7 Tips for Interviewing Remote Candidates

Are you looking to hire your next remote rockstar, perhaps a copywriter or superstar SEO expert? When hiring, It’s not always possible to get employees to come into the office for an interview. The great news is, the internet has paved the way for us to create effective global & virtual teams.

Whether you’re a C level executive or part of a company’s HR department, creating a shortlist of candidates to fill your company’s position can be challenging. With so many boxes, marks to tick and candidates to sift through, this process can be a colossal time-constraint.

However, recruiting and hiring remotely comes with a host of benefits. Aside from reducing overhead, it allows your company to hire from a global talent pool. According to a survey by Career Builder, in 2017, 45% of employers were unable to fill job roles because they could not find qualified talent.

While a global talent pool is enticing, it also comes with a slew of challenges. In this article, we’ll share seven tips to help you implement a successful remote interviewing process.

Preparing the Candidate

Candidates usually know what to expect when going for an on-site interview. It’s standard procedure to walk into a building, wait to be seen by an interviewer, answer numerous questions, sweat profusely, and then leave with the hope that they have the job.

Remote interviews are a bit different. The candidate most likely has a vague idea of what to expect. However, there are many different processes that it’s important to communicate beforehand with clarity.

Some things to share before the interview include:

  • What type of call it will be (Video call, phone call, or conference call).
  • Provide the candidate with a brief for the interview. What they should expect, the duration of the meeting, which timezone it will be in, and who they’ll be speaking to.
  • Provide them with information and a link to any specific software that they may need.

Screener Interviews

According to Office Vibe, it takes an average of around 27 days to hire a new employee, and to add to the pressure, the best of the bunch is usually off the market within ten days.

A screener interview is a great way to get to know the candidate before getting them actually to interview. Get to know your candidate and gauge if they’re a suitable person for the job. As a remote employee, they need a personality that will gel with the rest of the team to collaborate, as well as the right credentials to perform designated tasks.

If you don’t want those highly qualified candidates to slip through the cracks, you can use a screener interview to introduce them to the company and retain their interest.

Communication is Key

According to HireVue, approximately 25 percent of the world’s population are introverted, and around 70 percent of CEOs describe themselves as introverts.

Remote work is solitary, and virtual workers tend to be introverted. The right communication is a cornerstone to building a rapport with a remote worker for a better interview.

Cut back on the small talk when interviewing remote employees. Being friendly, honest, and open is essential. You should also refrain from making the interviewee uncomfortable by filling the silences. Furthermore, allow for a little pause before expecting an answer. Introverts are overthinkers and conscientious about what they say.

While introverts may miscommunicate and come across as direct, expect them to downplay their abilities. Develop questions and scenarios that engage them head-on but allow them to showcase their expertise.

Say Cheese!

It’s 2020, so make use of all the glorious technology available to you. Use a video conferencing tool such as Skype or Zoom and interview via video. Video conferencing helps you to put a face to the candidate, gauge emotional responses, and get to know them on a more personal level. You’ll be able to see how the candidate responds under duress when asked a question that they don’t know how to answer.

Capture the video interview and use it to train HR leaders in your organization. Think of it like an A/B test, where you can find what questions work and what doesn’t work.

Evaluate for Different Areas

Remote employees have to fit into all areas of a company, including culturally, behaviorally, and their skillset. For example, you might hire a backend web developer that’s incredibly skilled at what they do but just can’t fit into the company culture. According to Jobvite, 60 percent of recruiters rate a candidate’s culture fit the most important when executing a hiring decision, and 78 percent rate enthusiasm a key factor when hiring.

Finding a candidate that checks all the boxes may be a difficult task. Still, according to a study by Columbia University, employees that integrate with a progressive company culture have a job turnover of only 13.9 percent, which means that employee retention is higher when candidates fit into the workplace ecosystem.

Empathy

It’s a buzzword for many modern companies. From marketers to folks in finance, understanding buyers, employees, and everyone else in between is becoming crucial to a company’s success.

During a survey by OfficeVibe, candidates that have a positive interview experience are 15 percent more likely to put more effort into their job.

Understanding your candidate on a personal level is going to help you conduct a remote interview that makes a difference. Take time to get to know who they are as a person as opposed to focusing solely on their potential role in the company.

The Final Countdown

When it’s crunch time, and you’ve narrowed your list down to the final 1 or 2 candidates, it’s now time to assess their ability to collaborate, turn around time on deliverables, accuracy, and skills by creating a test project or trial period.

It’s always a good idea to pay candidates for a test project, as the sample project helps you to gauge how well they perform. It will showcase different aspects of their skillset, including:

  • communication
  • team fit
  • skillset
  • prior experience

When interviewing your remote candidates, remember that the game changes from in-house to remote. Use video conferencing to get to know them on a personal level and make their interview as pleasant as possible. Once you see how they perform on an actual project, the better prepared you’ll be to fill the position with someone who will serve your company well.

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