Remote interviews have become commonplace in recent years. As more businesses embrace flexible working and home-based teams, they’re readily accepted as standard practice by many industry sectors. Interviewing candidates remotely has its advantages, but this approach also presents employers with unique challenges.
Let’s Conducting an Interview Remotely
It can be difficult to determine how engaged a candidate is when speaking online. Furthermore, remote conferencing software isn’t always reliable. A slow broadband connection or subpar technology can also quickly derail an interview schedule.
However, remote interviews have many advantages. With no geographical restrictions to worry about, you can cast the net wide when seeking out new talent to join your operation. If you’ve yet to utilize remote interviews effectively, read on for some essential tips on how to improve the process.
1. Outline Expectations with Candidates
Before you drive straight into interviewing candidates remotely, take some time to review your existing interview process. If your current process is long overdue for an overhaul, now is the time to streamline it. A good interview process needs to be structured and designed to capture all the necessary information to make a sound hiring decision.
You must outline interview expectations with candidates before conducting a meeting. Make sure interviewees have a broad idea of what to expect from your conversation. It’s also crucial that you determine who will contact who and what conferencing platform you will be using. If colleagues will join the interview at any point, flag this ahead of time with relevant names and titles.
2. Test Your Tech Ahead of Time
If you’re using a new conferencing platform for the first time, make sure you’ve familiarized yourself with key features before using it to conduct any remote interviews. Think about carrying out dummy runs with colleagues to assess the reliability of a platform. You can also use these tests to determine the suitability of your computer microphone and camera. If your technology leaves plenty to be desired, consider upgrading it.
3. Prepare for Unreliable Internet Connections
Fast and reliable internet connections are important for any business. However, when it comes to conducting remote interviews, steady internet connections are essential. In the United States, the average internet user enjoys speeds of around 99.3 Mbps. This is more than sufficient for video conferencing needs.
However, if you’re based in a busy office or sharing a home network with many other users, bandwidth is something you’ll need to think about. If you want to enjoy video conferencing in 1080p resolution, limit the number of users and devices connected to your network. If you’re still finding your internet connection is on the slow side, there are several simple fixes you can apply.
4. Don’t Neglect the Importance of Emotional Intelligence
When we talk about emotional intelligence (EQ), we’re talking about a broad set of skills that determine how well an individual can relate to colleagues. Emotional intelligence can also give you an idea of how well an individual will deal with unprecedented challenges and difficult situations. Some employers find it challenging to assess emotional intelligence when conducting interviews remotely. However, you can build a clear picture of a candidate’s emotional intelligence by carefully honing your questions.
Think about discussing how candidates managed workplace conflicts in the past. You can also ask them core values they consider most important to a business. It’s also worth asking candidates how they deal with feedback in the workplace, as well as how they’ve applied feedback from supervisors in previous roles.
5. How Do Candidates Respond to Distractions?
Even the best prepared online interview is likely to be interrupted at least once. When working from home, we’re faced with a barrage of distractions, from doorbell rings to nagging pets. If such interruptions occur during a remote interview, keep an eye on how well a candidate manages them.
If you’re interviewing candidates to fill a remote position, you’ll want to be confident that they can handle workloads effectively without quickly losing track of what they’re doing. An interviewee who loses focus after a minor distraction may not be able to maintain high levels of productivity in a home-based role.
6. Avoid Scheduling Interviews Too Closely Together
Many employers are tempted to cram their schedules with back-to-back virtual meets when scheduling remote interviews. Although virtual interviews can save time, you should avoid scheduling too many on any given day.
Generally speaking, a job interview should last between 30 and 45 minutes. You may want to allow even more time if you’re looking to fill a senior management role or recruit for a newly created position. Schedule in a minimum of 10 minutes after every one or two interviews to digest your discussions and make notes. If you’re interviewing a considerable number of candidates, you’ll also need to schedule regular breaks.
Remote interviews can prove daunting to employers who’ve only ever recruited traditionally. However, virtual interviews have plenty of benefits that can speed up the recruitment process and allow you to target a far wider pool of candidates.
Ciaran Hourican is the Managing Director of H-Training, a Learning and Development company who offers career and corporate services such as interview coaching, career guidance for adults and leadership programs.