Mike Jones Apr 14, 2023 9:35:48 AM 16 min read

Use these 10 Remote Interview Tips to Find the Right Candidate Remotely

In the age of remote work and digital communication, virtual interviews have become a vital tool in the hiring process. While these interviews present unique challenges, they can be just as effective as in-person meetings. This article shares the top 10 tips for conducting successful remote interviews, helping you find the perfect candidate while creating a seamless virtual experience.


Top tips for conducting a remote interview


Although remote interviews come with unique challenges, they can be as effective as in-person meetings when conducted correctly. To help you find the perfect candidate and create a seamless virtual interview experience, we've compiled the top 10 tips for interviewing job candidates remotely.


1. Prepare and test your technology

As an interviewer, properly preparing and testing your technology before a remote interview is essential to ensure a smooth and professional experience. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Choose a reliable video conferencing platform: Select a platform that is user-friendly and widely used, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet. Ensure you have the necessary login credentials and permissions to host a meeting.

  • Test your internet connection: A stable and fast internet connection is vital for a smooth video call. Test your connection using a speed test website, and consider using a wired connection for better stability.

  • Check your audio and video: Ensure your microphone, speakers, and camera function correctly. Test them in advance by conducting a test call with a colleague or friend. Adjust the camera angle and position so your face is visible and well-lit.

  • Use a professional background: Choose a clean and clutter-free environment or use a virtual background if your video conferencing platform supports it. Ensure there is sufficient lighting to avoid appearing in shadows.

  • Close unnecessary applications: Close any irrelevant applications or browser tabs to minimise distractions and reduce the risk of technical issues during the interview.

  • Familiarise yourself with the platform's features: Learn how to share your screen, mute/unmute, use the chat function, and any other relevant features you may need during the interview.

  • Prepare a backup plan: In case of technical issues, have a backup plan, such as an alternative video conferencing platform, a phone number to call, or rescheduling the interview if necessary.

  • Send clear instructions to the candidate: Share the video conferencing link, the date and time of the interview, and any necessary instructions on how to join the call.

  • Log in early: Join the meeting a few minutes before the scheduled time to ensure everything is working as expected and to welcome the candidate when they arrive.

By preparing and testing your technology, you can help create a seamless remote interview experience for you and the candidate.


2. Provide the candidate with a clear agenda 

One essential aspect of conducting a successful remote interview is providing the candidate with a clear agenda beforehand. Not only does this promote better preparation, but it also helps reduce stress and creates a more effective and efficient interview process for both parties. Here's why giving candidates a clear agenda is so crucial:

  • Establishing expectations: A detailed agenda sets the stage for the interview, informing candidates about the structure, topics, and duration. This enables them to prepare effectively and approach the interview confidently.

  • Easing anxiety: When candidates know what to expect, their anxiety and nervousness are reduced, allowing them to perform better during the interview.

  • Showcasing professionalism: By providing an agenda, the organisation demonstrates professionalism and attention to detail, leaving a positive impression on the candidate and potentially influencing their decision to join the company.

  • Streamlining time management: An agenda ensures that both interviewer and candidate can manage their time efficiently during the interview, guaranteeing that all crucial topics are addressed, and the conversation remains focused.

  • Smoothing transitions: Candidates aware of the interview structure can more easily navigate between different segments, leading to a more natural and engaging discussion.

  • Fostering preparedness: Sharing the agenda allows candidates to research and prepare for specific topics, resulting in more informed and in-depth conversations.

  • Enhancing evaluation: With candidates prepared for the areas they will be assessed on, interviewers can more effectively evaluate their performance based on their preparedness and responses.


3. Prioritise emotional intelligence

In the world of recruitment, it's common for hiring decisions to be heavily influenced by a candidate's skills and intelligence. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is often a more significant determinant of success in the workplace, especially during times of uncertainty. It enables individuals to connect with others, adapt to change, handle difficult situations gracefully, and "read the room."

Assessing EQ in a virtual interview may seem challenging, as it's often considered a quality best evaluated in person. However, paying attention to this aspect can lead to better hiring decisions. To effectively gauge a candidate's EQ during a remote interview, consider incorporating the following questions into your process:

  • What would be its top three values if you were starting a company tomorrow?

  • Tell me about a workplace conflict you were involved in with your peers or someone else in the company. How did you manage that conflict, and were you able to resolve it?

  • If you've previously reported to multiple supervisors simultaneously, how did you get to know each person's preferences and juggle conflicting priorities?

  • Tell me about a time when you received feedback on your performance and disagreed with it. How did you handle the situation?

  • What inspires you?

Including these questions in your virtual interview allows you to gain valuable insights into a candidate's EQ and sets the stage for a more informed and well-rounded hiring decision. By paying attention to emotional intelligence, you can ensure that your new hires will possess the technical skills necessary for the job and the interpersonal qualities that contribute to a thriving and adaptable work environment.


4. Capitalise on on-screen proximity

Many people express concern about the potential drawbacks of screen-mediated communication. However, screens can surprisingly foster a sense of intimacy. In a remote interview, the interviewer and interviewee are virtually face-to-face, creating a sense of psychological safety and allowing individuals to open up more than they might in a traditional, in-person setting. Employers can capitalise on this unique aspect of virtual interviews to encourage candidates to engage and express themselves more openly and rapidly.


5. Observe reactions to distractions

Unexpected interruptions can happen to anyone during a remote interview, such as a doorbell ringing, a dog barking, a child crying, or an urgent phone call. When these situations occur, view them as a chance to observe the candidate's adaptability. Did they become flustered or maintain composure? Did they handle the interruption professionally? 

