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7 Tips for Conducting Remote Interviews

In the remote-first workplace environment we find ourselves in, employers and employees alike are adjusting to the new norm of having different colleagues in different locations. A world that’s allowed us to work with people from anywhere and hire new employees via a computer screen, all while donning sweatpants.

Since Hiring Managers find themselves in the same situation as many, working from home, how can they best conduct an effective and efficient interview process across the digital landscape?

  1. Prepare Your Technology – Essentially, Murphy’s Law is if it can happen when you least want it to, it will. Do a dry run the day before, testing out any software programs you plan to use, Zoom, Skype, etc. Make sure you are in a location that has a solid Wi-Fi connection and decent acoustics.
  2. Keep Plan B in Your Pocket – Have a second plan of attack in case your original one doesn’t work out. Sometimes even when you prepare, things can go haywire. What if the conferencing platform doesn’t work or certain features, like screen sharing, become unavailable? Have the interviewee’s contact information within arm’s reach if FaceTiming or a simple phone call become your only options to connect.
  3. Avoid Distractions – Set yourself up somewhere in your house or remote location where you will have privacy. If you are working from home, alert your family or housemates that you are getting on a call and cannot be interrupted. If your house inhabitants don’t understand this (pet or baby), do your best to prepare them for the call. For example, take your dog for a walk before starting the interview or make sure your baby is fed and changed before jumping on.
  4. Dress the Part – Working from home isn’t an open invitation to look like a slob. Set the tone of the interview by dressing however your company’s dress code recommends. This can be anything from a t-shirt and jeans to a shirt and tie. As an interviewer, you represent your company, and it sets an expectation for the interviewee too.
  5. Ask the Questions that Matter – In-person interviews give someone a physical look at an organization. Try to come up with questions that help the interviewee get an idea of the setup. For example, if they will be working in an open floor plan, ask them how they feel about a work environment like that vs. office or pod style. Think about the job you’re interviewing for. Ask questions that help to determine how the interviewee would fit in the role.
  6. Eliminate Team Interviews – Have you ever been in a Zoom meeting where people talk over one another, creating a cycle of a delay, an I’m sorry, can you repeat that, followed by talking over one another all over again. Eliminate the chances of this happening by conducting interviews one-on-one. Plus, this gives you the chance to really get to know someone as best you can in the time you have to interview. And sometimes, getting a feel for who the person really is helps determine how good of a fit they’ll be for your company.
  7. Remember Pleasantries – You want to mimic an in-person interview as best you can when it comes to certain parts of the interview process. Pre-interview is one of them. When you meet with a candidate in-person, the beginning of an interview usually includes small talk as you both settle in. Don’t forget that casual conversation before digging into your questions. It helps to put the interviewee at ease and transition into the interview comfortably.

If you have experience with interviewing candidates remotely, what is your favorite tip for other hiring managers? Start the conversation on LinkedIn and check out What Productivity Looks Like Post-Pandemic.