Remote working has become far more common in recent years with businesses embracing the many advantages of remote staff. However, hiring remotely often means conducting remote interviews. This can be some very different than most managers and HR professionals are used to, and they can come with some potential issues.
Here we take a look at how businesses can overcome the challenge that can be presented by remote interviews.
A successful remote interview is one that runs as smoothly and seamlessly as one that is face-to-face. But of course, to a certain extent, you are at the mercy of technology. It is important, then, to minimise the risk of technical difficulties by being prepared and thinking about the structure of the interview in advance.
When you are considering which software you are going to use for your remote interview, a reliable connection is a given – but there are other aspects you’ll need to consider. You will need to establish what sort of functionality you are going to need – for example, screen sharing or the ability for certain interviewers to join or leave as necessary.
GoToMeeting, for example, is considered to be more mobile-friendly than many of its competitors. Alternatively, you might prefer Microsoft Teams for the ability to integrate it with other Microsoft products.
When a potential candidate comes to your office it can be easy to show off your company culture and display your business as a company that is worth working for. In a remote interview, however, it is not necessarily as easy. The interviewee gets very little chance to get an impression of the business from a remote interview, and this can affect their perception of the company.
Company culture can be just important to those working remotely compared to those working in the office, so it is a great idea to come prepared with stories and examples. If you can’t show someone directly, then make it a priority to explain in the interview.
Often overlooked in remote interviews – if the person you are interviewing is going to be working remotely, it can be important to have someone in the interview with remote working experience.
“Businesses sometimes don’t realise how different the working experience is for remote staff,” says Bob Bannister of iManage Performance “individuals without remote experience are required to manage remote staff or conduct interviews with remote candidates – and it is apparent that they don’t quite understand it in the same way”.
It is important if you are going to be conducting an interview for a remote member of staff, you need to have training for it. Remote staff have different priorities and, in many cases, a different outlook – it is important to take this into account.
Trust is important in interviews, not just from the perspective of the candidate, but also from the interviewer. The interviewee needs to feel confident in the interview if you are going to get the best from them.
The ideal way to this is to start the interview the right way – introductions and something to break the ice and help everyone to relax. Being friendly might not be your interview style, but it can really help in a remote setting.
Of course, this goes for any interview, but if you are less used to giving remote interviews it can be easy to get distracted. Ensure that you have booked out the time and that everyone knows that you are not available to do any other form of work during that time.
This can sometimes be overlooked by members of your team – if they haven’t seen you go into a room with an interviewee they might assume that it is OK for them to interrupt. Additionally, you must ensure that you have a quiet room where there is going to be anything going on to take your mind off the interview.
A major part of overcoming the challenges of remote interviews is taking the time to assess them and to understand what needs to be different – rather than treating them as exactly the same as a face-to-face interview. Even those who have not worked remotely themselves can interview for potential staff when they are well prepared.
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