How to conduct a remote interview

How to conduct a remote interview

Are you implementing new hiring practices to accommodate the challenges of COVID-19? If you’re limiting in-person interview options to prevent the spread of the virus, a remote interview strategy is a great way to bring the right talent on board.

You can conduct remote interviews, but it’s important to ensure that you’re providing an optimal experience for candidates while adhering to the Equal Employment Opportunity Act and other EEO laws. You also need to feel confident about offering the job to someone you’ve never met in person.

Consider these tips for conducting a remote interview to ensure consistency and quality throughout the interview process.

Prescreen applicants for interviews

Just because you have a stack of applications doesn’t mean you have to talk to every applicant one on one. Screening is the initial step of the recruiting process. Identify your recruitment needs, then use prescreening to ensure applicants are the right fit for your organization. You can use prescreening forms to gather information for each applicant — such as contact details, industry experience, previous employers, geographic location, and more.

Using prescreening interview questions is an effective way to save time and money, as they help you eliminate unqualified or undesirable applicants. Here’s a list of knockout questions you might consider:

  • How many hours per week do you want to work?
  • Do you have a history of moving violations in the last three years?
  • Are you able to work in the company office (i.e., at a specific location)?
  • What are your salary requirements?
  • How many years of experience do you have?

Prescreening can help you learn more about each applicant before selecting candidates for a more extensive interview. You can customize digital application forms to review applicant information quickly and efficiently.

Design a scheduling system

The simplest solution to setting up an interview is to provide each candidate with a link to schedule a day and time. Jotform’s appointment scheduling feature can help.

Applicants can select interview times, and you can track appointments online. Set up the appointment slots to match your available interview times, and set the duration based on your appointment needs.

Share preinterview communication

Candidates don’t know what to expect when an interview is virtual, which is why it can be helpful for you to prepare guidelines and information before the meeting. Good communication will put people at ease and better prepare them for what to expect during the interview.

It’s best to communicate preinterview information in written form, such as an email with details about the remote interview. This communication might include

  • The interview format, such as a video or phone meeting
  • A phone number or link to access the remote interview
  • Instructions for downloading software, if needed
  • An outline for the meeting to show the order of events

Finalize a list of interview questions

Even though you aren’t meeting in person, don’t make the mistake of showing up unprepared. EEO laws require that all job candidates receive the same questions during the interview. Not only do you need your standard set of interview questions, but also consider additional questions to determine the person’s ability to work remotely.

Preparing these questions ahead of time keeps things moving smoothly. Plus, you can follow notes to ensure you cover the most important points during this conversation.

Leverage technology to facilitate the conversation

The right tools can streamline your process for conducting a remote interview. Video interviews are becoming common. You can use tools like Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, or GoToMeeting to conduct them. If you aren’t familiar with the selected tool, then test the system before holding a remote interview. Working through these bugs in advance decreases the likelihood of tech issues during the interview.

Also, be deliberate in creating a good impression for the candidate. Choose a professional background free of clutter and anything that might be distracting during the conversation.

Pro Tip

Find out more about them in our guide, remote interviewing tools.

Use a system for post-interview evaluation

When the remote interview is over, continue leveraging technology to gather additional information about the job candidates. For example, consider sending a post-interview questionnaire to narrow your candidate pool.

You can also use an interview assessment form to measure and track the outcome of the remote interview. When you’re done interviewing all candidates, this tool summarizes the results of each interview so you can compare potential hires side by side.

Send feedback quickly

When you’re ready to hire, it’s important to communicate with every applicant. Not only do you need to offer the position to the selected applicant, but you should also reach out to candidates who aren’t a good fit for the position.

Your post-interview communication is a critical factor that impacts your company’s brand. Not getting back to candidates — or leaving them waiting for weeks without communication — could create a negative impression. Let them know your hiring decision as soon as possible to protect your brand.

Conducting a remote interview can be an effective part of the digital hiring experience. Following these steps will improve the experience and outcome for everyone participating in the interview.

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