6 Tips for Conducting Your Best Remote Interview

Written by Ninna Meister
Direct Staffing
5 Minutes read

It’s official: remote and hybrid work are here to stay. June 2024 statistics show a marked rise in worldwide remote employment, from 20% in 2020 to 28% by Q4 2023. The tech industry’s in the distinguished position of the highest share of remote employees, with 67% reporting remote work arrangements. 

With remote work comes, naturally, remote interviews. It’s a different art from the “traditional” in-person interview and can be a daunting prospect for interviewers and interviewees alike. Remote interviews require new etiquette and strategies to get the best out of your candidates. 

It’s important to remember that an interview is a collaborative process, even if it’s just you and the candidate. Both of you have the same goal: to see if the person you’re interviewing is the perfect fit for the job. Being an exceptional interviewer will help bring out the best in the people you’re interviewing, allowing them to show their true potential. 

Putting a candidate at ease, even over an internet connection, is the best way to properly assess their skill set. A well-conducted interview is a win-win: it helps you find the right person for the job and reflects positively on your company. 

At Jobsity, we know this first-hand. We’ve conducted thousands of remote interviews over the past 13 years. As an IT direct staffing firm, we’ve got it down to a science. Now, we want to share what we’ve learned so your next interviews are as effective—and comfortable—as possible. 

Let’s dive in.  

1. Familiarize Yourself with the Candidate

As with so many things, preparation is the key to success when interviewing a new candidate. Before the interview, take time to thoroughly read the candidate’s resume and review their LinkedIn profile

This isn't just a way to be respectful of their time; it allows you to ask more meaningful and targeted questions. Understanding their background, skills, and experiences will help you tailor your plan to assess their fit for the role. 

Being well-prepared shows the candidate that you’re just as serious about the interview as they are. It's also a sign that you're someone they want to work for: you value their potential contribution to your team. 

Preparation time is an investment that pays dividends in more engaging and insightful dialogue. Making the interview process smoother and more effective is to everyone's benefit.

2. Start with a Warm Introduction

First impressions matter, and starting the interview with a friendly introduction sets a positive tone. Begin by sharing a bit about yourself, your role, and a brief overview of your company. This helps to humanize the interaction and since you introduced yourself first, you're making the candidate feel more comfortable to introduce themselves too. 

Then allow them space to talk about their background and interests. A warm introduction can help ease initial nerves and create a more relaxed atmosphere, fostering a more open and honest conversation

It’s important to remember that a candidate who feels comfortable is more likely to showcase their true abilities and personality.

3. Ask Both Specific and Situational Questions

The questions you ask are the best tools you have to find the right fit for your open position. To fully understand the candidate’s skills and thought processes, incorporate both specific and situational questions

Specific questions, such as “How many years have you worked with React and what is your most recent experience with it?” help you gauge their technical skills and recent experience with particular tools or frameworks. A resume typically includes the technologies they’ve used, but not always their level of expertise. This is where specific questions shine, and lead the way to more open dialogue and possibilities.

Situational questions are a little more abstract and help give a more rounded view of the candidate’s abilities, especially soft skills. You can define a problem (or future plan) your company’s facing and ask the candidate how they’ve approached a similar task in the past.

An example might be something like, “We’re migrating a PHP project to Javascript/Node. What was it like for you to handle a similar migration in your previous position?” For a behavioral question, try “How have you handled a situation in which two people from the team didn’t agree on how to do the task at hand?”

The goal with both is to see how the candidate approaches real-world problems. It’s also useful for assessing how well their methodologies match your company culture, in both their behavior and technical ability.

By mixing these question types, you can evaluate their hard skills as well as their ability to apply those skills in practical scenarios. It’s a balanced approach that provides a clear picture of how they might perform in the role.

4. Give Space for Candidate Dialogue

An interview should be a two-way street, with opportunities for both parties to learn about each other. Leave space for the candidate to ask questions for you, too. This shows that you value their input and are open to addressing their concerns or curiosities. It also gives them a chance to clarify any doubts they might have about the role, the team, or the company. 

Engaging in this back-and-forth dialogue makes the candidate feel heard. It has the added benefit of helping you gauge their interest and engagement with the opportunity. It’s a great way to support a more interactive and dynamic conversation, making the interview more productive for both sides.

5. Be Understanding

Interviews can be nerve-wracking, and in a remote setting some technical glitches might also come into play. It's important to be patient and understanding if the candidate appears nervous or if there are communication barriers. This is especially true at the beginning of the interview. Once everyone’s acquainted and talking freely, the candidate becomes more comfortable and you’ll gain a better understanding of their skillset. Win-win!

Offer reassurance and allow them time to gather their thoughts. Remember, they might come from different cultural or linguistic backgrounds, which could affect how they express themselves. In a team setting, this diversity is an asset

A little empathy goes a long way in helping candidates relax and showcase their true potential. By creating a supportive environment, you encourage them to be their best selves, which ultimately leads to a more accurate assessment of their fit for the role.

6. Have a Solid Wrap-Up Procedure

A good wrap-up can leave a lasting impression. It’s useful to have a standardized wrap-up procedure for all interviews so the experience is consistent for all parties. Planning ahead of time makes sure nothing is forgotten; no stone's left unturned. It ensures a smooth continuation of the hiring process and helps everyone leave the interview on a positive note.

As the interview comes to an end, ask if the candidate has any final questions. Clearly explain the next steps in the hiring process so they know what to expect. This clarity helps manage their expectations and reduces any anxiety about what comes next. 

After the interview, promptly send an email to Jobsity with your feedback while the conversation is still fresh in your mind. Providing timely and detailed feedback helps us move forward efficiently and keep the candidate informed. After all, we’re here to support you every step of the way in building your ideal team.

Your Partnership with Jobsity

Jobsity’s more than a company, we’re an extension of your organization and community. We believe in your success and want to support it. We’re there for you from your first call through the years of our partnership. Our accountability practices are second to none and we know first-hand how to handle a diverse team for the best results. 

Best of all? We’re reliable. Our devs are in it for the long haul: they have an average retention rate of over three years. Your Jobsity contact’s always available for questions and to help you scale your team as your business grows.

We have the best candidates on the block and the track record to prove it: devs to meet every need your business has, now and in the future. From every mainstream programming language to Data Science, Machine Learning, Business Analytics, Graphic Design, and more, we’re there for you. 

Why not give us a try? Your risk free trial’s just a friendly call away. 

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Written by Ninna Meister

Ninna is a seasoned Talent Acquisition professional. She is currently leading Jobsity's Staffing Support Area.

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