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Stout Systems
Stout Systems

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Tips for Conducting Remote Job Interviews

Written by Samantha Ogletree, Marketing & Media Manager at Stout Systems

It’s without a doubt that we are in the digital era of hiring. COVID lockdowns, remote work, and the prevalence of Zoom propelled us into a world in which we are conducting everything online. The appeal of remote interviews is obvious–it’s convenient for both you and the candidate, it’s easier to coordinate multiple separate interviews with different hiring managers, and it saves on travel expenses. More importantly, it can allow you to quickly meet and assess a top candidate and extend an attractive offer quicker than your conventional competitors that prioritize the on-site meet-and-greet.

In order to maximize your company’s efficiency, it’s important to understand and master best practices when it comes to conducting a remote interview. Using these tips you can identify top talent and promote your company’s values to attract the right candidate.

Test your technology

Before the interview, test your wifi to make sure it’s strong. Check your camera and mic settings inside your video conferencing app. Perhaps do a trial run with a coworker who has a few minutes to spare, just to ensure everything is working appropriately on your end and time is not wasted dealing with preventable technical issues.

Communicate your expectations in the meeting invite

Do you want cameras on? If so, we recommend turning yours on as well. Will there be one interviewer, or will the candidate be facing questions from a Zoom screen that looks like the Brady Bunch? Can you provide a list of what topics you want to cover? (Remember that you need to sell your company and culture as well as interview the candidate!)

Inform the candidate of which platform you will be using

Zoom, Google Meet, GoTo Meeting, Skype, Microsoft Teams, etc. This will help the candidate prepare by downloading the appropriate app to their device. Let the candidate know who will be conducting their interview and how to contact these individuals via phone or email. This will help if a technical issue occurs on their end.

Always have a backup plan

We all understand that technology can still fail, despite all the planning in the world. It’s really helpful to have the candidate’s contact information (email address and phone number) so that you can reschedule or switch the interview to a phone call in a pinch. The point of using remote interviews is to save time, so make sure you are not sacrificing too much of it scrambling to reach the candidate!

Minimize any distractions

If you are interviewing from home, make sure your background doesn’t have too many visual distractions–for example, a messy bookshelf or elaborate wall art. If you’re interviewing from the office, send a message to your coworkers informing them so they do not disturb you during this time. If you have any email alerts or notifications that may pop up during the interview, mute them in advance so you yourself don’t have any distractions.

Focus and listen actively

It’s really easy to lose concentration during a video interview. You are missing all of the non-verbal cues that typically keep the listener engaged–eye contact and body language, for instance. Do your best to treat the candidate as if you are interviewing in person, one-on-one. Smile when it’s appropriate and ask follow-up questions to show that you are a real person on the other side of the screen! It will certainly show the candidate that your company values his or her time and you aren’t just trying to fill a seat.

Despite the challenges that remote interviews can present, there are significant benefits for both parties. It allows you to save time and resources while broadening your search for candidates. Follow these tips and you will have a streamlined and effective process for remote interviews.

This is a technical/business article catered to developers, hiring/project managers, and other technical staff looking to improve their skills. Sign up to receive The Informatizer in your email inbox.

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Stout Systems is the software consulting and staffing company Fueled by the Most Powerful Technology Available: Human Intelligence®. We were founded in 1993 and are based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We have clients across the U.S. in domains including engineering, scientific, manufacturing, education, marketing, entertainment, small business and robotics. We provide expert level software, Web and embedded systems development consulting and staffing services along with direct-hire technical recruiting and placements.

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