12 Tips for Conducting Successful Remote Interviews

a hiring manager interviews a candidate virtually

Demand for remote work is expected to proliferate by 30% by 2030, according to data from Gartner, due to Generation Z fully entering the workforce. At the same time, the outlook for companies with remote or hybrid teams looks significantly brighter, according to recent data from Gallup

As hybrid and remote teams become permanent fixtures in the world of work, leading HR professionals are learning new ways to conduct interviews that do not involve sitting face-to-face with a candidate across a boardroom table. 

While engagement and retention are important, success starts with the recruitment and interview processes. The following tips can help companies improve the way they conduct interviews for remote positions. 

Mind the technology gap

It is important not to assume a candidate is familiar with the video platform you’re using to conduct the interview, even if it is a well-known platform like Zoom, Google Hangouts or Microsoft Teams. The interview invitation should include clear instructions for calling in at the scheduled time, as well as any additional steps the candidate may need to log in. Extra care should be taken if you’re using a specialized interview platform, such as MyInterview or VidCruiter, as it may be the first time the candidate is using it. 

Run a test call with the interviewers

Make sure your team members are also technologically capable of leading the interview, as not being prepared will not reflect poorly on the company. Run a test call prior to the interview to maximize chances of success and ensure everyone can put their best foot forward. This step will become less important once team members become more experienced in leading remote interviews. 

Know your backup plan

Even when your team members are fully prepared, it’s still possible for technology glitches to happen. Patience and a few minutes of troubleshooting may do the trick. However, sometimes the audio just won’t turn on, servers are down or the internet crashes. There should be a background plan set for when all else fails. Be sure you have the candidate’s number and email. The phone call or email won’t be able to replace the video call but at least you can still connect and reschedule. 

Introduce details about the interviewers

Provide the candidate with the names, titles, brief bios and possibly LinkedIn profiles of each person from your company who will be speaking with them. This will give the candidate helpful information about the team and may guide them in asking more pertinent, pointed questions during the interview.

Set an interview agenda

Include an agenda when sending the interview invitation. By structuring the interview, you can ensure that all necessary points are touched upon and also set expectations for the interview. You can also include ‘internal’ notes that only you and team members can see, such as specific questions to ask the candidate.

If the candidate is undergoing a series of interviews with people from your team, be sure to designate break times at least every half hour so they all have a chance to stretch their legs and collect their thoughts. Also, it is helpful to coordinate to see who is asking what questions so there is not too much overlap in the different interviews. 

Outline interview assignments in advance

If the position you’re interviewing for requires a skills test, report or formal presentation, send materials to the candidate prior to the interview date. Be sure to give clear instructions and ample time for them to complete the task or prepare for the presentation before the interview. 

Dress the part

Ensure your team members and company come across as professional, friendly and welcoming. Even though it is a remote interview, interviewers should still dress as if they are facing a client or attending an important meeting. This will set the tone and give the candidate the idea of how they should dress for important meetings.

Know the candidate so you can ask the right questions

Prepare just as you would for an in-person interview. Review the candidate’s work history, skills and experience prior to the call. If an assignment is required, assess it before the interview as it will provide a springboard for questions directly related to the candidate. Keep your questions handy, whether it’s on another screen, printed out or displayed on your phone. This way, you are not clicking around your screen looking for them during the call. 

Promote your company culture

In the absence of the candidate coming to a physical office and getting a sense of the environment, the remote interview should provide details about the company culture. Introduce  the company’s mission, values and goals in the conversation. Share how you keep your remote workers connected, giving examples of how you socialize and do team-building. Also, highlight professional development opportunities. 

Go out strong and outline next steps

Job interviews are always a two-way street. While the company makes the ultimate selection,  the candidate may have other options and opportunities, especially for in-demand and hard-to-fill roles.

You’re looking for the best worker for the job and they are looking for the best career opportunity. As the interview comes to a close, be sure to ask the candidate if they have any questions and consider your responses carefully. Both the company and the candidate have one final opportunity to make a great first impression!

After the interview, thank the candidate for offering their time. Provide them with next steps in the process and let them know when they can expect to hear from you. 

Follow up timely and appropriately

You never want to leave a candidate hanging following an interview. Follow up and keep your commitments. With websites such as Glassdoor, where candidates can share their interview experiences, you want to make sure you leave a positive impression – even when the answer is “no thank you.” 

Candidate feedback on these sites show people often feel like they are left hanging by prospective employers. By following up in a timely and appropriate fashion, you can leave a more positive impression on a candidate – even if a job offer was not extended. 

Consider engaging a recruitment, hiring and HR partner

Managing a remote workforce is a challenging task, whether its recruitment, onboarding or fulfilling HR requirements. In-person work has been around for centuries while remote work is still a relatively new concept. By engaging an expert partner, you can tap into talent while lessening the burden of the learning curve on your internal team. 

An expert partner is especially recommended if your company is looking to hire from the global talent pool where regulatory compliance requirements vary from country to country. By working with a qualified Employer of Record (EOR), your company can reap the benefits of end-to-end international hiring. 

Source, recruit, interview, onboard and manage top talent from anywhere in the world!

Check out our Recruit & Hire solution or contact us to talk with an international HR expert about how an EOR partner can help you conduct remote interviews and tap into top international talent.