Post Covid-19 pandemic, many global corporations have abandoned traditional hiring methods in favor of remote hiring.
Employers around the world are turning to remote hiring as a mean of expanding their workforce due to social distancing rules and enforced lockdowns. Shifting to remote interviews can be intimidating at first, but with the right strategy it gets easier. In this article, we provide some tips for interviewers for conducting professional remote interviews.
Adjust your remote interview environment
During the interview, keep a copy of your checklist, a pen and a notepad. Examine the location where you intend to hold the interview.
Consider your background next. You don’t need a sterile background—office or home decor is fine—but it’s a good idea to clear away any piles of paperwork or other workday clutter that could be visually distracting to your interviewee.
You can also use a virtual background if you prefer. This feature, is available on popular video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype, blurs or replaces your background with a still image.
Make a procedures document for the candidate
If you’ll be interviewing a large number of candidates for a position, it’s a good idea to have a standard itinerary you can share with them outlining your interview process.
Candidates must be aware of the type of remote interview software being used so that they can test it ahead of time.
List a backup phone number in case of glitches, bad lag in the interview software, or if one of you loses your internet connection.
Make a set of instruction for your interviewee including:
• The date and time of your meeting
• The names and roles of the interviewers
• An estimate of how long each conversation will take
• A link to download the video conferencing software
• Another link to access the meeting room
• Your backup plan in the event of a power outage or connectivity issue
When scheduling, keep time zone differences in mind.
Prepare your interview questions
Once you’ve scheduled the interview, assembled your panel, and worked out the technical details, it’s time to craft your interview questions. Try to come up with unique yet relevant questions that will assist you in determining the interviewee’s suitability for the role.
Make your list as job-specific as possible. Avoiding inappropriate interview questions by sticking to professional, rather than personal, topics.
If you are unsure whether or not to ask a specific interview question, consult with your human resources team. They can offer hiring managers advice tailored to your industry or company.
Break the ice
Begin with a casual yet brief introduction once the interviewee is ready. Allow each member of the interviewing panel to introduce themselves, their role, and a brief history of their time with the company. This is beneficial to the interviewee and allows you to conduct a last-minute check for any potential technical difficulties.
An icebreaker question can help to ease the transition from an introduction to the main interview questions. While you should avoid overly personal small talks, you can ask some job-related questions:
• What motivates you in your current search for a new job?
• What is most important to you right now in your career?
• What do you seek in your next position?
• Are you interested in working with any other companies?
Take care of the small details
When you and the interviewee are looking back at each other through a webcam, every detail is magnified.
- Dress professionally; great candidates will interview you just as much as you will interview them.
- Wear soft neutral colors during remote video interviews; bright colors can be distracting.
- Make sure that your workspace is clean and well-organized.
- Make sure the room where the interview is being held has adequate lighting.
- Keep your phone on silent mode.
- Maintain direct eye contact with the webcam.
- Speak a little more slowly than usual.
- Make the candidate feel at ease by smiling, being upbeat, and being positive.
Always have a backup plan
Even the best-laid plans can go wrong. You should never rule out the possibility of an unexpected problem, such as a power outage or a loss of internet connectivity. Make a backup plan in case problems arise. Depending on the circumstances, you may decide to:
• Reschedule the interview for another day.
• Convert a video call to a phone interview.
• Swap the time slots of two interviewers.
• Make use of your smartphone as an internet hotspot.
Inform all interviewers and the candidate of your backup plan. If an issue arises, everyone will be on the same page.
Focus on the body language of the interviewee
Take some time after the interview to go over your notes and evaluate the conversation. This could include going over what the interviewee said as well as their body language:
• Did they address the camera directly, or did they appear to struggle to stay engaged and focused?
• Did they nod or make other indications that they were listening to the conversation when they were not being directly questioned?
• Did they speak loudly enough for you to hear them through their computer microphone (assuming no technical issues, such as a poor internet connection)?
Keep in mind that an interviewee’s body language isn’t definitive, especially since conducting remote interviews can be a new or unusual experience for all parties involved, and body language differs from in-person interviews. However, it is another factor to consider when assessing how well the interview went overall.
Give your feedback
One of the most frequent concerns we hear from candidates is that they did not receive a response from the company following the interview. Feedback gives closure and enhances the candidate experience, which is essential for brand development.
Don’t keep candidates waiting for weeks without a response, giving them false hope; instead, inform them as soon as possible via email, using tact.
Conducting remote interviews can be challenging at first, but they grow simpler after mastering video interview software and establishing a proper system.
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