To help you conduct successful remote interviews, we gathered insights from professionals, including CEOs, founders and managers. From prioritizing human connection to planning and building rapport, these experts share their top tips for making the most of virtual interviews.
Prioritize Human Connection
To conduct an effective remote interview, allocate time for an informal conversation at the beginning or end of the interview. This will encourage candidates to open up and share more about themselves beyond their qualifications and technical skills.
This informal interaction provides valuable insights into a candidate’s personality, cultural fit within the organization, and ability to build relationships remotely—all of which are crucial factors for long-term success in a remote work environment.
Taking the time to connect on a more personal level demonstrates that we, as recruiters and hiring managers, care about candidates’ career journeys and their overall well-being. It also allows candidates to envision themselves as part of our company culture, fostering a sense of trust and authenticity from the very beginning.
By prioritizing human connection, we can uncover hidden talents, identify cultural alignment, and ultimately make more informed decisions.
Senior Executive Consultant – Head of Fintech Engineering Search, EC1 Partners
Use Familiar Technology and Icebreakers
My top tip for conducting effective remote interviews is to ensure the interviewer and interviewee both feel comfortable with the technology. Have a practice session so that you become familiar with how each platform works, allowing the interview to flow smoothly on the day.
As the most common example, try using icebreaker questions or activities in your remote interviews instead of diving straight into technical questions; this will make both parties more relaxed and ready to discuss important topics. This practice has been proven in research studies to reduce stress and set a positive tone throughout the entirety of conversations.
Operations Manager, Virtual Holiday Party
Focus on the Objective and Time Management
At times, interviewers and job candidates become dismissive of interviewing logistics in remote settings, which can yield slipshod results. It’s the interviewer’s responsibility to lead the interview appointment in a timely and organized manner. It’s a professional engagement with the objective to learn about the job candidate.
It’s the job candidate’s responsibility to honor the commitment as if it were taking place in person. This includes remaining mindful of one’s physical demeanor, presentation, background settings, and overall goal for selling their best self for a professional opportunity.
From observation, at least 25-30% of the time is wasted on frivolous chatter that lacks pertinence at hand. It results in meeting overruns and incomplete interviews that demand an additional meeting for some candidates. This is a red flag letting job candidates know how the company values their time, and possibly how employees work with no regard for time.
Founder, Sasha Talks
Engage Candidates with Follow-Up Questions
My top tip for conducting effective remote interviews is to focus on the candidate’s engagement. Ask questions that will make them talk about their background, skills, and experiences while remaining engaged in the conversation.
When a candidate starts feeling too comfortable with the remote interview process, they can become complacent, which hinders discovering key information to decide if they are a good fit or not. A common way to do so is to use follow-up questions that incorporate elements from the candidate’s answers that demonstrate their understanding of the topic being discussed.
This strategy keeps the interviewee focused and allows you to gauge whether they are familiar with topics or grasped opinions quickly.
CEO, Virtual Team Building
Maintain Engagement and Proper Etiquette
The top tip I have for someone conducting a remote interview is to stay engaged. People tend to forget that the other person can always see them when they are on a webcam or phone cam even when they aren’t talking. They also tend to get a little lazy in their speech or can’t master when the other person is finished speaking, as there could be an electronic delay.
Look at the person speaking and listen to them just as you would in person. Act just as you would if they were sitting in front of you. Be sure not to interrupt and keep your voice level with clear speech, just as you would in an in-person interview. These are ways to stay engaged.
Dentist, Ora Dental
Test Technology and Setup Beforehand
My top tip for conducting effective remote interviews is to test the technology and setup beforehand.
Ensuring a smooth and seamless interview experience is crucial in assessing candidates accurately. By testing the video conferencing software, internet connection, and audio quality in advance, you can avoid technical glitches and minimize disruptions during the interview.
This preparation allows you to focus on evaluating the candidate’s qualifications and fit for the role, leading to more successful remote interviews.
