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Conducting remote interviews: Tips and tricks

The GoodJob Team | June 13, 2020

Because candidates are not always in the area of your physical location, sometimes an in-person interview can’t happen. We have put together a few tips to help you (and your candidate) have a smoother remote interview experience. 

1. Communicate

It’s up to you to set clear expectations for the candidate. Let them know who will be on the call, what video conferencing software they should download, if the interview will be recorded, and other relevant details. This will help the candidate feel at ease and get a better glimpse into how your company operates.

2. Trial Run

Let’s be real, technical problems happen all too often. Make sure you do a trial run on whatever conferencing software you’re planning to use.

3. Backup Plan

When problems arise, keep calm and adapt. Allow yourself enough time to adapt to a new plan, and let your candidate know of any changes. Offer flexible interview times, both to mitigate technical issues and humanize the interview process.

4. Sound

It’s good practice to have a pair of headphones nearby in case your speakers fail or you have unexpected interruptions. Like your dog barking at the UPS truck!

5. Minimize Distractions

Make sure to silence your phone and turn off alerts for messages and emails. Have a spot ready where you can comfortably conduct the interview. If you’re constantly shifting or there are background noises, it can be distracting for both you and the candidate.

6. Be Professional

Even if you’re at home, dress as you would if you were conducting the interview in person. Aim for an uncluttered background. Make sure you’re conducting the interview with the same level of attention and professionalism as you would a face-to-face interview.

7. Be Prepared

Have your interview questions ready to go and the candidate’s profile where you can see it easily. Also have the job description nearby in case the candidate refers to it during the interview. If there are multiple people interviewing the candidate, go over what each person will ask. Who will introduce the team and the goals of the interview? Will you do a round-robin? Will everyone be present the entire time? This will help minimize talking over each other and feel more like your team works well together.

8. Be Aware

Pay attention to your body language and tone of voice. Even though a screen is separating you and the candidate, you’re both still people. You want the candidate to know you’re engaged in the conversation. Try to look into the camera when you’re talking. Smile and laugh as you would in person. Give a couple of seconds after the end of your sentence to minimize talking over each other. Speak clearly but don’t shout. Be an active listener, nodding your head, maintaining eye contact. If not on camera, summarize talking points so the candidate knows you heard what they said.

9. What’s Next?

Before you end the interview, make sure to ask if they have any questions for you. Recap the interview and make sure they know what the next steps are. Don’t leave your candidate hanging! This is often a candidate’s first peek into your company and you want to leave them with a positive impression.

10. And After That?

Use each interview as a way to evaluate how your company conducts interviews and what you could do differently next time. Were there lots of technical issues? Did everyone stick to their talking points? Were there other distractions? Was the candidate able to connect easily? The better you get at conducting these interviews, the better candidates you’re likely to attract in the long run.

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