7 Tips to Conduct Remote Interviews Successfully

By: Sarah Roberts

Interview tips


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Sources like The New York Times, among others, report that remote work is here to stay. Over the past 18 months, business leaders have found that virtual employment saves money, increases talent pools, causes less pollution and, in many cases, improves productivity. Given the compelling benefits of remote work and a continued need to social distance, it is more important than ever for companies to learn how to do an online interview successfully. 

With a bit of preparation, vetting new employees and getting interviewees to open up over Zoom is entirely possible. It also offers convenience and cost savings. Here are some tips and remote interview tools that professionals should consider when building human connections virtually and be able to get the most out of virtual interviews.

1: Be Mindful of Time Zones 

As the interviewer, it’s essential to consider scheduling times. Even with modern scheduling tools, mindful communication is vital for avoiding time zone confusion. Check with interviewees to ensure they’re truly based where their resume states they are, and send reminder emails with the dates and time zones clearly marked to avoid confusion. There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting in a Zoom waiting room.

2: Take Time to Prepare

Whether interviewing a new job candidate, political expert or celebrity, preparation is key. The person conducting the virtual interview should know their goal, prepare a list of questions ahead of time and be ready to guide the interaction. For job interviews happening remotely, ensuring the candidate’s resume is open in a viewable tab or a second screen can allow the interviewer to reference it most effectively while also engaging with them on Zoom. When remote, picking up on facial cues can be important, so ensuring interviewers can gauge the individual’s reactions and their responses will be the best way to mirror an in-person setting. This method will help facilitate the end goal, which should be to learn more about the person and their knowledge on the subject matter, not to have them read their on-paper credentials or research word-for-word. 

3: Test the Technology

Some of the most crucial remote job interview tools are the technology and platforms that support virtual communication. Many people are familiar with Zoom and other online conferencing tools, but it is worth taking the time to ensure that everyone can connect to the chosen platform. Testing the video and audio quality to avoid awkward delays, frozen screens or struggles to hear is highly recommended. 

Stable Wi-Fi is vital for remote interviews and work, but there is always the possibility of an unanticipated interruption in service. Simply exchanging phone numbers can avoid stress and confusion if there is a technical glitch. 

4: Be Professional

A woman having her remote interview in a library.

Interviewing a job candidate is a two-way street where both parties are learning about one another. An interviewer’s choice of environment and attire will impact a candidate’s early impressions of the company. When the interview is for media or business research purposes, the proper attire indicates respect and professionalism. If dressing down is part of a particular company’s culture, the interviewer may purposely choose to wear something casual but should not do so because of a lack of preparation. Additionally, ensuring a quiet setting away from distractions will allow the subject to feel their time is respected and that the interviewer is taking them seriously.

5: Consider Transcribing or Recording the Interview

Transcribing an interview call is an excellent alternative to taking notes. The interviewer is less likely to miss important information when they don’t have to struggle to write while they listen. Eye contact also shouldn’t be discounted and note-taking can take away from it. If the interview will serve marketing or research purposes, having a transcript is particularly useful for referencing later. The recording may also help interviewers improve their virtual interview skills with an ability to glance back on their style to see what worked well and what didn’t. Tools like Verbit’s AI transcription solution offer Zoom integration and real-time transcripts to help with these needs. 

6: Use the Video Feed to Connect

Learning how to conduct a video interview can be a challenge. While it might be tempting to look at a resume or other information on the screen, the video feed is there for a reason. Limiting the time one is looking elsewhere and staring into the camera can indicate that the interviewer is engaged and present. Creating a conversational environment and being willing to laugh or joke when appropriate can make the distance feel insignificant. 

7: Consider Accommodations 

Candidates who apply for a job, such as individuals with disabilities, may require accommodations to join the virtual interview effectively. Failing to offer accommodations might violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For example, Walmart is facing legal backlash after refusing to offer a sign language interpreter for a deaf job candidate during the hiring process. If an interviewee requires Zoom closed captioning, Verbit can offer a convenient solution. A simple accommodation might mean finding the right person for a job while protecting a company from legal liability and bad press. 

Expert virtual interview skills are valuable beyond the need to fill company vacancies. News outlets, talk shows, marketers and others now interview people across the globe for various purposes. Fortunately, the above tips can help interviewers and interviewees avoid stress and feel confident when engaging online. 

Verbit’s captioning, transcription and audio description technologies are helping forge business connections in the digital age. Contact us today for more information about how our AI-powered accessibility solutions can support interviews being conducted for companies, universities, the legal community and more.