6 Secrets to Conducting Great Remote Interviews

Remote interviews can be challenging, but with these six secrets, you can conduct a great interview and find the perfect candidate for the job.

Reshu Rathi
February 22, 2023
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With the shift to work from home, virtual hiring has become the new norm. And as we are entering the new paradigm of the pandemic, remote interviewing is here to stay.

Now we know most leaders know how to conduct virtual interviews, and they had conducted them even before the virus hit, but that doesn't mean they are comfortable with it. Did you know that 22% of the recruiters say they will scrap video interviews as soon as lockdown is over? Why? Because they have not cracked the code of remote interviewing yet.

Well, it looks like the world is not going back to normal anytime soon. And most HR leaders know it's high time they cracked the code, and as the new year has arrived, many HR leaders are wondering how to do that.

6 Secrets to Conducting Great Remote Interviews

To help you make real progress toward the elusive goal of running virtual interviews effectively - ones that let you hire top talent even from afar, we have combined a list of 6 best practices and tips. Let's dive right in.

1. Set Aside Some Time for Normal Conversation

While conducting a virtual interview, make sure to set aside a few minutes to chat with your interviewee at the beginning of your conversation. Taking a few minutes to engage naturally puts the candidate at ease and sets him up for success.

If you want to hire great candidates, you need to make some effort. These days, good candidates do not have a shortage of options, and they are not just looking to boost their salaries. They are looking for companies that value them and value their well-being and a workplace culture that aligns with their values and sensibilities. And the way you, the interviewer, present yourself — and connect with candidates will determine how your prospective employees view your organization.

Remember, these five minutes you spend connecting with the candidates at a human level can help you attract the good candidates; they are just like a traffic light. They may slow down your commute, but they will keep you safe on the road.

2. Record the Interviews

It is no secret that coronavirus has transformed the way we communicate. Nowadays, we all participate in many virtual conversations; it's impossible to remember them fully. Also, if you conduct back-to-back interviews, you will inevitably miss some things. But the great thing about these remote interviews is you can easily record them without looking creepy. This way, you can easily refer to them if you cannot recall any detail later.

Also, we would suggest uploading the recording to a system that transcribes these conversations so that you can quickly go through these conversations and catch up on things you might have missed. Or you can even share these virtual interviews recordings and get them reviewed by more team members. Or can use these recordings for training purposes for new hiring managers and recruiters.

Recruiting is tough, and you cannot afford errors; by recording the interview, you can re-refer them at your own convenience and lower your stakes of hiring the wrong candidates.

3. Be Respectful

People across the world are dealing with change at an unprecedented pace; showing some respect will not hurt you, but it will put your interviewee at ease and create a positive atmosphere. There are many ways in which you can show respect. The one universally recognized way to show respect is by joining the call on time. And by starting it off with a digital handshake.

You usually start the interview with a handshake and give the interviewee some time to settle in when you interview someone in-person. This isn't always the case for a remote interview, but it is crucial to make an initial connection in the virtual world. So, after you say hello, look right into the camera to forge a connection. This allows you to connect with the interviewee and establish a human-to-human rapport and may enable the interviewee to open up even from afar. And by leaning into this phenomenon, you can draw out candidates more quickly.

4. Use the Right Tech Tools

Hiring somebody across the world has never been easier tools like Zoom, Teams, etc., have made it possible to conduct remote interviews. But it's easy to forget that they are virtual collaboration tools; they are not specifically designed for interviews. So, they can fall short of expectations. And, yes, they can make it tough to scan and get the most out of these interviews.

Consider the struggle of an interviewee if they need to find something out of these interviews, they have to go back and refer to the whole conversation. This is really tough to do as an average interview lasts between 45 minutes and one hour. And, if you are conducting a lot of them, that makes it even more challenging. So, it's crucial that you use tools that let you highlight the important part of these interviews and let you quickly search for crucial information from these interviews.

Remember, virtual interviews can make hiring better but only if you use the right tools.

5. Pay Some Attention to How You Communicate

It is relatively easy to communicate in an in-person interview because you pay attention to the nonverbal signals of the interviewee and enhance your communication accordingly. Virtual interviews require more thoughtful communication. For example, you need to leave some space for silence. Sometimes, due to delays and connectivity issues, it's easier to talk over one another in a remote interview accidentally. So, if you are asking a question, leave a couple of seconds of silence after - to give the interviewee some time to answer them.

Also, once they answer the question, take a beat before you ask the next question; maybe they are just pausing. Remember jumping in with another question too soon can disrupt your interviewee flow, and this may make you seem rude to them even if you did not intend to be.

Now I know this virtual interview tip seems like common sense, but that does not mean it's a common practice. Even if every interviewer knows they should pause, hold eye contact and engage with the interviewee, they don't always do it.

6. Use a Tool That Lets You Find Key Information

When conducting virtual interviews, it can be tempting to assume that you will be able to go through the interview again just because you are recording it. But that's not the case. One of the biggest problems with these recordings is that they can be hard to sort through. Suppose you're looking for a specific portion of an interview. In that case, you'll either need to listen to the whole recording or aimlessly skip around until you find it, which makes it tough to find the critical information from these interview recordings.

And that's why most interviewers never use these recordings. But you can avoid this by using a tool that lets you search these recordings. So instead of checking the whole transcript of your interview recording to find something, you can just type in a keyword and see all the times it appears by using the search feature. This way, you can quickly go through the interview recording and find what you are looking for.

Over to You!

Every business has faced an enormous set of challenges over the past year and a half. And it's the tech tools that have let most companies stay connected with their candidates, teams, and clients; and have allowed them to survive and thrive in this global crisis and keep them afloat.
Though running effective virtual interviews may be challenging, it is a skill that will only increase in importance over time. So, it's time you master this skill, and these virtual interview tips can help you do that.


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Author Bio

Reshu Rathi
Reshu Rathi is an online marketing and conversion rate enthusiast. She specializes in content marketing, lead generation, and engagement strategy. Her byline can be found all over the web

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