3 Tips for Interviewing Candidates Remotely

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to pummel the world, we’re forced to look for creative solutions to work toward some level of business continuity. Those in human resources must tailor the way they conduct the interview process for job candidates. Instead of a phone screen or phone interview to start recruiting followed by in-person interviews, candidates should expect it all to be conducted virtually.

“While some of our clients are hiring without ever meeting the candidate face-to-face and onboarding them remotely, others are scheduling exploratory interviews and holding off on the final in-person interview until shelter in place orders are lifted,” notes Hunter Judson, President of Judson Group.

For employers making hires during this uncertain period, here are some tips for interviewing candidates remotely and finding the strongest talent possible during these trying times:

First, make sure you have the correct technology to do the interview via audio or video (whichever is preferred by your organization). Ensure that you have Zoom, Skype or other resources downloaded to your computer and that you are comfortable using it. Then communicate with the job candidate about when and where to access it for the interview. To do this, you should test the applications ahead of time to ensure you’re using a service that’s high-quality and that will allow you and the candidate to connect without distraction.

Second, it’s important to be in the right mindset for a job interview conducted remotely. Namely, you should treat it like any other interview to as much extent as possible. Yes, these are tough circumstances globally, but it’ll also help to shift your mentality to one of normalcy in order to have a satisfactory outcome for both yourself and the candidate. Remember, you’re representing your organization and the company’s employer brand to the candidate. You’ll want to project a sense of confidence in the organization’s ability to weather this storm and succeed in the immediate months following the pandemic.

To this end, try and have a goal in mind for the interviews conducted remotely. According to Forbes, this is crucial for a successful interview. “The overall goal of the interview is to find the right person for the position. So, before drafting any questions, it helps to expressly define the right person for the position, which will also help you prepare an accurate job description. Prepare a list of qualities you want in an ideal job candidate and ask questions that essentially answer whether or not the person you’re speaking with on the phone or via video conversation has any or all of them.”

Finally, it’s key that you have the proper set-up in your home for interviews. While children are home from school for the foreseeable future, it may be difficult to have total peace and quiet during this important process. And that’s okay (you may just want to give the person you’re hiring a heads-up so they’re not thrown off in any way). As long as you find a corner of your house or an office where you can take and conduct calls, you can make this arrangement work. Everyone is facing similar work-from-home challenges now and are extending each other a fair bit of grace during this time. Still, make every effort to create a professional environment to minimize distractions and keep the interview focused on getting to know your next hire.

The coronavirus pandemic requires us all to make sacrifices and change the way we hire talent. By being as prepared as possible through technology choices, having goals in mind for each call, and creating the proper home office setup, you’ll find the best talent for your organization no matter what.