How To Make Remote Interviewing Effective

How To Make Remote Interviewing Effective

Screening candidates through quick video calls before meeting them in person is not a new thing. But what if you make the entire hiring process virtual, as many are currently doing in this 'new' normal? How can you ensure that your hiring is successful when you only meet candidates online?

It's going to take some getting used to for sure, as is everything involved in remote office work that none of us were prepared for at the start of 2020 and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a successful remote hire is more than possible. In fact, done right the remote hiring process can be faster, more efficient and cheaper than the traditional in person process.

Remote Interview Advantages

A remote interview process doesn’t have to be sloppier than the traditional, in-person interviews. You can still have different hiring stages so that various team members meet and evaluate candidates. However, when you interview candidates remotely, you have the chance to speed up hiring, which eventually benefits your overall time-to-hire. Here’s how:

  • Request initial one-way video interviews. They are pre-recorded, so you can evaluate them at any time, at your own convenience. You don’t have to block specific time for each candidate and you don’t have to reschedule if something else comes up.
  • The entire hiring team can view recorded video interviews and decide whether they want to move on with a candidate or reject them. Otherwise, each interviewer will have to meet with candidates separately which is more time-consuming or you’ll have to conduct a panel interview which is harder to coordinate.
  • You cut back on time spent sending directions, welcoming candidates to your offices, making travel arrangements if you’re in different locations, etc. Video interviews allow you to meet candidates without leaving your desk, which can make a huge difference when you’re scaling and have multiple interviews per day or week.
  • When screening candidates through one-way video interviews, you can simply send one email with the questions or instructions to all candidates. Instead, if you rely on phone screens as has been the case in the past, you have to interview candidates one-by-one.
  • It’s likely that some candidates will drop out of the hiring process if they have to invest time to record a video of themselves instead of the more traditional application form or phone screen. This may be far from a bad thing. This leaves you with the candidates who are truly interested in the job and your company – i.e. you avoid spending time interviewing candidates who doubt whether they’re a good fit for the role.
  • If you rely only on local talent, it might take you longer to find the candidate who fits your requirements. On the other hand, when you cast a wider net, by interviewing and hiring employees remotely, you increase your chances of finding the skills you’re looking for faster.
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Remote Interview Pitfalls

Remote interviews are not perfect, but there are some pitfalls you should be especially aware of:

Confusing Interviewees

Even for people who are familiar with technology, video interviews can be a bit intimidating if they’re used to being in an office setting. That’s why getting both your hiring team and your candidates comfortable with the remote hiring process is essential.

Start by making it clear to candidates that you’ll connect through video. Share some simple guidelines, explain how they’ll join the call or how they’ll record their answers and help them set up their equipment. Then do the same for your hiring team.

A good idea would be to create a guide with useful tips on how candidates can prepare for a video interview. You might also want to record a video where a recruiter or hiring manager from your company talks about the company or welcomes the candidate to the hiring process, in order to set the tone and give candidates a glimpse of your team before the interview.

While remote interviews don’t differ much from regular, in-person interviews, consider helping candidates prepare themselves before a video call. This way, both parties – interviewers and candidates – can focus on the actual interview. Here’s what you can do:

  • Help them set up their equipment (camera, mic, video software)
  • Share some quick troubleshooting tips (e.g. what to do if the internet connection is flaky)
  • Give some alternatives beforehand in case of technical hiccups (e.g. “If you have trouble connecting to Zoom, call me at [number]”)
  • Offer advice on how they can look better on camera (what colors work best, how to fix the lighting, how to choose their background, etc.)
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