Growth Director, Notta
Showcase the Company Culture Virtually
A top tip for conducting effective remote interviews is to create a seamless and engaging virtual experience that showcases your company’s culture and values. Studies show that 86% of job seekers consider company culture a deciding factor when choosing an employer (Glassdoor, 2021).
To achieve this, personalize the interview process by incorporating interactive elements like virtual office tours or video introductions from team members. Use video conferencing tools with intuitive interfaces to ensure smooth communication.
One real-life example is how our company designed a “Virtual Day in the Life” experience, where candidates had virtual shadowing sessions with employees, gaining insights into the company’s work environment and team dynamics. By going beyond traditional interviews, we built meaningful connections with candidates and attracted top talent.
CEO and Founder, Academy of Digital Marketing
Set a Professional Interview Environment
When conducting a remote interview, it’s important to create a professional environment. Make sure that you’re dressed appropriately, and that your background is clean and uncluttered. You may also want to consider using a virtual background if your actual background is distracting.
Marketing Director, AnySoftwareTools
Embrace Technology and Prepare Thoroughly
My top tip for conducting effective remote interviews is to embrace technology and prepare thoroughly.
Test your video conferencing platform beforehand to ensure smooth communication. Create a structured interview format with clear questions and evaluation criteria. Prioritize active listening and non-verbal cues to gauge candidate engagement. Use screen-sharing to showcase visuals or presentations.
Maintain a professional and engaging demeanor to create a positive virtual experience. Allow time for questions and address any concerns about remote work. By leveraging technology and being well-prepared, you can conduct remote interviews that effectively assess candidates and make informed hiring decisions.
CEO, Authors On Mission
Ensure Clear Communication
My top tip for conducting effective remote interviews is to ensure clear and consistent communication throughout the process. Since remote interviews lack in-person interaction, it’s crucial to establish clear expectations and guidelines to ensure a smooth experience.
First, provide detailed instructions to candidates regarding the interview format, technology requirements, and any additional materials they need to prepare. This helps them feel prepared and confident in the remote interview setup.
Last, follow up with candidates promptly, providing feedback and next steps in a timely manner. Effective remote interviewing includes providing a positive candidate experience that reflects the values of your organization and respects the candidate’s time and effort.
By focusing on clear communication and creating a welcoming environment, you can conduct effective remote interviews that allow you to assess candidates’ qualifications and potential to thrive in a remote work setting.
CEO, Coach Foundation
Create Seamless Conversations
When it comes to remote interviews, ensuring a seamless conversation where both parties feel heard is crucial. Here are a few tips to help with that:
- Set a clear agenda and direction for the interview. It helps maintain clarity on both sides about how the conversation is going to shape up. Plus, it helps the interviewee get a better picture of the expectations they should have from the interview.
- Begin with asking a few icebreaker questions. Instead of diving straight into the interview questions, starting with a couple of icebreaker questions can help establish a sense of comfort.
- Keep distractions to a minimum. It’s easy to get distracted by your surroundings over remote calls. But any distractions during the remote interview can throw either person off and disturb the interview process. So, make sure to keep all distractions at bay when you’re taking a remote interview.
Co-Founder and Managing Director, WrittenlyHub
Plan and Build Rapport
Effective remote interviews require clear communication, careful planning, and the ability to establish a connection with candidates despite the physical distance.
A strategy I have found to be particularly powerful and which has contributed to many successful remote interviews is sending candidates clear and concise instructions about the interview structure, duration, interview format, such as whether it will be a panel interview or one-on-one.
You should also provide an overview of the topics or questions that will be covered. This helps candidates prepare appropriately and feel more at ease during the interview.
Of course, as the interviewer, you should take proactive steps to establish rapport to help the candidate relax and perform their best. For example, you could ask how they are feeling, how their weekend was, and even make a light, appropriate joke that might help to break the ice.
Founder and CEO, 180 Engineering
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