Ready to embrace the Work From Anywhere movement and begin building your team of remote workers? Remote work is more than just a trend, and it benefits your company, employees, and your bottom line. If you haven't already, you'll likely transition some of your current on-site employees to remote teams and hiring new remote candidates. Although interviewing remote candidates can seem daunting if you've only ever conducted in-person interviews for on-site positions, it doesn't have to be – especially if you know what you're looking for.

Just like how not every position can be done remotely, not every employee is suited for a remote work career. In your hiring process, you'll interview qualified and talented candidates. What allows them to excel as remote employees will be their exceptional communication skills, their tendency to be self-motivated, and their self-discipline as they work out of sight from their team members. When you follow our remote interview tips, you'll hire the best candidates in no time.

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How to Conduct a Remote Interview

Being prepared for your remote interview not only guarantees the success of the interview but it also ensures your interviewee that you're prioritizing their interest in working as a remote member of your company.

Remember, when conducting remote interviews your tech choices are key. When your hiring team uses the Meeting Owl Pro it will be like you're right in the room with the candidate, even if they're time zones away.

1. Make sure you connect with the candidate.

When you're conducting interviews, so much of your decision to offer a job relies on how well you believe the candidate will fit in with your company culture. This human connection is often based on body language – a facet of the interview that doesn't necessarily translate easily during remote meetings (especially those without video). However, because you're interviewing these candidates for remote positions, how you connect with them virtually takes the place of how you interact with them in-person.

This is why it is so important to prioritize communication tools, not only with your active remote employees but during the interview process as well. During the interview process, make sure to use various communication tools. Perhaps you'll choose a standard audio tool for the preliminary interview and your go-to video conferencing tool for the later-stage interviews. How your remote candidates interact with these communication tools will be a big sign as to how they will succeed as remote workers at your company.

2. Set clear expectations.

We've all interviewed on-site before, so we know what to expect leading up to in-person interviews. We know the little steps it takes to prepare: checking your commute time to the interview so you can make sure you're showing up early, packing the necessary resources, practicing your authoritative yet approachable handshake with your friends beforehand. But remote interviews come with different preparations and different expectations for all parties involved – especially if you have not participated in a remote interview before. Before the interview begins both parties should be on the same page about these aspects, so they are able to set the appropriate expectations for how the interview will be conducted:

  • Whether the interview will be just audio or a video interview
  • What software will be used
  • An introductory email of who all will be present for the interview
  • A general outline or meeting agenda for the order of events

3. Prepare your interview questions.

Entering an interview prepared with questions is Interview Prep 101, so much so that some people tend to skip the step completely, leaving them to wing interviews with the hopes that it will make for a more personal connection. However, your level of preparedness for the interview reflects your level of commitment to the position, especially when it comes to remote employees.

In addition to preparing your standard interview questions, your interview questions should also address how your candidate will perform remotely. For some interview question inspiration, check out our ultimate list of questions for remote interviews.

4. Practice. Practice. Practice.

If you don't have years of experience hiring remote workers, it is possible there are still some bug fixes in your remote hiring process that should be addressed. Although waiting for these problems to rear their heads mid-interview is an option, a better choice would be to conduct remote practice interviews in order to ensure all interview programming is working efficiently. Additionally, if you're relatively new to the interviewing remote candidates game it is possible that you're not yet asking the correct questions. Practice your remote interview, questions included, with a seasoned remote worker that you trust. By asking your questions of them, and hearing their honest and experience-based answers you'll be more prepared for what to expect come time for you to ask those same questions of a potential remote hire.

Bonus tip: When running your practice interviews, make sure to ask your pseudo-interviewee how you're coming across on the screen. Is the conference room you're interviewing from looking too cluttered and distracting during the interview? Is your audio clear with little background noise? Can they see you clearly? It is little details like this that make or break remote interviews.

5. Choose your interview team wisely.

When conducting an interview, the more interviewers in the room makes for an increasingly thorough and successful interview. However, when it comes to interviewing candidates remotely more is not always more. Remote interviews should be streamlined and made up of only the necessary members. Of course, the candidate's direct supervisor should be present as well as their immediate team members if possible.

In the case of an in-person interview, you might branch out to more members of the relevant department, remote interviews should only include those necessary to making the hiring decision. Use other methods of communication to connect candidates with the team like email or Slack, to start building team culture early.

Bonus tip: If it is not possible to remove some people from the interview, assigning some team members to observation and note-taking responsibilities is always an option.

Now that you've decided that your company is ready for remote work, it's time to kick start the hiring process. Good luck on your journey to hiring the most talented, self-motivated, and qualified remote candidates!

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