• Aida Xie

3 Keys to Conducting an Interview Remotely

Not long ago, the only known ways to conduct an interview is face-to-face or by phone. As the world of virtual work progress, so have the means by which employers conduct job interviews. Given that getting every candidate on your recruitment to shortlist in for an in-person interview is just not feasible in some cases, internet-based recruiting such as email and online engagement has rapidly taken over even the phone as a better and quicker way to connect with potential candidates. For conglomerates that were used to flying candidates in for an interview are changing their approach to conducting remote interviews as well, given how quickly the expenses skyrocketed when the search became protracted.

Photo by Bruce Mars

Conducting remote interviews may seem like a frightening or stressful prospect if you have never done it before. Without proper planning and coordination, interviewing remotely can add little value, disrupt your evaluation process and potentially lead to you missing out on top-talent for your company. There are certain best practices that can help take your interviewing skills to another level and we have collated a few of them below to help you maximize a remote interview and ultimately hire the best candidate.

Communicate and prepare the candidate

For a face-to-face interview, most candidates know what to expect. Most of the time, the receptionist will lead them to the interview room and they will wait nervously (at least for me) inside. However, it is different for a remote interview, especially if your candidate has not participated in one before. Set them at ease by communicating and informing them generally what to expect. Start by stating whether the interview will be an audio or video interview. It will be disastrous for both parties if the candidate finds out only at the beginning of the interview that it is through the video when they thought it is by audio. Next, be sure to mention the name of the software that will be used to prevent any last minute technical delay. Lastly, communicate clearly the date and time of the interview and state the party initiating the call. As the employer, it is generally a good idea to agree that you will call the candidate first.

Have an objective and plan questions

To make it more efficient, plan ahead and think about exactly what you need to hear from the candidate for them to proceed to the next stage of the recruitment. Refer back to your job description and decide which aspects are the most important for a candidate’s suitability. Although these will most likely help guide the questions that you will ask, it is essential that you plan a structure for your questions prior to the interview. This will ensure that it will proceed smoothly and allows you to get what you need out of the interview.

Be aware of your environment

Be it a audio or video interview; conduct it in a clean and quiet location with no distractions in the background. If it is video, check what is behind you and get rid of any clutter. Consider the lighting in the room as well. If you have a window in the background, ensure the shade is closed to prevent back-lighting that will put your face in a shadow and make it tough for the candidate to see you. To avoid interruptions, book out a room or inform your colleagues that you are busy. Removing any disturbances will ensure that the interview runs as planned and there are no awkward blips in communication.

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