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How to Conduct Successful Remote Interviews

The traditional interview process has undergone a profound digital makeover and conducting remote interviews is an integral part of the hiring process. These interviews come with distinct advantages, such as the ability to access a wider talent pool and the flexibility to accommodate candidates from around the world. Mastering this digital landscape can be a breeze with careful planning and thought-out execution to ensure a smooth and effective interview process.

Preparing for Remote Interviews

Technical Setup

The first step in conducting successful remote interviews is to ensure your technical setup is on point. Here are some key considerations:

  • Video Conferencing Platform: Select a reliable video conferencing platform that suits your organisation's needs. Popular options include Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and Skype for Business.
  • Camera and Microphone Quality: Invest in a good-quality camera and microphone. Clear video and audio are essential for effective communication during remote interviews.
  • Internet Stability: Check and verify the stability of your internet connection. A poor connection can lead to disruptions and hinder the interview process.

Candidate Preparation

Preparing your candidates for remote interviews is equally important. Help them feel at ease and confident in this digital setting:

  • Advise on Tools: Provide candidates with guidance on how to use video conferencing tools effectively. This can include instructions on joining the meeting, muting/unmuting, and screen sharing.
  • Lighting and Background: Offer tips on lighting and background setup. Encourage candidates to choose a well-lit and clutter-free environment to create a professional appearance.

Managing Technical Issues

Contingency Planning

Technical glitches can happen unexpectedly, so it's crucial to have a plan in place:

  • Adaptability: Be prepared to adapt and show understanding when candidates encounter technical issues on their end. Patience and flexibility go a long way in maintaining a positive candidate experience.
  • Backup Plan: Have a backup plan in case of major technical disruptions. This might involve switching to an alternative communication method or rescheduling the interview.

Test Runs

Conducting test runs with candidates can help iron out any technical issues and reduce anxiety:

  • Identify Glitches: Use these test runs to identify and resolve any technical glitches on either side. It's a proactive way to ensure a smoother interview experience.
  • Familiarisation: Familiarise candidates with the virtual environment. This can help reduce their anxiety and ensure they're comfortable with the tools and platform.

Effectively Assessing Candidates, Virtually

Body Language and Nonverbal Cues

Assessing candidates' body language and nonverbal cues in a virtual setting requires some adjustment:

  • Facial Expressions: Pay close attention to candidates' facial expressions and gestures. These cues can provide valuable insights into their responses and demeanour.
  • Adaptation: Adapt your assessment approach for the virtual setting. Understand that the nuances of body language may differ from in-person interviews.

Engagement and Attention

Keeping candidates engaged during remote interviews is essential for an effective assessment:

  • Active Listening: Practise active listening throughout the interview. Encourage candidates to share their thoughts and experiences, and show genuine interest in their responses.
  • Maintain Eye Contact: Maintain eye contact through the camera to demonstrate your engagement. This helps establish a connection and fosters a more authentic interview experience.

Ensuring Fairness in Remote Interviews


As with in-person interviews, it is important to ensure fairness and consistency by:

  • Using consistent formats and measurable, objective and job-relevant criteria for candidate evaluation. 
  • Ensuring that every candidate is assessed impartially and based on the same standards.
  • Not forgetting to accommodate any reasonable adjustments that might be needed by candidates who have a disability or who are neurodivergent.

Recording Interviews

Consider the pros and cons of recording virtual interviews. A key advantage is that it can free interviewers to focus on the interview as a conversation rather than needing to take written notes and that there is an accurate representation of how the interview was carried out. A downside is that it can inhibit some candidates and can mean that when it comes to scoring, there is a need to review and replay the interview in its entirety, which can be time-consuming.

  • Candidate Consent: If you choose to record interviews, obtain clear and informed consent from candidates. Ensure that you comply with data protection regulations and respect candidates' privacy.

Candidate Experience in Virtual Interviews

Communication and Transparency

  • Ensure that the candidate feels able to ask for questions to be repeated in the event of any sound issues during the interview.
  • Obtain confirmation from the candidate that they are located within an environment that will enable them to speak to you comfortably and in private
  • In the event of any serious technical issues (e.g. with the sound or connection) be prepared for the candidate/you to leave and rejoin the interview, and if this does not work, to reschedule the interview. This is to ensure that the candidate’s interview performance is not unfairly compromised by any distraction/disruption that may be caused by any glitches.

Follow-up and Feedback

Completing the candidate experience with thoughtful follow-up is a sign of professionalism:

  • Timely Feedback: Provide timely feedback to candidates, whether it's positive or not. Constructive feedback helps candidates understand their strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Next Steps: Communicate the next steps clearly. Candidates appreciate knowing what to expect after the interview, whether it's additional rounds, assessments, or a final decision.

Remote vs. In-Person Interviews

When comparing Remote and In-Person Interviews it's important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each format:

  • Benefits of Remote Interviews: Reflect on the benefits of holding remote interviews, such as increased flexibility, access to a broader talent pool, and reduced logistical challenges.
  • Role-Specific Considerations: Recognise when in-person interviews may still be preferable for specific roles or scenarios. Some positions may require a physical presence or hands-on assessments.

By following these steps and considerations, you'll be well-equipped to navigate remote interviews, embracing the opportunities they offer while ensuring a smooth and professional experience for both you and your candidates. This essential skill will help you identify and secure top talent in today's competitive job market.

Find out how HR Duo can elevate your current process with the tools and knowledge to enhance your talent acquisition, applicant tracking, and employee onboarding with a free demo today.

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