Structuring A Successful Remote Interview

Structuring A Successful Remote Interview

Hiring looks a little different these days with everyone still working from home. It might feel strange to recruit through a screen but remote interviewing is fast becoming the new normal. When you can’t meet your candidate in-person, meeting through a screen is the next best thing. But how should you set up your online interviews for the best chance of success? Let’s look at some tactics you can try to make sure the next time you interview, you find the right person for the role, even if it’s in a virtual environment.

5 strategies for remote interviews

You’ve put your job description out there and candidates are responding. How should you prepare for your first round of video interviews?

Test your tech: It’s every candidate’s worst nightmare to be in the middle of an interview only to have the video cut out on Zoom. These days, we all need to make allowances for technology. Odds are, you’ve run into some sort of tech issue in the past year of online meetings yourself. It could easily happen during an interview too. If you can, make a plan in advance and be ready for the unexpected. Test out all the tech you’ll be relying on and make sure you have a good internet connection on the day you interview. It’s also a smart idea to make a backup plan with your candidate in case things go wrong such as switching to a phone interview if you run into trouble with technology. 

Use behavioural interview questions: The list of questions you choose to use during your interview is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when connecting with a candidate. To get the most out of your time in a remote job interview, plan what you’ll ask in advance and have a selection of questions ready to draw from. When in doubt, try to use behavioural interview questions. These are questions that ask the interviewee to respond in more depth, rather than a simple yes or no. Consider questions such as, “Tell me about a time when you had too much to do without enough resources” or “What would your colleagues say is your greatest weakness?” These questions ask your job seeker to delve into more depth as they respond which gives you more data to use when making your hiring decision. For a quick interview tip, prepare your range of questions in advance and stick to them with every candidate you interview to keep things fair and formulate a baseline of candidate responses. 

Pro-tip: Don’t forget about candidate experience just because your hiring process is moving online

Think about your setting: In the office, you probably thought about where a candidate would sit and who would be around to welcome them when they arrived. Candidates would have received a sense of the company and the people in it as they came in for their interview. None of this can happen anymore, of course, but you can still take a moment to think about how you’re presenting yourself and what a candidate will see when you meet. For example, don’t interview with a messy background or bad lighting as it shows your lack of preparedness and potentially a lack of interest. Think about whether you should wear casual or business casual clothing. Are there documents or information your candidate should receive ahead of time such as culture videos or role details? Think about what you need to prepare before you meet a candidate so that the video interview can go as smoothly as possible.

Leverage assessments: Bridging the distance is a challenge when interviewing online. It can be hard to gauge who your potential hire truly is and what their performance might be like on the job. One way to address those questions is through psychometric assessments. Assessments can help shine a light on your candidate’s personality, cognitive, and behavioural attributes before they join the team. This can help guide an interview and highlight potential areas of strength or weakness to probe in more depth while you have time with a candidate. Just because you can’t meet face-to-face doesn’t mean your amount of candidate insight needs to suffer. Assessments are a quick and easy way to accumulate that data in a remote world as they can be administered, scored, and debriefed completely online. 

Read More: Do you think about company values when you’re making your hiring decision?

Communicate with candidates: These days everyone is a little more tense than usual with the pandemic dragging on. Whatever the decision of your interview, take the time to let your candidate know. Poor candidate communication was a problem even before Covid and now it can be a real source of worry and stress for your job seekers. Candidates might be looking for work because of an unexpected change in their employment status and wondering if they’re ever going to hear back from hiring managers is an added layer of stress no one needs. So be kind and make sure you’re communicating appropriately with every candidate throughout the entire hiring process. If nothing else, it helps keep the candidate relationship positive and you never know when a good recruit might come back to you in the future. 

Remote interviews aren’t going anywhere

One aspect of remote recruiting that is likely here to stay is video interviewing. It saves time and effort for both candidates and recruiters alike and when you take the time to prepare, it can be just as informative as in-person interviews. You can still detect body language and facial expressions through a screen and you can still cover all the most important parts of an interview such as asking key questions and sharing useful information. Just because the hiring process had to move online doesn’t mean it needs to cost you candidate information when you recruit. Assessments and behavioural based interview questions can both help recruiters reach a deeper level of insight into who they’re hiring before they make their final decisions. And as one last thing to consider, make sure you have a plan for what to do if technology fails. It’s an online world we’re living in so be prepared for the unexpected. Make sure you have alternative ways to reach your candidates, like swapping phone numbers, if you run into video glitches. Don’t sacrifice quality just because you have to hire remotely. You can still find your next great hire through a screen, even if your approach might need a little adjusting.

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