7 Tips To Conduct Remote Interviews That Don’t Suck

Recruitment - 20 May 2021 by Yehezkiel Faoma Taslim

COVID-19 has pushed everything online. We work from home, do meetings from home, even hire from home. 

And remote work is here to stay. Even before the pandemic working from home is already a popular trend.

With 89% of companies moving to virtual recruiting, remote video interviews are becoming a new reality.

Still, remote interviews are vastly different from “real” face-to-face interviews.

Remember how some people like to show up to virtual meetings with suits and shorts?

A man in glasses having an online meeting without trousers or pants.

No pants? No problem.

Image source: Slate

Virtual interviews bring lots of new factors to consider: internet connection, distractions, the mic, time zones, etc. etc.

Take a quick look at these tips on how to conduct remote interviews that don’t suck, that would be productive to both of you and give a good experience to the candidate.

1. Use pre-interview assessments

Interviews are not so different from dates: it’s a way for both the recruiter and the candidate to know each other better. And like dates, interviews should be granted to only those who seem promising. There’s no point in interviewing a candidate that you know won’t make a good fit.

Assess candidates before you decide to interview them. Online psychometric assessments such as Dreamtalent tells you the candidate’s personality, skills, work culture, and if they’d be a good fit for your company.

By identifying the best candidates for an interview, these assessments save you time and let you focus on the most promising talents.

2. Make sure the technology is ready

Nobody likes technical difficulties especially during job interviews. As recruiters, you’re carrying the company’s employer brand and it’s important to look professional and prepared in front of the candidates. So make sure the tools and technology are ready and functioning properly.

First of all, check your internet. Make sure it’s stable and fast enough to avoid getting disconnected halfway or sending off laggy video.

Then pay attention to your mic and earphones. Test your mic and make sure your voice is heard clearly without muffles or static. We recommend using earphones since speakers could give noise feedback to the candidate.

You may be conducting the virtual interview from your messy bedroom or kitchen, so use a virtual background to stay professional. A good choice is your company’s official virtual background, complete with logos and your name.

A sample virtual background of the corporate variant.

Corporate virtual background example.

Even when you’re fully prepared, you may still encounter issues from the candidate side. Maybe their mic isn’t working or they have issues getting into the meeting room. In that case, be ready to help them out with a list of FAQs and issues that you’ve also encountered, in order for a smooth interview for the both of you.

3. Have a backup plan

Just like life, the tools for virtual interviews can be unpredictable. In that case you should always have a backup plan to ensure that the interview goes on despite the technical issues that you may or may not foresee.

If the connection is laggy, try shutting off your video momentarily. Explain the situation to the candidate. Once the internet stabilizes and your upload speed recovers, turn it back on.

If somehow the video platform of your choice is down, make sure you have a secondary platform to go to. For example, we move our meetings to Google Meet if our main Zoom platform isn’t working.

Finally, if all options are exhausted, consider shifting the video interview into a phone interview. At the very least you’ll be able to hear each other clearly. You can still interview the candidate and evaluate if they fit your company even without video.

4. Remove all distractions

You may be wearing shorts underneath that suit but you still need to treat a virtual interview as if it takes place in a real room, face-to-face. That means a quiet place with no distractions.

Put your phone on silent, and your email alerts too.

Consider writing down your notes on paper instead of typing. If you choose to type, let the candidate know beforehand and try not to press those keys too loudly and interrupt their answers.

Find a quiet room or corner in your house, just like how the interview room in your office is quiet and isolated, so both you and your candidate can focus on getting to know each other.

You don’t want something like this to happen to you.

5. Brief the candidate

Communicate these tips to the candidate so they too can maintain a smooth virtual interview from their side.

In your interview invitation email, make sure you’ve informed them of the selected platform and the link or login if any.

Remind them to also find a quiet room and check their internet connection, mic, and everything else.

After all, a smooth, productive interview is in the interests of both you, the interviewer, and the candidate.

6. Be expressive

In another article we wrote how nonverbal communication — which is 90% of human communication — gets lost in cyberspace. The nuances in facial expressions, eye contact, the slightest nods, all these cues that would’ve been encouraging to the candidate (or let us know of their communication skills) are lost when we moved to video.

As the interviewer, this means you need to be more expressive in order to deliver this human element over a video medium. Use your intonation, give vocal feedback to let the candidate know that you’re listening and to encourage them to continue talking.

Here’s a special tip that you don’t see happening in face-to-face interviews: give a few seconds of grace period after you’re talking before they answer. This is because the internet connection may delay sending/receiving what they said, so this is to avoid talking over each other.

7. Post interview

Don’t forget to brief the candidates regarding post-interview matters. Inform them of the expected response time, the next stages, and so on. Just like how you’d conclude physical interviews.

It’s important not to take too long to respond to candidates lest they move on to other opportunities. With a simplified ATS, you can speed through the recruitment process by automating most tasks, so you can focus on evaluating the interview results.

Transform your entire recruitment process

Why stop at the interview? Take your entire recruitment and assessment process online with Dreamtalent. Not only automatic interview scheduling, our powerful platform provides scientifically proven psychometric assessments that makes it easy to know which candidates are the best fit for your company, in terms of personality, culture, skills, and more.

With Dreamtalent, it’s possible to do so much more than interviews remotely, and do so better and easier than before.

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