Your guide to interviewing remotely

interviewing remotely

The benefits of remote interviews are being reaped by both recruiters and candidates.

remote interviewing
Image from FreePik

A staggering 72% of candidates will report bad interviews on social media and with their peers.  If you’re looking to improve your recruiting process with remote interviewing, you need to get started on the right foot.

While you may feel a bit sceptical about remote interviewing candidates, it’s not as hard as you think it is. Often, these interviews are quite successful because the pressure and stress usually felt by a candidate in a face-to-face interview are diluted by the comfort of being interviewed in their own home.

So how do you conduct effective remote interviews? If you’re new to remote interviewing or want to improve your process, read on.

Do’s of remote interviewing

1. Do ensure you use an effective interview video hosting platform

reworking video interview header questions
reworking video interview header questions

How you conduct your remote interview will set you apart from your competition. Many employers use live remote interviewing over platforms such as Zoom or Skype. However, using dedicated software designed around remote interviewing will make your recruitment process far easier and much more successful.

Remote video interviewing software enables employers to standardize the interview process across all candidates. This ensures a fairer process, reduces hiring bias and makes for easier comparison between candidates.

2. Do ensure you ask effective interview questions

In remote interviews, it’s important to ask questions that are relevant and cover all areas that you would want to know about an applicant. While the basics such as employment history and skill set should be covered, you should ask behavioural-based questions to predict how they’ll respond to situations in the role.

You can find out more about behaviour-based interview questions here: Unique interview questions and answers.

3. Do make the process as easy as possible for candidates

When sending candidates the link to set up their video interview, you should give them clear and straightforward instructions on how to get it set up.

It’s important to be mindful that this will probably be the first remote interview for many of your candidates. Even if it isn’t, many video interviewing processes are different, whether they are live or pre-recorded.

Your candidate should be familiar with the process before sending their recorded video. The best way to do this is to send clear instructions on how the candidate should set up and answer their questions.

Set up should include background, lighting, where to look and how long they have to answer each question and more.

We have written a great guide on how candidates should set up and prepare for their video interviews: Tips for running a one-way video interview.

 4. Do share your candidate interviews with departmental managers to make the hiring decision together.

The great thing when using dedicated video interviewing software is that all video interviews are saved, re-watched and shared among relevant staff.

When making your decision on your candidate of choice, you should share your favourite interviews for a second opinion and different perspectives on which candidate qualities are right for the role.

5. Do review your candidate interviews at the same time for effective comparison

The great thing about remote video interviews is that all candidates get asked the same questions.

While this reduces hiring bias, it also has another advantage. It makes it much easier to directly compare candidate answers. Especially if you’ve got two great candidates and you can’t decide between them.

Each answer can be re-watched and reviewed, allowing recruiters to effectively use a scoring matrix beside it.

Don’ts of remote interviewing

1. Don’t assume all candidates will be tech-savvy.

Woman thumbs upUnless your job vacancy requires a technically skilled candidate, then you should be a little forgiving if candidates need some extra assistance or advice on recording their video interview.

Remember, while you’re looking for the perfect candidate for your organisation, job seekers are also looking for the perfect organisation for them. If you show unwillingness or annoyance at candidates who are asking for a little help, you could potentially be harming your chance of securing top talent.

But as we mentioned, the only exception for this would be if you’re seeking a candidate who needs to have experience in remote working.

 

2. Don’t miscommunicate your recruitment process

It’s so important to communicate clearly to your candidates the recruitment timeline and when they can expect a result of their success or not.

Clear communication was one of the most effective ways to improve the candidate experience. Mitigating those negative reviews on social media and Glassdoor.

A great feature of using dedicated video interviewing software is that automatic updates and messages are sent to the candidate via SMS or email. So once they’ve sent in their application, they’ll be automatically notified that it’s been received.

Likewise, when a video interview has been processed and sent, the candidate will receive a message from the recruiter. This message notifies candidates they’ve received the video.

 

Common Mistakes candidates make when remote interviewing

1. Dressing inappropriately

Just because it’s a remote interview from the comfort of home, doesn’t mean candidates can sit there in their loungewear.

A video interview is still an interview. Candidates should dress the part as if they were to have the interview at the location. Recruiters will still be able to see at least the upper half of their body on video interviews.

2. Not following video interview set up instruction

Some candidates, especially those who are technically competent will rush the video interview. Often skipping the instructions and set up advice provided by recruiters because they are familiar with the software.

While recording a video interview is relatively easy, any candidates who miss specific instruction will be negatively scored by recruiters.

It demonstrates a lack of care for details, which suggests the interview isn’t that important to them. It also demonstrates that they are unable to follow instructions. – Not desirable qualities for a candidate.

3. Not practising before the actual recording

Candidates should always practice answering interview questions- even experienced candidates who have had many interviews. Especially as remote interviews are slightly different to face-to-face interviews.

