5 Remote Interview Tips Candidates Wish You Knew

April 12, 2022

The great resignation has seen ​​at least 4 million Americans quit their jobs every month since July 2021 in search of more engaging, flexible roles.

Meanwhile, remote work is the new normal after the pandemic: 25% of all professional jobs will turn remote in North America by the end of 2022. HR teams need to nail their remote interviews to fill open positions with top talent.

After recently going through the job search myself, I was shocked to discover the remote interview process at most companies is weak and dissatisfying. I was eager to connect with the passionate team members behind the companies. Unfortunately, I was often disappointed.

Many interviewers seemed pushed for time. They read talking points on zoom like scripts from their screens and failed to get to know me or explain why I should care about their company. Then I received an email from a company I had applied to on LinkedIn a few weeks prior.

After passing the initial screening and providing a portfolio of my work, we scheduled a remote interview. To my relief, this job interview was an entirely different experience. Below I share my learnings so that your HR team can conduct outstanding virtual interviews and secure top talent even if it’s on a video call instead of face-to-face.

1. Help candidates prepare for success

Point your candidates in the direction of informative resources to help them prepare ahead of time.

Before my interview, the interviewer pointed me in the direction of the company’s blog. It’s stocked with helpful articles like:

  • Interview Questions to Ask a Remote Worker
  • 3 Resume Tips From a Technical Talent Acquisition Specialist
  • How To Land A Job With Us

These articles hinted at what I could expect from the interview process. More importantly, they subtly conveyed the company’s strengths and values which impressed me and geared me up for the interview.

To take it a step further, consider sending an agenda in advance of the interview with a few questions or talking points the interview should prepare for. Don’t treat an interview like a pop quiz. Like any other meeting, your interview will be more informative and organized if all parties come prepared.

2. Schedule 20 minutes between meetings

You may have the impulse to schedule back-to-back meetings when interviewing remote because you don’t have to account for travel time like you would with in-person interview. But you’re better off scheduling extra buffer time to note down your first impressions, refresh yourself on the next candidate’s background, and allow time for runovers.

One way to save time is to refine your applicant selection down to only the strongest candidates. Before inviting a potential candidate to a remote interview, thoroughly review their CV and, if possible, have them send across a portfolio and complete a short assignment to see their experience in action.

3. Test your tech before the call

Whether you’re new to remote interviews or could conduct one in your sleep, you’ll see that you’re never immune to a technical hiccup—and neither are job seekers. We’ve all been caught out at one point or another by a problematic internet connection, a dead laptop battery, or a sign-in issue.

As most remote interview articles reiterate, always double-check your audio or video, make sure your webcam, video platform (zoom, hangouts, skype, remo) and wifi are all working and have a backup plan ready. Likewise, make sure you sign in to the video meeting platform on time or in advance and switch your phone to silent before starting a call. Disjointed, disorganized, and disrupted remote interviews reflect poorly on the company and waste the interviewee’s time.  

It’s also essential to give your candidates grace when they experience technical issues or glitches. Take a second to acknowledge common online interview challenges and explain that you are happy to cut the video or transition to a phone call for a phone interview if their internet connection drops. After all we’ve all experienced connection problems before and not everyone has a well equipped home office.

4. Humanize the experience

Close down Slack, email, and other programs to engage with the interviewee fully.

Reading talking points like a script straight off your computer is tempting during an interview. On-screen notes are helpful to guide the candidate through the interview, but overreliance on written notes makes for a very rigid and shallow conversation.

The best way to evoke a natural and stimulating interaction is to have a real conversation where you both get to know each other deeper. It’s okay to have a list of rough questions to hand next to you, but you should spend minimal time glancing down at the questions. Instead, concentrate on making eye contact with the candidate and reading their facial expressions and body language, have a bit of small talk to get started with your remote job interview.

The candidate is also likely to be drawn to reading notes from their screen. Before you delve into your questions, it’s a good idea to remind them that you’re already very familiar with their CV, the candidate experience, and want to get to know them personally to establish whether your remote team and interviewee are a good match for each other.

Another great way to humanize the virtual interview experience is to use the right video conferencing platform. Tools like Zoom or hangouts can be quite bland, whereas meeting in a custom virtual work environment that represents your business, that showcases your values, and how your remote team works is a very good way to showcase your company and humanize the meeting naturally.

You can also use Remo for bigger virtual onboarding sessions in different time zones, where you can use notifications, shuffle, video chat, whiteboards and other fun features to help them show their soft skills or simply have fun while learning about the company culture. You can even have fun floor plans like meeting at a coffee shop, or a restaurant, to make the interview more fun and laid back.

Using Remo helps you humanize your virtual hiring process.

5. Devote time to promoting the company culture

Make sure you set aside time to discuss company culture and values and determine what makes the interviewee tick. Today’s job hunters expect more than a good paycheck. They prioritize companies with a clearly defined purpose and great work-life balance.

Candidates can’t witness company culture in action during a video interview. Subsequently, they often leave the interview unclear about what their work-life would look like at your company which doesn’t leave a positive lasting impression. The most sought-after candidates won’t hesitate to accept a job offer from another company that better promotes the company’s “brand.”

Save some headaches with a global hiring solution

Once you’ve smashed the remote interview process through video conferencing and found your perfect candidate for the role, it’s time to get them on board. But if your remote worker is in another country, you’ll have to deal with a legal and paperwork nightmare. At least, you will if you do it alone.

With Deel, you can forget the tedious paperwork and compliance part of global remote hiring. We ensure your contracts are compliant with local labor laws, handle the entire onboarding process for you, and manage global payroll for all your employees and contractors.

Want to learn more? Book a free consultation to see how Deel can help make global hiring easier for your team.


Jemima Owen-Jones, Content Writer at Deel.

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