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The 4 Steps to Conducting Successful Remote Interviews from the Comfort of Your Living Room

by MindSpring Partners on March 4, 2021 in Find Talent


how to interview remotely

It’s been almost a year since the COVID-19 pandemic first caused mass shutdowns resulting in the largest work-from-home experiment ever. At first, many companies focused on just getting by and making the best of a challenging time. Yet, as the pandemic has dragged on, it’s become increasingly clear that remote work isn’t going anywhere.


The continuation of remote work means that remote interviewing and hiring will also be sticking around for the foreseeable future. In order to help your company update its hiring process, we spoke to MindSpring’s remote interview expert and Director of Client Engagement, Marina Ungaretti. Follow along as Marina explains how to interview candidates remotely and ensure you hire the right talent for your team.


Step 1: Plan and Prepare

When you’re getting ready to interview a candidate remotely, the first step is to determine the interview schedule. Who should the candidate meet with? Are multiple interviews required? How long does each interview need to be? Time management is critical here. You don’t want remote interviews to go too long, especially when a candidate will need to speak with multiple interviewers.


If several interviews are required, I recommend that each interviewer have their own virtual interview room. Depending on the platform you’re using, this typically means a unique link or login for each interview. I also suggest building some time into the schedule for short breaks and planning for a small gap in between sessions in case an interview goes long. Let’s be honest, everyone is tired of being on video calls these days. Short gaps between interviews allow the candidate a moment to breathe and gives the next interviewer a chance for any last-minute preparations.


Once you’ve decided on the schedule, be sure to communicate this to both the candidate and all of the interviewers involved. Send any important links or details they’ll need to access the virtual interview room and make sure a backup plan is in place in case technology fails or something goes awry. Laying out all of these details ahead of time will save you, your colleagues, and the candidate from most potential issues and any last-minute confusion around the interview process.


Step 2: The Interview Basics

With the schedule laid out and interview expectations established, you’re ready to focus on the interview basics like finding a quiet place to conduct the interview. This may seem obvious, but when you’re interviewing from home, it’s important to choose a space with minimal distractions, good lighting and a professional background. Of course, depending on your work from home setup (living room couch, anyone?) this might not be possible. In that case, a digital background and a good pair of headphones with a mic are great tools to have.


You’ll also want to test your tech ahead of time. Just because your video camera was working for an interview last week doesn’t mean it will be working this week. Make sure your technology is running smoothly and test any software or platforms you’ll be using during the interview. Will you need to share your screen during the interview? Does the candidate need to complete a skills assessment? Ensure everything is ready to go so that you don’t have to deal with last-minute surprises.


Finally, make sure you’re dressed appropriately for the interview. I know it’s tempting to want to be comfortable and casual when working from home, but it’s important to send the right signal to the candidate and your outfit says a lot about your company culture. Do you work in a business professional environment or is your company more laid back and informal? When interviewing remotely, dress like you would if you were interviewing a candidate in person. Your appearance can be a useful indicator for candidates trying to determine whether they’re a good fit for your organization.


Step 3: Highlight Company Culture

When you’re conducting a remote interview, showcasing your company’s unique personality can be a challenge. During an in-person interview, it’s easier to highlight elements of company culture throughout the office space itself. But virtually, candidates tend to miss out on these important cultural clues. That’s why details like how you dress for the interview are even more important.


Another way to show off your company’s culture is with your background. Can you use a photo of your actual office or a branded image when conducting interviews? Consider the most important elements that make your company unique and find ways to highlight those during the conversation. Does your company stand out for its diversity and inclusion? What opportunities exist for professional development? Have team engagement events and happy hours gone virtual?


With MindSpring, we get to know your company culture like it’s our own, and we have the knowledge and experience to ensure your company is a good match with potential candidates. Just remember that while you may be the one conducting the interview, candidates are also interviewing you to see if your organization is a match for what they’re looking for in an employer.


Step 4: The Interview

The day has finally arrived and it’s interview time! Of course, despite the best-laid plans, things might go wrong on your end or the candidate’s. From schedule misunderstandings to tech mishaps, the best you can do is be patient and understanding. We’ve all been there at some point during this pandemic.


When the interview is over, be sure to let the candidate know what comes next in the process and when they can expect to hear back from you. Consistent and clear communication are crucial in the remote work world we all live in.


Finally, keep a sense of humor. Everyone is trying their best and we can all get through this together.


Ready to put your remote interview skills to the test? MindSpring is here to help you find great candidates. Reach out to us to get started!



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