The Do’s and Don’ts of Interviewing Remotely

The Do’s and Don’ts of Interviewing Remotely

Remote interviews are crucial for successful hiring in today's remote work world. Over-communicate, be patient, offer e-items, and show empathy during the process.

As the world shifts to remote work, remote interviews have started to become an essential part of maintaining a successful recruiting strategy. There are a lot of great companies who have instituted remote-first hiring for years (InVision, Gitlabs, and Toptal to name a few) proving that remote interviews can be just as successful as face-to-face when done correctly.

When thinking about remote interviewing, it helps to put yourself in the candidate’s shoes with regards to your company’s specific interview process to see if it passes the “virtual interview stress test”.

Before the Interview

  1. Over-communicate with the candidate. It’s always good practice to tell candidates about your interview process in writing beforehand, and it’s especially true when interviews are remote. Opting for a simple web page on your career site dedicated to your interview process is great; however, if you don’t have that, at the very least, make sure candidates know the type of interview they’ll be joining, what, if anything, the candidate will need, and how best they can prepare.
  2. Send calendar invites with information on who candidates are meeting. Sending calendar invites is a great way to keep every party accountable. Make sure your invites and exchanges include the names, roles, and profiles of the interviewers and any additional information the candidate might need to know.
  3. Be patient with candidates and try to simplify your asks. If you are using a video conferencing system that requires pre-installed software or accounts (like Zoom or Skype), be sure to send the candidate detailed instructions on how to get set up in advance. This will reduce confusion, anxiety, and frustration for everyone in the process.
  4. Some forward-thinking companies have also found ways to offer e-items like audiobooks or other schwag to replace company apparel, stickers or other items which may have traditionally been given to candidates in person. It’s a small touch but in markets where skilled candidates are in short supply, it can be a great way to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Key Takeaway: Ask yourself, what information would you want to know beforehand in order to prepare going through this interview process?

During the Interview

  1. Dedicate a few minutes to greet the candidate. Whether the interview is with a hiring manager or a member of your recruiting team, it’s important to start interviews off on the right foot before diving in.
  2. Allow time for breaks during panel interviews. Do not overlook this tip–especially when interviewing remotely. Just as you would during in-person interviews, be sure to block out time for breaks during extenuated back-to-back interviews.
  3. Prepare your interviewing team to go the extra mile. For some, video interviews can feel awkward. It’s important to push past any awkwardness and get to the actual content just as you would in person. Coach interviewers in virtual presence and make sure they give extra kindness and patience so candidates have the best experience possible.
  4. Don’t be afraid to cut things short. If the interview is not going well, don’t be afraid to stop but do it in a respectful and constructive manner.
  5. Reiterate the next steps. Be sure the last person to speak with a candidate reiterates the next steps, even if that means the recruiter needs to jump back on the call.

Key Takeaway: Interviewing can be a stressful process, and adjusting to remote interviews can add more complexity and stress to the situation. It’s important to show the human side of the process and go above and beyond to portray your company culture.

Post Interview

  1. Write down your feedback in real-time. If you’re using Clara Panels, Clara can send Scorecards and Feedback forms automatically to help gather candidate feedback.
  2. Regroup with the interviewing committee as soon as possible.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask the candidate for feedback on your process. Remember: they’re interviewing you at the same time you’re interviewing them!
  4. Get back to the candidate as soon as a decision has been made.

Key Takeaway: Post-interview process is crucial to any successful interview and working to tighten and adapt when remote first will help your team close candidates and help your company build a stronger employer brand.

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