Top Tips for Interviewing Candidates Remotely
Sep 25, 2020
Top Tips for Interviewing Candidates Remotely
Sep 25, 2020
COVID-19 has caused a major shift in the working landscape, causing thousands of employees to work from home. Indeed, businesses have embraced a flexible working life to encourage a smooth transition to full-time remote working. 

With this being said, the function of businesses needs to reconvene as usual. Businesses still need to interview and onboard candidates. Although, for the safety of both candidates and employees, this will be done remotely.

Besides getting over a few technical glitches and frozen faces on video conferencing calls, businesses need to consider how they can appropriately interview candidates in the most effective and efficient way. Whether it’s establishing clear communication channels, being extra prepared for the interviews or keeping in close contact with candidates throughout the remote interview stages, there’s a few things businesses should implement when interviewing remotely. To help, we have compiled a list of the top tips for remote interviews.

Establish appropriate communication channels 

When interviewing candidates face-to-face, employees will be able to quickly gauge the individual’s personality based on first impressions. Unfortunately, remote interviews can form a barrier and prevent companies from gaining an understanding as to whether this candidate is desirable for the job role itself. Social cues such as body language and facial expressions are hindered during remote interviews, which can typically make or break a candidate under normal face-to-face interviews, making the remote hiring process that bit more difficult to narrow down.

Consequently, establishing a clear line of communication is integral for a successful remote interview. A company should consider the different types of remote tools they should use to hire candidates at the different interview stages. For example, a phone interview could be a great hiring communication tool at the first stage, to quickly narrow the candidate pool down. For the later stages of the interviewing process, technological tools that facilitate video conferences with multiple people may be your best option. Platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft teams are useful for this, as you will be able to see the candidates facial expressions and hand gestures as well as having a few members of your team on the call too to help interview the candidate. 

Wondering how to conduct a remote interview?

Be prepared and plan your interview meticulously

As with anything, planning is key to a successful interview. Structuring your interview with the main objective and key questions is important for remote interviews. Not being able to see the candidates and freely speak to them in an unscripted and naturalistic way can be hard for both college and candidates alike. Consequently, having a template of questions to ask can ensure that the conversation runs smoothly and avoids awkward delays, whilst still being able to assess whether the individual has the necessary skillset and experience to fill the job role. 

Top tip: start with the more simple and friendly questions to allow the candidate to open up and feel at ease. This will allow you to establish a rapport and bridge that gap that is prototypical of remote interviewing. 

At this stage, it is also really important to be prepared with who you want in the interview too. Now that you have to onboard remotely, you have to be selective about who can join the call/ meeting with you. It’s no longer the case that one of your colleagues joins mid-interview. Most platforms facilitate 4 people max (unless you pay for pro), so pick the best colleagues based on the job role. 

In light of this, the interview team should be prepared about who is asking what questions and in what order. It can be very easy to talk over one another when on conference lines, which can cause confusion and disrupt the flow of communication. Make sure you all have a structure and attempt to stick to it as much as possible. Obviously, there will be deviations, but having a structure in place can help facilitate a smooth remote interview process. 

Keep in contact with your candidates 

Working, interviewing, or even living remotely has its challenges. It can be very isolating (pardon the pun) to be stuck at home. This is only exacerbated by the current job market, which carries with it much uncertainty for candidates. 

Consequently, it is important for you as an employer to stay in contact with your candidates and update them about the interviewing process. Let them know when they should expect a callback, or when the next stage of the interviews will be held. Keeping them in the dark can sometimes cause more damage than necessary, planting a seed of doubt in their minds – a damaging proposition if that candidate was someone you really liked! 

Be communicative and provide feedback. If there is a delay for any reason, check in with your candidate to let them know you are interested but need some more time and give them a realistic time frame.

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