In this new age of remote working, thanks to the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19, it is important to outline a standard process and best practices for remote interviews. Conducting remote interviews may seem like a foreign (or even stressful) prospect if you’re never done it before. Even if you have, there are best practices that can help elevate your interviewing skills to the next level. Below, we have outlined a few tips for leading remote interviews to help you make the most of the conversation and find the best fit for the job.

The Logistics: Who, How and Technology

Before interviewing commences, you should determine an interview team and interview process, taking into consideration candidate experience, a diverse interviewing team and the level of the role. As a rule of thumb for individual contributor roles, you should have no more than three stages to your process. Typically, you should start with an initial phone interview with the talent team, followed by an interview with the hiring manager, and then the final stage, with an executive/department head as necessary. For leadership roles, an additional one or two stakeholder interviews may be added. Some companies also like to include a less formal meeting as part of the process, such as a meet and greet with a colleague or other employee. If you are the hiring manager, you should ensure that you connect with your interview team prior to their interviews, to make sure they are clear on what areas they are covering in the interview. Typically, there should be no more than three people (including the candidate) on a virtual call at one time to ensure smooth internet connection, provide a positive experience for the candidate and to be able to control the flow of the interview efficiently.

When hosting remote interviews, video calls are preferred (versus a regular telephone call) as, this allows you to get a read of the candidate’s facial expressions, body language and natural demeanor as you would in a face-to-face meeting. This will allow you to interview the candidate as you would in person. Video calls also add to a positive candidate experience, increasing the likelihood of the candidate building a positive opinion of the company, and you. If a video call isn’t available to you, then telephone calls will suffice. Whether you are conducting a video call or telephone call, we have a few tips to guide you:

As for the technology, the most common video conferencing tools are Zoom, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, WebEx and Blue Jeans. Your company should have a subscription to one of these technologies that you can access. For clarification, ask your IT team or Talent Acquisition team for the resources available. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, many of these companies are offering free access for a limited time — take advantage!

First Impressions Matter

The most important thing to remember during an online interview, is to proceed as if it were an in-person interview. Here are some helpful tips to set the tone for a professional environment, so you and your candidate have a successful video interview:

Each candidate and job function is different; therefore, it is important to have tailored questions to each interviewee and role. Below is a sample of prepared questions and areas to cover during an interview:



Professionalism is Key

Before logging on to the interview with a potential new hire, make sure you have established a clear process with your interview team. This includes:

While it is tempting to be more casual on a remote interview, using these tips to keep your conversation professional, planned and personal will not only help your company find the ideal candidate for the role, but will also build rapport with the candidate and allow professional relationships to deepen from the first conversation.

About the Author:

Natalie focuses on overseeing Talent Acquisition for Corporate Shared Services, Occupier Services and Property Management across North America. She also oversees recruitment coordination for the Talent Acquisition team, as well as being involved in key Talent Acquisition projects around candidate experience, process and employment branding.