Robert Half International: Tips for Conducting a Remote Interview

By now, you’ve probably discovered the benefits of conducting an exit interview. It’s convenient for you and the candidate, it’s easier to schedule separate interviews with the hiring committee, it saves you the cost of a candidate’s lunch or travel expenses, and you can do more work. evaluations faster.

Most importantly, and especially in this very tough job market, remote interviewing allows you to meet your best candidates and make a hiring decision before many old-school competitors can even finalize arrangements for a meeting on site.

However, remote maintenance presents some complications. Details you never had to consider in an office interview — your background, your screen presence, and your technology, for example — should now be part of any well-planned meeting. Otherwise, you risk mishaps that can distract and frustrate you and the candidate. And if either of you are new or still uncomfortable in front of the camera, it can be an awkward conversation. That’s not the kind of memory you want your top picks to have when weighing their job options.

Here are seven tips to help you improve your remote interview process, give candidates the best opportunity to shine, and better ensure the interview will be a positive experience for everyone involved.

1. Set expectations

For many candidates, a job interview, whether remote or on-site, can be stressful. They don’t know what they will be asked, who they will meet or even how to dress formally. But they know they will be under the microscope. You can help ease some of the anxiety by telling them what to expect and how to prepare. Including:

Easing the technology curve

Don’t assume the candidate is familiar with the video platform you’re using, even if it’s a well-known and popular platform such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom. When you send the interview invitation, include instructions on how to call at the scheduled time and any additional steps the candidate may need to take to sign in. This is especially important if you are using specialized remote interview software, such as VidCruiter or MyInterview. . You want it to be easy for the candidate to join the video call on time and dialed.

Provide details of investigators

Share the names, titles, and LinkedIn profiles of everyone in your company who will meet with the candidate. Also provide an agenda that clearly indicates whether everyone will be on the call for, say, a 60 or 90 minute interview, or whether there will be a series of 20 or 30 minute individual meetings. If you’re planning a longer interview, be sure to schedule a break every hour or between sessions for the candidate to step off camera to stretch and cool off while you write your notes.

Performing a test

If you haven’t used the video interview software recently, it’s important to give it a try to make sure you’re familiar with the platform’s tools. Check your computer’s camera, microphone, and internet connection. Take a few minutes to review your rig’s guidance on how to fix video lags and freezes, echoes, and other common issues. Also suggest that the candidate do the same.

Assign any “homework” in advance

If the position requires a performance task or skills test as part of the interview process, send it to the candidate with clear instructions and enough time to complete and return it before the call.

Two years into the pandemic, many organizations say they will continue with an all-remote or hybrid workforce. See 5 Key Benefits of Hiring Remote Workers to find out why.

2. Have a backup plan

A technology problem can often be solved with a little patience and a few minutes of troubleshooting. But what if, despite your best efforts, the rig you’re using keeps crashing, the audio isn’t working, or someone’s computer just shuts down ?

When all else fails, get on the phone. Make sure you have the candidate’s number and email handy so you can easily connect. The phone won’t be ideal, and you may decide to just call and reschedule the interview for another day. But better start or postpone the conversation than let a tech snafu raise stress and frustration levels.

3. Minimize distractions

Make sure pets and small children are safely supervised in another room and roommates know not to disturb you during the interview.

Next, check the electronics. Disable your computer screen alerts and instant messaging chats during the interview. Now is not the time to multitask. Mute calls and text messages and place your phone out of sight, so you don’t pick it up mindlessly during your conversation.

When the camera is on, hide the platform’s self-display feature so that the candidate takes up the entire screen and your full attention. Also try to reduce movement during an online interview. If you’re constantly moving or walking around, it can be difficult for the other person to focus on the conversation.

4. Look professional

This is a remote interview, but you should still dress as if you were going to work, even if you are at home:

  • Before joining the video call, check your screen image and camera angle for the following:

  • You want your shoulders and face to be centered on the screen, neither too close nor too far apart.

  • Adjust ambient lighting by opening or closing the blinds in your home office, or lighting near your camera so you look natural and welcoming.

  • Choose a professional background like a tidy bookshelf or opt for a plain wall. You can also open your video platform settings and select a blurred background.

5. Come prepared with probing questions

Carefully review the candidate’s work history, skills and, if applicable, the performance task referred before the call begins. Also print out the resume, along with your list of questions, so you don’t have to click around your screen looking for them during the call.

If you are conducting a panel interview, share the agenda with all interviewers and confirm that everyone knows what they are going to ask, who asks the first question, the second, etc. Or, if it’s a series of interviews, in what order (and at what time) they’ll meet with the candidate, and what each team member will ask during their session.

After the introductory necessities and open warm-ups (for example: How did the work appeal to you? Where Can you tell me about your background?), a mix of behavioral and situational interview questions will help you learn more about the candidate’s fit for the job and workplace culture, potential for development and advancement, and their work ethic. job.

Don’t waste time with questions the resume already answers. Instead, use it as a starting point to dig deeper or ask for clarification.

Beyond skills and work experience, be sure to assess the candidate’s experience working with remote teams. You want an employee who is comfortable working offsite and, if your company plans to return to the office when security protocols permit, onsite work arrangements.

6. Be curious but friendly

Look at the camera when you speak, not the other person’s image, as tempting as that may be. Keep your voice calm and speak clearly, and smile when appropriate, as you would in person. You want to put the candidate at ease and demonstrate that you are engaged in the conversation. Also wait a few seconds at the end of sentences or after the candidate has spoken to minimize chatter.

7. Offer a strong fence

You could make the final hiring decision. But remember that the job interview is a two-way street: you are looking for the ideal employee and the candidate wants the best possible career opportunity. This means you have to make your own sales pitch.

The job description you posted was the initial pitch. This continued during the remote interview, when you picked up clues to share what interests and excites you about the company: the culture and values ​​of the workplace, for example, or the possibility moving forward, professional development support, or company milestones and goals. could have arisen at one time or another.

As the end of the interview nears, you will close with a lasting and positive impression. Ask the candidate if they have any questions, giving them the time they need for this part of the call. Circle anything you would like to add to the previous conversation, then invite the candidate to make a closing statement (for example: Anything else we should know about you?).

When the remote interview is over, thank the candidate for their time and let them know what will happen next in the process and when they can expect to hear from you. Honor that commitment, whether it’s good news or bad. You should never leave a candidate in abeyance.

Now that you have these tips for conducting a remote interview, check out this article for five ways to stand out from the competition when pitching jobs to potential candidates.