, help with rapport and build a personal connection, it gives them a good impression of you and your company, you stand out from other interviews, it can be a deciding factor in the acceptance of a job offer.

Part two: Ask questions you prepared ahead of time:

These may include General questions about previous work history, why they left their last employer etc, hypothetical questions or even behavioral questions.

Need some ideas on questions to ask? Read this article about interview questions to ask an interviewee.

Part three: Wrapping up the virtual interview :

Let the candidate have an opportunity to ask you questions. Explain the next steps in the interview process and when they can expect to have an answer. Thank them for the time and end the interview.

5. Do a short mock interview

Conduct a test interview with a coworker to familiarize yourself with the video interview software you’re using. You can explore features, and see which ones work best for your company.

If other team members are involved in the interview process, it’s a good idea to have them sit in on the mock interview as well.

6. Troubleshoot potential technical issues ahead of time

  • Check your internet connection and make sure it’s working properly.
  • Conduct a webcam and microphone sound test to check for problems 10 minutes before the interview starts
  • Before starting the interview, close all unnecessary tabs on your computer, these can slow down your browser and interfere with video quality and stability.

7. Presentation is important

When it is just you and the other person looking back at each other on a web camera every little detail is magnified.

  • Dress professional, great candidates are interviewing you as much as you’re interviewing them.
  • Wear soft neutral colors, bright colors can be a distraction during remote video interviews.
  • Make sure your workspace is clean and organized
  • Have proper lighting in the room where the interview is being conducted
  • Make sure the background behind you looks professional.
  • Check the angle and do a reverse view of your webcam and make sure you like how you look.
  • Look directly into the webcam and maintain eye contact
  • Maintain proper body language: no slouching, or face scratching.
  • Speak a bit slower than you would normally
  • Make the candidate feel comfortable by smiling, being upbeat and positive.

8. Avoid distractions

  • Keep your mobile phone on vibrate.
  • Put your desk phone on “do not disturb”. You don’t want a call transferred to you in the middle of the session interrupting the flow of the interview.
  • Have your office locked or put a sign on your door to let coworkers know you’re interviewing someone.
  • Have a glass of water nearby to stay hydrated

9. Give feedback quickly

As technical recruiters, one of the main complaints we hear from candidates is I never heard back from the company after the interview”.

Feedback provides closure and improves candidate experience which is an important factor when building a brand.

Don’t leave candidates waiting for weeks at a time with no answer giving them false hopes, if you know you’re not going to hire them, let them know as quickly as possible via email and be tactful about it.

Not getting back to candidates quickly or at all can cause them to leave bad reviews online about your company harming your reputation.

Conducting remote interviews can be challenging at first but once you learn the video interview software and set up a proper system it gets easier.

Need help finding candidates for tough to fill engineering & IT roles reach out to Apollo Technical

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