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Hiring + Recruiting | Blog Post

Remote Interview Process: A Hiring Manager’s Interview Guide

October 7, 2022
Wes Mitchell-Lewis
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Hiring is a critical component to the success of any growing organization, and employees spend countless hours interviewing potential candidates to find the perfect hire.

The standard interview process has long gone unchanged. A candidate has a first-round phone screen with a recruiter and then moves on to the second interview with the hiring manager, typically over video or in person. If the candidate does well, they’re invited to a day of onsite interviews to meet with different members of the team who will grill them on their experience, expertise, and personality traits.

Even without remote hiring in the picture, 90% of engineers agree that they are dissatisfied with the typical interview process. As more companies shift toward remote work, process and intention will become even more important to keep candidates interested and your talent pipeline full.

Why Hire Remotely?

Worker shortages over the last decade have become costly for businesses. To attract top talent, it’s necessary to shell out huge salaries; when businesses can’t afford that, their products, services, and ability to grow could suffer.

Businesses can expect to see worker shortages worsen, especially software developers because there are endless opportunities that exist today – if you do not give them what they want, someone else probably will.

Do not confine your talent market to the region exclusively surrounding your company. In order to find the best talent in the world, you need to operate with a global mindset and allow your teams to work remotely because that is what they want.

We’re already seeing remote-friendly businesses inching ahead of their more-traditional counterparts. Companies that embrace remote work and look to other markets within their time zones will access more top-tier talent and be set up for success in the long term.

Establishing an Efficient & Effective Remote Interview Process

Part of the recruitment process is having a great interview process – this is the first time a candidate will be exposed to your company. If you are wanting to make a good first impression, that starts now. This guide helps establish an efficient and effective process for your company.

Documentation is Key

Have a centralized place to store interview feedback to keep the process consistent and avoid misrecording or losing information. Leverage an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and set SLAs for interviewers to submit feedback.

No ATS? You could try Asana, Monday.com, Trello, or even use a Google sheet to track focus areas feedback from each interviewer. Make sure to clearly define who will be involved in the interview process and that everyone is aligned on what the ideal candidate looks like. Set clear expectations and focus areas for each person involved so interview questions don’t get missed or repeated.

Leverage Video

Video should always be the first preference given over a phone call when remote interviewing. Not only will it build a better connection with the candidate, but it also helps put the candidate at ease and allows the interviewer to get a better sense of the candidate’s body language and cultural fit.

Note: Avoid making judgments based on the candidate’s surroundings; the candidate may not have a dedicated workspace setup yet in a distraction-free environment.

Invest in Remote-friendly Tools

Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, or BlueJeans are all great options to use for video interviews.

  • Password-protect the interview room to prevent unnecessary or accidental visitors that may disrupt the interview.
  • Test your camera and microphone to avoid hiccups.
  • Leverage tools like Slack or Google Meet so all interviewers can stay closely aligned on the candidates and any last-minute schedule changes that may come up.

Buffer Your Calendar

Many employees will do remote interviews back to back or in between meetings; this opens up the opportunity to feel rushed at the beginning of the interviews and can cause key interview notes to get lost.

Before your interview, set aside time to review each candidate’s profile and application. If you decide to hold multiple interviews consecutively, consider booking the interview for 45 minutes but holding an hour on your calendar to save the last 15 minutes for documentation.

Go the Extra Mile

You don’t need to sacrifice a great interview experience just because candidates aren’t coming into the office. If taking final-round candidates out to dinner is part of your standard interview process, send them a gift certificate to a local restaurant in their town.

Have each person involved in the interview record a short introduction video of their home office space to give the candidate a more personal feel for the culture of the company. Recording this once to be able to share long-term with potential candidates is a great investment with minimal time needed.

1 in 5 leaders report not having a strategy for finding talent in a remote work environment, while 47% are still relying on looking in areas near where they currently have offices.

Assessing Remote Readiness

Remote work comes with a particular mix of challenges, so the interview process should evaluate the candidate from many different angles. In addition to evaluating a candidate on the skills required to get the job done, it’s important to assess the candidate’s ability to work virtually while still being a strong collaborator with the team. 

Observe and Learn

Take note of how quickly the candidate responds to your emails, how professional

they sound, and how well they communicate during the interview process. This will provide insight into how well they’ll work together while working in their new team.

Responsiveness and the ability to communicate effectively – both in writing and verbally – are critical for success while working in a virtual environment.

Ask the Right Interview Questions

Your questions should examine their independent work habits, behaviors working under a tight deadline, and their ability to work under minimal supervision. If this is the candidates’ first time working remotely it is critical to ask the right questions to see how well they will transition into the new environment.

Conclusion

Most hiring managers are comfortable conducting online meetings in at least some capacity, but there’s a lot more to remote interviewing than just logging in and out of Zoom. As more and more companies shift to a remote-first environment, it is important to recognize the differences between in-person and remote interviewing and ensure you have an effective interview process in place.

Read about the specific, non-technical questions you need to ask during interviews with our Employer Guide of Definitive List Of Interview Questions For Remote Developers


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