While it can be much less stressful, there is an added element of rigidity, as there is no natural back and fore of social interaction. It’s more challenging to keep up charm and charisma when talking into an unresponsive device.

Therefore, candidates should record themselves prior to the interview on their own, then review their footage to see how they come across.

4. Not checking the internet connection

Ensuring internet connection is essential for remote interviewing.  This is especially true for live interviews where there is a recruiter connecting on the other end.

If the candidate’s internet connection fails just before or during the interview, they’re wasting the recruiters time.

5. Eating during the video recording or live interview

Image from FreePik

One of the biggest offences a candidate can do in an interview is eating.

It shows a lack of earnestness for the interview. A sip of water to cure a dry mouth is acceptable, but any other drinks would be a big no-no.

Candidates should focus on making a good impression, and answering the interview questions.

6. Looking or using their phone during an interview

While it’s pretty common for people to have a compulsion to look at their phones, it is totally unacceptable to do it during an interview.

Before the remote interview begins candidates should either turn their phones off or silence them if using it to record the interview.

Looking or using a phone other than how it’s intended to be used during a video interview tells recruiters the candidates is not serious about the role.

Even more so, if a candidate is unable to restrain themselves from using their phone during an interview, they will be using it often on the job.

Not researching the company before the interview

Almost every interview will ask the candidate what they know about the organisation, or why they want to work for the company. Candidates should be armed with knowledge on the company history, company culture and company goals. Candidates who fail to give a genuine answer will look as though they aren’t serious about the role.

8. Not looking at the camera lens

Candidates should look at the camera lens when answering their questions. This is so that it looks like they are making eye contact when the footage is being reviewed.

9. Camera in a poor position

remote interview
Image from FreePik

Many candidates will set up their cameras at high or side angles because they feel it makes them look better. But for an interview, the best camera position is to face on, with the candidate set middle of the screen.

10. Not addressing the interviewing panel

When it comes to live video interviews with a panel of interviewers, candidates should aim to address each other by name when answering questions. As eye contact is difficult to determine over a video call, it is especially impossible with multiple split screens.

For candidates to be clear about who they are responding to and talking to, they should use the interviewer’s names. However, it’s important to research the pronunciation of names prior to the interview too. If a candidate only learns the names during the interview, candidates should make a note of the name and write it out phonetically.

How to set up a remote office

For recruiters interviewing at home, it’s important you represent your company well.

Background

With the pandemic bringing about remote working, it’s not expected for employees to work from the office. Instead, they’ve needed to adjust at home with a remote office. But to achieve this, while maintaining a professional image is a must.

It’s important to first create a neutral background for remote videos.  A plain white background is best, to avoid any distractions. However, if this isn’t possible find a neutral space with as few items in the background as possible.

Lighting

Ensure the light is facing towards you. Ideally, face a window for natural sunlight. But if this isn’t possible find someday lamps facing towards you instead.

Get your computer ready for the interview

One of the main things when getting the computer ready for the interview is to ensure a good internet connection. Another is to get any documents, or screen sharing ready and easily accessible. Ensure if using a laptop the charger is plugged in or the batteries are fully charged.

Preparation for a remote interview

For candidates and recruiters interviewing remotely, preparation is key. Especially if there is screen sharing and documents to be shared or with presentations.

Get yourself familiar with the software and platform you’ll be using. Practice how you’ll move between screens, documents and screen sharing. It should come as second nature to you so there is no added pressure on the day of the interview.

It’s okay to use notes too. Put sticky notes of notes up around your screen. But ensure to use these notes as reminders of what topics to talk about. Never read directly from the notes as this will be noticeable.

The interview

Go into the interview in an upbeat and positive attitude and ensure this level of energy is maintained throughout. This is your opportunity to showcase your best self (candidate or employee). And for both parties to remember that the interview works both ways. You both need to impress the other.

Pay attention to your facial expressions, body language, tone of voice and where you’re looking. It can be surprising how much we say about ourselves and what we’re thinking indirectly.

What to do after an interview

Candidates who want to stand out from the crowd will be bold in their actions. A fantastic way to grab the attention of a recruiter is to send them a personal, handwritten thank-you note.

Wait at least 14 business days before making contact and asking whether you’re successful or not. By being too eager can come across as annoying, and it will only cause harm towards you for that.

Building trust via video

For recruiters, it can be difficult to build trust via video, but there is an appropriate way to get it done.

First things first, be completely transparent with candidates. If your recruitment process is delayed or longer than usual, openly communicate this to your candidates from the first stage of setting expectations. It may feel you’re risking losing candidates, but more often than not, they will appreciate the honesty and gain respect long term about the company values and culture.

 

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this post and found some useful tips with remote interviewing going forward. As always please share on your social media page!

 

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