• Ben Leeson

remote interviewing - your practical guide.

Updated: Jan 8, 2021

For a large number of organisations, remote working isn't something they are used to, so trying to move your business into the remote world can be a little daunting.

Thankfully, we live in a world surrounded by technology, so carrying out virtual recruitment can be done with minimal effort and, more importantly, without having to compromise on candidate experience.

The key thing to remember as you go through this guide, is you're not alone. A huge number of companies around the globe will be having the same concerns, worries and frustrations about remaining effective during this period of uncertainty. Providing you follow these very simple steps and keep the candidate experience at the centre of your plans then you’ll be fine!

We can break down the basics for good remote interviewing into 3 sections; Preparation, Action and Communication. Let's start, as you always should, at the beginning with the preparation.

1 - Prepare, prepare, prepare!

We know this is stating the obvious slightly but good preparation and planning is vital to any interview process, it becomes even more important when that process is being managed remotely. Before you start working on the actual logistics with the candidate, make a few key choices that will help to shape the running of the interview.

Your environment...

A Lot of workers will now have a dedicated place in their homes to work remotely, a home work space. Whether that place be their ikea furnished home office or simply the dining room table, either works just as well. However, before the interviews begin check in with all the panel and ensure their workspace is set up and ready; they have enough natural light, they are near a charging point for their laptop, their wi-fi connection is strong. That way you minimise any of the awkward location issues beforehand.

Get your systems sorted...

There are loads of really good video conferencing tools out there right now, Zoom, Teams by Microsoft, google hangouts etc. Some of these guys are also giving free or discounted access to their platforms during the current crisis, albeit for a limited time so take advantage!

A good but relatively obvious tip, once you have your systems sorted, is consistency. Try to keep the candidate experience as uniform and consistent as possible by using the same system, this means less worry on your part as you know the system and its capabilities and the candidate is already familiar with how to log in and set themselves up with the tech.

Ownership of the process...

By the time a candidate has reached the ‘meeting’ phase of the interview process, they have probably dealt with a number of different people in the team. Try to keep just one point of contact for the process and the candidate and communicate these details as early as possible, if anything arises for the candidate, i.e tech or connection issues during the interview, they know who to contact. Despite there being a number of people in the interview from your side, try and maintain the candidates main point of contact as the ‘lead’ interviewer and allow them to introduce the panel and collect any questions at the end.

Get your ‘scripts’ ready...

Now you have your lead interviewer sorted, ensuring that everyone else on the panel understands their role during the process, what questions they’ll be asking and who will take any specific candidate questions at the end as you want to avoid all talking at once or not giving the candidate a chance to engage with each interviewer. It's always a good idea to assign a note taker too as you can then refer back to the points made post interview, or to eliminate any bias or subjective favouritism from the panel. This is a vital role in the process as it allows the interviewers on the panel to focus their attention on the candidate and not miss some important answers as they're too busy trying to make physical notes.

Tech tests?...

For candidates that are going through the ‘final’ interview remotely, you want to ensure you are assessing their technical skills too. You may want to change the whiteboard exam, which can be difficult in a remote process, to a remote or live coding challenge. When partnered with Talent Hub Pro, you would have full access to both Online Technical Assessments and Remote Technical Interviews with live coding challenges.

2 - What you need to action.

So now all the pre-work is done, conducting the remote interview should be a breeze as you'll be retaining all the best practices you would for an on-site. You want to make the candidate feel both respected and comfortable while highlighting your company values and culture. Both sides have invested time into this process and you want to make the most of it. So what do you need to action in the lead up to and during the remote interview...

Check your tech

You can’t make a first impression twice! Whether it’s bad audio quality or your video not working, having technical issues to start off an interview can ruin the credibility of an organisation straight away. Make sure to double check your connections and test all the pieces of kit you’ll be using: mouse, USB, speakers, headphones etc.

Keep focused

Whether you’re in your home office or dining room table, make sure the rest of your household knows you need some quiet and private time, we all love to see Steve from Account’s new puppy pop up on Zoom but not during an interview! Make sure your tech is on silent or ‘do not disturb’ modes too.

Be mindful of your body language

Be mindful of those non verbal cues you could be giving out during the interview and remember the camera is always on! Start by making eye contact (or at least looking directly at the camera); it’s an obvious one but you want the candidate to see you’re engaged and focused on them. Don't slouch or lean on your hand, as we’ve said all along, the social principles of an on-site interview still apply and are arguably more important in a virtual setting.

3 - It’s good to talk...

Similar to any onsite interview, a follow up with the candidate is vital in keeping them engaged and excited about the opportunity and your brand, if this opportunity isn't necessarily right for them you want them to still have had a positive experience. Following the virtual interview, ensure the candidate’s main point of contact has spoken to them regarding the next steps and hopefully they can then engage in a conversation around their offer. If your candidate posed any questions during the interview, make sure these are answered in a timely manner through their main representative.

Simple huh? Just by covering the basics and doing a little bit of prep work with your systems and your teams, remote interviewing can yield some amazing results. With remote teams becoming more prevalent than ever (especially at the moment), having the ability to recruit remotely allows you to still maintain your link into the ever growing pool of talent, a pool which currently is growing at quite a rate.

For more insight and help in remote working or to hear more about the tech talent landscape get in touch.

remote hiring guide
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