Remote Interviews: The Do’s and Don’ts for Hiring Managers

In today’s technology-laden firm, there can be a tendency to assume that less effort and thought is required when mobile technology is used to facilitate key tasks. But when mobile videoconferencing is being used to interview candidates face-to-face, the same considerations must be given to remote interviews as in-person interviews—and more!

Preparing for a Remote Interview
Hiring managers often overlook how their own tech competency can speak volumes about their firm’s commitment to training, technology and industry leadership. One way you can help ensure that you best represent your firm is to conduct a trial run of your mobile video conferencing technology before an interview.  You want to ensure that the technology is working properly on your computer as well as learn how the tools within the platform work. 

As part of this trial run, test your webcam to ensure that it is working and properly positioned. Your webcam should be placed in the center of the top rim of your computer and the computer positioned far enough back that so you can be seen from the chest up. Closeups should avoided. Also check the lighting. Your face should be fully and evenly lit, with light coming from the front to avoid stark shadows and effects. You’ll want to test the audio as well. While the microphone and speaker on your computer may be used, a good headset is recommended—as is having a cell or landline phone immediately accessible. Avoid earbuds and be sure you know how to switch to phone audio should you experience bandwidth issues like dropouts or severe video lag. If using Wi Fi to connect, test the connection to be sure that you have proper bandwidth. A hardwired connection is preferred. Having an ethernet cable handy can prevent you from having to reschedule due to connectivity issues.

The background for your remote deposition provides a branding opportunity for your firm. Hiring managers should consider using a background screen with their firm’s logo on a neutral color. When a screen is not used, be sure that your office is free of clutter and distracting objects.

A key technical point to keep in mind and share with candidates is that the remote interview should be joined from a MAC, PC or laptop using the full application—not the mobile app or browser version. While mobile videoconferencing is designed to work on mobile devices like an iPad, tablet and even a cell phone, mobile devices or use of the mobile app version curtails the platform’s full functionality, including access to files sent through the chat.

During your trial run, take time to familiarize yourself with the features and capabilities of the remote interview technology. Hiring managers should know how to send and share files within the remote interview technology as well as how to highlight information on screen. You should be prepared to walk a candidate through joining you online when needed.

A final key point to consider is that in-person interviews enable candidates to “experience” your firm firsthand—and important opportunity that’s lost with remote interviews. To give candidates a sense of your firm’s core values and culture, prepare a few introductory slides that both summarize and augment what the candidate can learn about your firm from their own online research. Include information that highlights your firm and it’s hiring process as well as how the position contributes to the firm. Just as with in-person interviews, have the job description ready to share on screen and related talking points handy. It’s also good to have a list of candidate questions within eyesight.

Finally, plan to join 10 minutes early, fully and appropriately dressed.

Before Joining the Remote Interview
If you’ve properly prepared, being able to jump right into the interview should easy. But before joining, you’ll still need to:

  • Clear your desktop screen of any files that you do not want to be made visible;
  • Turn off any notifications or alerts on your computer, including chat messages and ring tones;
  • Close out of any applications, folders and/or files that you will not be using;
  • Open on your computer any files that you may want to share
  • Have a glass of water within reach;
  • Ensure that your face is fully and evenly lit;
  • Frame your webcam correctly so you can be seen from the chest up;
  • Remove any distractions to make your environment as interruption-free as possible;
  • Put away all other devices; and
  • If joining by phone, follow the dial-in instructions that display within the application. Using the phone number provided in the invite results in separate phone icon display.

During the Interview
Remember that the same rules apply as in-person interviews—and more! Here’s Lex Recruiting Group’s Experts List of pointers to remember:

  • If there’s any challenges with audio, switch from your computer audio to your phone;
  • Keep your eyes on screen–avoid looking down to check text messages;
  • Share your screen or use whiteboards to fully engage the candidate;
  • Avoid extreme facial gestures;
  • Go off screen to cough;
  • Avoid interrupting the candidate;
  • Stay focused; and
  • Avoid clicking around in the videoconferencing platform

After the Interview
As with any meeting, timely follow up is key. Hiring managers naturally focus on the candidate they have chosen to hire, not realizing how important it can be to quickly inform all your candidates of the decision made. A simple, timely thank you email can save you from having to field uncomfortable calls or emails. They also go a long way in maintaining a positive perception of your firm at a time when candidates can anonymously post information about your hiring practices on popular apps like Glassdoor.