If no distractions arise during the interview, consider asking the candidate about their experiences handling unforeseen disruptions while working remotely, such as:

  • Can you recall an instance when you faced an unexpected or distracting event while working from home? How did you manage the situation?

  • Share your worst virtual meeting disaster. What transpired, and how did you handle it?

  • How do you maintain focus and productivity in a remote work environment, particularly when faced with distractions?

  • What strategies do you employ to ensure clear communication with remote team members?

  • Can you describe a situation where you had to troubleshoot a technical issue during a virtual meeting? How did you resolve it?


6. Avoid back-to-back interviews

Scheduling back-to-back virtual job interviews may seem like an efficient use of time, but it can actually hinder the hiring process. Here's why giving yourself a break between interviews is essential for both interviewers and candidates:

  • Stay sharp and focused: Taking breaks between interviews helps prevent mental fatigue, ensuring you can give each candidate your full attention and ask insightful questions.

  • Reflect and differentiate: Time between interviews allows you to review your notes and impressions, making it easier to remember each candidate's unique qualities and assess their fit for the role.

  • Prepare for the unexpected: Remote interviews can present technical challenges or delays. Having a buffer between interviews means you can address any issues without disrupting your schedule or impacting subsequent interviews.

  • Prioritise self-care: Interviewers need time to attend to personal needs like everyone else. Taking breaks between interviews lets you stay comfortable, focused, and fully present during each conversation.

  • Keep enthusiasm high: Prevent burnout and maintain your energy by pacing yourself with breaks between interviews. When you're engaged and enthusiastic, you create a positive experience for yourself and the candidates, ultimately leading to better hiring decisions.


7. Discuss your company’s culture and values

Virtual interviews can make it difficult for candidates to grasp your company's culture and office atmosphere. Be proactive in sharing details about your organisation's culture, values, and work environment. If hired, this information will help candidates envision themselves as part of your team.

Throughout the interview and in your post-interview reflections, consider the unique value a candidate's diverse background may bring to your team rather than focusing solely on how they would fit in with your existing culture. This mindset promotes a more inclusive and dynamic work environment.


8. Set your candidates up for success

In order to convey your support and encouragement to candidates, consider implementing these steps during a virtual job interview:

  • Provide clear communication: Before the interview, send the candidate all necessary information, such as the date, time, platform to be used, and any login details. A clear agenda with expected discussion topics can also help the candidate prepare.

  • Offer technical guidance: Share tips and best practices for using the virtual interview platform, including troubleshooting advice and suggestions for optimal camera placement, lighting, and audio settings.

  • Be punctual and respectful: Start the interview on time and treat the candidate respectfully and professionally throughout the process.

  • Create a comfortable environment: Encourage open dialogue and be friendly and approachable, helping the candidate feel at ease during the interview.

  • Be patient and understanding: Understand that technical issues may arise during a virtual interview. If they do, be patient and work with the candidate to resolve them without causing undue stress.

  • Explain the interview process: Clearly outline the steps in the interview process, including any follow-up interviews or assessments that may be required. This helps candidates understand what to expect moving forward.

  • Encourage questions: Invite the candidate to ask questions about the company, role, or interview process and provide thoughtful, honest answers.

  • Provide support and resources: Offer additional resources to help the candidate prepare, such as information about your company culture, values, or expectations for the role.

  • Be mindful of body language: Since virtual interviews can make it more challenging to read body language, be conscious of your nonverbal cues and maintain eye contact to show engagement and attentiveness.


9. Remember that you are being evaluated as well

As an interviewer, it's important to remember that the tables have turned - candidates are also assessing you! In today's competitive job market, creating a positive interview experience is crucial for attracting top talent and enhancing your company's reputation. Your demeanour and communication during the interview can significantly impact a candidate's perception of your organisation, their decision to join your team, and their overall engagement in the future.

A successful interview goes beyond just evaluating a candidate; it's also an opportunity to showcase your company culture and build trust with potential employees. When you make a conscious effort to provide a positive experience, you'll secure the best candidates, gain a competitive edge, and potentially increase referrals. So, remember to put your best foot forward and create a mutually beneficial environment during virtual interviews, as it reflects your company's values and commitment to employee satisfaction.


10. Follow up with the candidate

Following up with candidates after a virtual job interview is more than just a professional courtesy - it's essential to maintaining a positive employer brand and fostering a solid candidate experience. In today's interconnected world, word-of-mouth and online reviews can make or break a company's reputation. How you communicate with candidates during the interview speaks volumes about your organisation's values and culture.

When you take the time to follow up with candidates, it shows that you value their time and effort and appreciate their interest in your company. This gesture can help build trust and rapport, even if they are not offered the position. Additionally, providing feedback can help candidates learn and grow, demonstrating your company's commitment to personal and professional development.


Key takeaways


Achieving success in remote interviews requires preparation, detail orientation, and a focus on both the candidate's and interviewer's experiences. Essential elements involve setting up and testing your technology, offering a well-defined agenda, emphasising emotional intelligence, leveraging screen proximity, and noting responses to distractions. 

Additionally, it's important to avoid consecutive interviews, discuss company culture and values, support candidates, remember you're also being assessed, and follow up after the interview. By implementing these strategies, you can establish a fruitful virtual interview process that draws in top talent and boosts your company's image.

Mike Jones

Mike has overall responsibility for defining the future path of Emerald Technology as it grows and develops year-on-year, along with driving the success of all internal teams.

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