4 Foundations for Building Better Remote Interviews

Perhaps the last time the labor market experienced as drastic a shift as reflected in today’s labor dynamics, women left the hearth and met the insatiable demands of the industrial revolution.

Although labor dynamics have drastically evolved since then, technology and the fall-out of the pandemic have forced a relatively uncharted landscape for the employment market to navigate. In today’s economy, employers are scrambling to fill a massive labor shortage in many sectors, including IT, software engineering, and the beleaguered healthcare sector.

Working Today’s Remote Environment

Fast forward, and we’ve become all too familiar with the massive evolution in the employment industry and the rise of remote work. Technology provided solutions at the behest of project managers who needed skilled staff to fill a void in the industry.

By applying tech tools like online calendars and work boards, employers have the tools to recruit and nurture top talent. Using shared calendars compatible with Google Meet and Microsoft Office, staff and employers meet virtually and without drama.

Using efficient online tools, a team or singular contractor creates qualification parameters and posts their availability for potential clients to pursue. This seamless transition is like driving hands-free and still reaching the destination.

The caveat is that workers and employers still need to meet virtually, and tech and office solutions companies are rising to accommodate those specific needs. One of the issues brought forth by this shift is planning, scheduling, and executing remote interviews in order to grow and accommodate a remote workforce. 

1. How to schedule a remote interview

Although prospective employers and staff no longer meet in a designated location, virtual meets may present other challenges. Following a few guidelines makes the entire process run smoothly.

Here’s how:

  1. Using a cloud-based calendar such as Google’s or Microsoft’s, schedule the meeting based on the availability noted
  2. Establish the timezone for the agreed meeting and don’t assume a company’s headquarters is in the same timezone as an interviewee/interviewer.
  3. If you’re making the meeting verbally, note the agreed time and send a reminder link including the particulars.

The easiest way to automate this process would be to use a calendar scheduling tool such as YouCanBook.me. Your remote interviewee would be able to click on your booking link and choose a time that works for them instantly. 

Time zones are calculated for you, and confirmations and reminders are sent automatically to reduce no-shows. Additionally, YouCanBook.me integrates with virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, and MS Teams, and will generate unique meeting links for all of your interviews.

2. How to conduct a remote interview

Being professional isn’t a tip; it’s a foregone conclusion applicable to all parties in the interview process. Although remote interviews and remote work environments may seem more casual, they can be just as formal and demand respect.

Since remote interviews don’t just apply to job interviews but also encompass project management meetings, set the stage with expectations and include details and targets.

Here’s how:

  1. Before the meeting, ensure the candidate understands the tech platform being used for the interview and include instructions for setting up, mainly if the host company uses in-house interview software.
  2. Send all parties included, interviewee and panel members, all the necessary information including resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and other pertinent information by outlining an interview agenda.
  3. Set an expected time allowance and for long meetings, schedule a break.
  4. If skill set evaluation and performance-related tests are part of the process, provide the information beforehand.
  5. Have a backup plan if technology or the internet provider throws a curveball. Interview by telephone if necessary.
  6. Prepare your equipment as outlined in the steps below.
  7. Know who you are interviewing and understand the work history of the potential client. For project-management interviews, have everything at hand. It’s unprofessional having to excuse yourself.
  8. Be friendly and approachable and speak clearly, allowing time for audio lag.
  9. Close the interview with a summary of expectations and next steps like onboarding.

3. How to prepare for a remote interview

The remote interviewing process takes just as much practice as the old-fashioned face-to-face method. Be prepared. Once you agree on which platform suits the interview, the interviewer and interviewee should follow these basic guidelines.

Prepare for a remote interview

Here’s how:

  1. Complete a thorough equipment and internet connection check, test the platform, and switch on the sound and camera features. Turn off all other open apps and windows. Use a headset with a built-in microphone to eliminate background noise.
  2. Light quality and a clutter-free background create a professional look. Experiment and adjust accordingly.
  3. Prepare a set of questions and keep a notepad and pen available. A glass of water is a good idea to soothe irritated voices if you have to speak for a lengthy period.
  4. Post a notice if your remote environment doubles as a family home. Ask family or coworkers to refrain from disturbing you.
  5. Dress professionally.
  6. Keep your remote interview questions precise, and don’t deviate from your list of questions. Be friendly but not overly personal.
  7. Research the company, the job, and the person in the interview whenever possible.

4. What to wear for a remote interview

Although many companies have relaxed dress codes, always dress in a professional style as first impressions are a vital component for success.

  1. Blues, black, gray, and white are professional tones but avoid browns, reds, and overtly vibrant hues. Loud patterns or bright colors can distract, especially on camera. Depending on the quality of your equipment, patterns can cause a ripple or wave effect, so it’s best to avoid them.
  2. Dress from top to bottom and include shoes. 
  3. Double-check your hair, especially if adding a headset.
  4. Allow a genuine smile and make eye contact by looking directly into the camera when speaking.

Building confidence in remote interviews

There are massive opportunities in the remote work environment that many workers can benefit from. Therefore, it’s important for both interviewer and interviewee to make a great first impression during a remote interview.

Understanding technology and incorporating tools such as scheduling software, video meeting platforms, and other remote solutions will help you attract top talent to build a strong workforce.  

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