Are you looking to hire candidates remotely?
Recently, we at Projectus ran a poll asking the question “Once hiring managers are back in the office, do you think that the new ways of interviewing will continue?”
The responses we received were in line with what many of the experts have predicted. 29% of people thought virtual interviews will be the way forward, whereas only 11% felt that face to face interviews were still the best way to conduct interviews. However, a staggering 69% of people thought in future we will see a blended approach, utilising both virtual and traditional face to face interviews.
Going by these results, it looks like remote working is here to stay. As an employer, that means you need to get used to interviewing remote candidates. That means facing two challenges: how to handle it professionally so they want to work for you, and how to pick the best.
When it comes to remote workers, ‘the best’ means self-motivation, self-discipline, and most importantly, fantastic communication skills – because you won’t be able to wander up behind their desk and check how they’re doing.
Here are your top five tips to rise to both those challenges.
1. Connect with the candidate.
In remote interviews, you can’t rely on body language to assess whether someone is a good fit. This makes your choice of communication tools important. Try a couple of different ones (perhaps phone for a first interview and video for a second interview) and observe how your candidates interact with these tools; you’ll gather important clues on their potential as remote workers.
2. Set clear expectations.
We’re all used to preparing for in-person interviews, but remote interviews require different preparations. Set expectations, so your candidate knows what software will be used, whether it’ll be video or just audio, who’ll be present, and what the outline of the interview will be.
3. Prepare your interview questions.
Don’t be tempted to wing it; your willingness to invest time in interview prep reflects your willingness to invest time in your employees, especially in the case of remote workers. Don’t stop at the regular questions – include some to assess how your candidate will handle remote work, such as asking about their time management practices, how they keep their manager in the loop during projects, and what they do if they think they might miss a deadline.
If you’re new (or even new-ish) to remote hiring, you may well have some tech bugs that need fixing. Don’t wait for these to show up in an actual interview – conduct some practice interviews first. ‘Interview’ a seasoned remote worker or two, so you can get their feedback on your interview questions at the same time. Ask them how you come across on screen too, and whether your audio is clear and your background looks professional and non-distracting.
5. Choose your interview team wisely.
More interviewers are generally better when it comes to in-person interviews, but for remote interviews, that’s not the case. Keep it to the candidate’s direct supervisor and perhaps their immediate team members. If you have to have more than two or three people, ask some to just observe and take notes rather than talking.
A bonus of video interviewing – particularly relevant in today’s climate – is that it can help eliminate unconscious bias. This does mean that if you interview some people remotely and some people in person for the same job, you should be aware that more bias may be in play in the in-person interviews. For example:
While it’s not a good idea to have too many people in a video interview, you can show it to an entire team afterwards – something that’s not so easy when the interview is in person!
Remote interviewing allows you to interview more candidates, thus expanding the diversity of your talent pool.
Eliminating geographical barriers means that people who couldn’t access the site due to location, travel cost, childcare or other care responsibilities, time out of their existing job, disability, or other reasons have a fair chance.
If you still need help perfecting your remote interviewing technique you can check out our specifically designed remote interview tech EDGE