Can You See/Hear Me Now? Conducting Effective Remote Interviews

Social distancing…Physical distancing… Connecting remotely with colleagues, friends and family has become part of our normal routine. As we navigate this new landscape, most of us are challenged with staying physically apart but keeping ourselves personally connected. This is not an easy task! Especially when we’re engaging new talent for our organization.

Many organizations today are running full steam ahead with a remote workforce, keeping customers happy and driving revenue as much as possible to avoid the worst of the economic downturn or at least maintain some form of momentum until we conquer COVID-19 entirely. And that includes filling open positions within the organization! Let’s not forget that just a few short weeks ago, we were at a flat unemployment rate across the USA and most companies were struggling to find the talent to round out their teams. So if you are in ‘hiring mode’ today, here are a few tips to create the ultimate remote interview candidate experience:

Make technology your friend

Whether you’re using Zoom, Google hangout, WhatsApp or something else, know your platform. Practice with the technology and become familiar with the typical glitches that may come with a remote connection. Be patient with your candidates if they are less familiar with the technology as well. Set yourself up for success by readily adapting to the level of technical expertise that your interviewee has by scoping that out ahead of time and helping them feel comfortable.

Create a great candidate experience from the start!

Prepare your candidates for the virtual interview ahead of time. Let me know what to expect in terms of technology, timeframe and process, even if it’s a phone interview. With virtual interviews, send your candidates a prep sheet that includes an overview of the process. How long will they be online? What are the technology requirements they’ll need for remote access? What is the dress code for the interview? (Have you seen the video with the guy wearing no pants??) Once you’ve connected online, don’t forget to create that personal connection with the candidate. Check out what’s in the background of the video frame? Sports stuff, pictures, maybe a dog barking in the background? This is a great opportunity to learn something cool about the person.

Find a way to convey your company culture

This one can be tricky. When a candidate enters your workplace, they can feel the vibe of the organization, see people smiling, check out your cappuccino maker and get a glimpse of your culture. With a remote interview, they only see YOU! Is there a company webpage that highlights recent company outings? Do you have staff videos that you can share with the candidate to let them see your team in action? If they are a finalist for the role, try inviting them to a group Zoom meeting where they can ‘meet’ the rest of the team! Candidates still want to know about the culture of your organization so you need to find creative ways to demonstrate that outside of your physical space.

Finally – Remember to practice active listening. This is important whether you are in person or talking remotely. With virtual interviews and meetings, it’s easy to get distracted by all of the other things happening around us. Pay close attention to your candidate and create an open space for them to ask questions and get sense for the culture of your team and the opportunity you’re discussing.

PS – Extending offers via remote video…AWESOME! Forget the email offer letter. Complete the perfect remote interview scenario with virtual based formal offer!

Ready to lead some exceptional remote interviews!?