- Remote interviews are an efficient and effective way to find job candidates, but they do require more planning.
- Knowing the available platform options for remote interviews beforehand will give you an opportunity to decide which is the best suited for your interview.
- The proper preparations can make the interview less stressful for both the interviewer and the interviewee. For instance, you should prepare your questions, test your technical equipment, and know how to read facial expressions.
The job interview is one of those time-honored traditions that comes with its own set of rituals: Show up early. Look nice. Smell better. And make sure you don't get lost on the way there.
But the way interviews are conducted is changing. The ubiquity of video chat and messaging software can eliminate the need for the in-person interview. Companies no longer need to foot the bill for travel arrangements, and prospective employees don't have to sink two days into an interview for a job that might not be the right fit.
The question is how to make the interview happen. Here are some of the best technology choices for such interviews that enable employers and prospective employees to connect with minimal disruption. [Interested in video conferencing services? Check out our best picks.]
Skype is a ubiquitous solution for video chat in business. Microsoft's communication service is responsible for up to 3 billion minutes of calls per day, according to the company. A Skype call is as easy as sharing your username. Calls can be joined via desktop app, web app or mobile device.
You can also get a dedicated Skype number for a starting price of about $6 per month, depending on your region. While it may sound like a lot to pay for something so simple, it is cheaper than setting up a dedicated landline if you want a separate number for your business. Corporate organizations can get additional features with Skype for Business, such as an auto-cropping camera that focuses on the subject automatically.
Microsoft's Skype is one of the dominant services in web conferencing. Credit: Microsoft
As a freelancer, I've used this service the most when being invited to conference calls. It doesn't hurt that Webex has substantial uses across large corporations, so when a company wants to invite someone for a remote interview, this is the service they are likely to go with.
It's relatively easy to set up a call. From the Webex dashboard, you can email an invite, which will provide contact information for the person who is going to interview for the job.
Cisco's WebEx works across desktop and mobile platforms for easy-to-create and conduct meetings. Credit: Cisco
Another popular choice, particularly for its ease of use, is GoToMeeting. It has easy-to-use tools and simple instructions for those who aren't part of the organization to join the meeting.
The software also enables screen sharing, which allows an interviewee to share proposals, a portfolio or other documents that can bring better context to an interview.
GoToMeeting features a straightforward interface and multiple sharing tools. Credit: LogMeIn Inc.
Have your personal tech ready
Outside of these three apps, there are lots of other options that you can use to facilitate the meeting. Google Meet, Zoom and other players all have a team in this league. Interview software is often a company decision. If you're outside the organization, prepare to be flexible and check out the instructions in advance so you don't end up late to the call.
These platforms don't require a fancy tech setup to participate. A standard webcam or even a mobile device will suffice in many cases. However, if you want a solid camera that won't set you back too much, check out the Logitech HP Pro C920. It creates video in high definition and can be used for any video conference session or for recording a video.
Also think about camera placement and other aesthetics that will impact how you'll appear. The background matters – few people want to look at a well-used cat tree or garbage can in the background. If it's a job interview, think about appearance the same way you would for an in-person meeting. Those rules you learned in high school about first impressions still matter.
It also can't hurt to lock the door.
Tips for conducting a successful remote interview
More and more people are making the switch from working outside the home to working remotely, which means remote job interviews are also becoming more common. Although most people have some experience with face-to-face interviews, not everyone knows how to conduct a remote interview. So, here are some tips to help you prepare for and get the most out of remote interviews.
1. Be prepared.
Remote interviews require a bit of preparation. As the interviewer, you’ll need to set expectations beforehand with those being interviewed about the interview details. Plan ahead by knowing what online meeting platform you will use and who will make the call. Give the interviewee a list of the names and titles of everyone who will be joining the interview. Clear communication of the meeting details will help put the interviewee at ease and make the entire interview process go smoothly.
2. Reduce the risk of glitches.
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for a remote interview is to make sure your technical equipment is working its best. For instance, if you are planning to do the interview using Skype or Zoom, do a trial run a day or two ahead of time so that you'll have time to make adjustments if there are problems. Check the microphone, internet connection and camera to make sure everything is up to par, and don't forget to log in to the platform you'll be using to ensure you know your login information, especially if you haven't used the platform in a while.
3. Schedule enough time and prepare questions.
A few days in advance, print out the questions you intend to ask. You should also have a printout of the candidate's resume. Schedule plenty of time for the interview, allowing ample time for the candidate to answer your questions and ask any questions they may have.
During the interview, pay close attention to the candidate's tone of voice and facial expressions. Keep your voice calm, speak clearly, and smile when appropriate. It's important to show the candidate that you are engaged in the conversation. Look at the camera while you are speaking, not your image or the candidate's image. Have a strong close: Let the candidate know what will happen next, such as another interview, and when they can expect to start work if hired. Be sure to thank them for their time.