More and more people are either having to work from home due to COVID-19, or they are choosing to work from home because it’s cost-effective and offers a better work-life balance.
Whatever the reason you need to remotely interview potential candidates for the role you need to fill, it’s always going to present different issues than interviewing face to face. The team at Crooton have created some tips to help you be more effective when interviewing remotely.
Remember, as much as the interviewee wants to impress you, you need to impress them just as much, the last thing you would want is for the ideal candidate to choose not to work for you because they didn’t like how you came across in the interview. Read on to give yourself and your company the best chance of hiring fantastic talent.
Don’t try to wing It
This piece of advice is relevant to all kinds of interviews, not just remotely conducted ones, it’s a good thing to consider regardless of the situation. All interviews require a good deal of preparation, forgoing this and trying to ‘wing it’ is never going to go well; you’ll never be able to give off a good impression, and it’s easy to forget important questions you need and want to ask when you’ve not planned ahead.
Yet, there are some additional preparations needed when it comes to remote interviews. Not just the time and date, but you’ll need to let the interviewee know which platform you’ll be using (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meets, and so on) and who is calling whom. Most of the time, as the interviewer, you will be the one making the call or hosting the meeting, so ensure that the correct details have been sent to the interviewee ahead of time. When you are clear about what will happen, you’ll come across as well-organised, and the candidate will be much more comfortable and be able to interview better.
Test your tech
Although technology is wonderful and it has allowed us to do so much more than we ever could have before, it can still go wrong. The best way to ensure that all is well is to carry out a trial run using whichever platform you’ve chosen. Do this at least the day before the interview so that, if there is a problem, you can fix it in time for the interview to take place.
You’ll need to check your device’s camera and microphone, your Wi-Fi connection, and any power sources you might be using. It’s worth fully charging your device even if you intend to have it plugged in; if a power cut were to happen and your battery was low, would you be able to continue the call?
Have a backup plan
Even if you have tested everything and prepared well in advance, problems can still occur. Therefore, it’s wise to have a backup plan in place, just in case. Ideally, you’ll never use it, but it’s good to know it’s there if you do.
At the very least, have the candidate’s contact details on hand so you can let them know that there is a problem. You’ll be able to carry out the interview over the phone if need be, even if your preference would be to see them face to face, albeit remotely.
When you’re conducting a face-to-face interview where you are both in the same room, it’s easy to minimise distractions; turn off all phones, mute devices, and request that no one disturbs you. You can then concentrate on the interview.
When conducting a remote interview, minimising distractions is even more important. Make sure you switch off any alerts that might come through to the device you’re using and encourage your interviewee to do the same. In addition, choose a quiet spot to conduct the interview; a high-traffic area will be noisy and will undoubtedly make the candidate feel uneasy – they may not want to talk about themselves if they don’t know who else is listening.
We all know that, when we’re working from home, smart office dress is no longer required, and it’s perfectly acceptable to wear jeans, t-shirts, tracksuits, or even pyjamas if you want to. As long as you’re doing your work, what you’re wearing isn’t important.
Yet this ‘rule’ changes when you’re carrying out an interview (or when you’re holding any kind of meeting, assuming you want to impress the person you’re talking to). When you’re interviewing someone, dress professionally and smartly, just as you would if you were meeting them in real life.
Being professional doesn’t just relate to clothing either. Your background is also important, and if you can make it as plain as possible and not use any filters, this would be the best. It won’t be distracting, and it will give a good impression of you to the candidate. On a related note, you won’t necessarily be able to request that your interviewee dresses smartly, but gauging what they are wearing could be a good indicator of how serious they are about the role.
Interview remotely is not ideal; it’s far better to interview someone in the same room as you since it’s easier to see their body language and get an idea of what they’re really like. However, when needs must, we hope these tips will help you.