Caroline Mameesh

Caroline Mameesh

CodeSubmit Team

Conducting the Perfect Remote Interview: 7 Tips for Success


Remote interviews and work are here to stay, with 75% of companies conducting fully remote interviews during the pandemic. However, what once worked for in-person interviews seldom translates to remote ones.

Here are the 7 most important tips you’ll need to conduct the perfect remote interview.

1. Think Through Your Hiring Process as a Whole

What worked in the days of in-person interviews may not translate over to the virtual world. Further, some of your hiring processes may need a revamp, regardless of whether they’re in-person or remote.

Now’s the time to think carefully about all hiring process steps rather than hitting copy and paste. Pay attention to the following:

  • Interview structure
  • Quantity of interviews
  • Who’s conducting interviews
  • Interview questions
  • How you’re shortlisting candidates
  • Whether or not you use take-home tests or assignments (and how those are graded)

After careful review, do any parts of your interview process need adjusting? In particular, you’ll want to consider remote assessment tools if you haven’t before (more on that in section 3).

2. Learn Remote Interview Conduct

Conducting remote interviews means different etiquette than their in-person counterparts. Candidate experience is critical for attracting and retaining top talent, so you want to ensure interviews are done professionally.

In particular, consider the following:

  • Dress professionally
  • Silence notifications on all devices
  • Remove clutter from your background
  • Consider a virtual background, but make it simple and non-distracting
  • Don’t even think about using your phone or doing other tasks on your laptop during the interview!
  • Make sure your lighting is appropriate
  • Test all technology ahead of time to minimize technical difficulties
  • Pause an additional few seconds after the candidate finishes speaking to avoid talking over one another. Social cues are more challenging to pick up on over video.

If you’ve done all of the above, your remote interviews should be as professional as in-person ones, leaving a positive impression on all candidates.

3. Get the Right Remote Interview Tools

You’ll need the right tools to make the remote interview process go smoothly. First up, find the best video software for your interviews. You can consider platforms such as:

  • Zoom
  • Google Meet
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Skype

You’ll want to ensure this software integrates with your ATS (if you have one) and works well on mobile devices. It’s prudent to test your video technology before deploying it and make sure it works well for your remote interviews.

Additionally, consider using online assessment tools to help qualify candidates. 82% of companies are currently using skill assessments, and for a good reason. These tools can:

  • Verify the candidate has the skills they mention in their application materials
  • Test culture fit
  • Minimize interview bias
  • Improve candidate experience (when done right)
  • Reduce turnover
  • Save money and time
  • ...among others

That said, using the wrong online assessment tools can damage candidate experience, which can be detrimental to your company and hiring process.

One glaring example of this is that many remote assessment softwares track candidates’ activities during assignments, including keystrokes and webcam footage. Not only is this a question of privacy, but candidates strongly dislike being monitored (understandably!). Neglecting to put your potential hire’s experience first can cause them to turn down your offer later.

Hiring developers? Read our comprehensive guide on how to use coding tests for developer interviews.

CodeSubmit makes candidate experience the top priority and will help you hire the best developers for your team. Add us to your remote interview tech stack today!

4. Over-Communication is Better Than the Opposite

A staggering 63% of candidates indicate they aren’t happy with employer communication during the hiring process, and 69% of candidates with a negative experience say they won’t apply to that company again. Remote hiring is not the time for radio silence.

Remote communication often leads to miscommunication; to best eliminate this, you’ll want to be transparent throughout the entire interview process.

Candidates who know the timeline and what to expect feel respected and taken care of, both of which are attributes that significantly increase their chances of accepting an offer.

Throughout the remote interview process, focus on communicating the following:

  • Total number of interviews and purpose for each
  • Interview time and date
  • Interview length
  • Who each interview is with (names and roles)
  • What tech platform you’re using
  • Whether or not it’s a video interview
  • Whether candidates should prepare anything beforehand
  • Remote interview tips
  • Timeline for the hiring process
  • Response time after interviews (i.e., you’ll hear from us within 3-5 business days)

Although this may seem excessive, communicating these details throughout the process will do wonders for your candidates and increase their satisfaction with you as a company.

remote interviews present new challenges
Body language is hard to read remotely, so be sure to look for and give positive social cues!

5. Listen Actively and Avoid Distractions

It’s far too easy to zone out of video calls. However tempting, doing so is disrespectful to the candidates and hurts your company image.

Ensure you’re rested before each interview, prepare remote interview questions beforehand, silence notifications, and find a quiet space for the call.

You’ll also want to maintain eye contact with the candidate and give them the same positive cues that you would in person, such as “mhms,” slight head nods, and an upright body position that faces them. You may want to be overly expressive with these body language cues, as they’re more challenging to pick up on via video chat.

6. Remember, Interviews are Two-Way Streets

When conducting remote interviews, it’s more challenging for you to assess the candidate, but the same is true for them. They won’t be seeing your office, meeting with people in person throughout the company, and will struggle to assess company culture.

You’ll need to give candidates the space to ask questions and have a real conversation with you throughout the remote interview. Doing so helps them assess if they’d be a good fit for your company; ultimately, it’s to your benefit that they can decide that for themselves.

7. Always Have a Plan B

Before I decided to be a fully self-employed SEO blogger, I was job hunting and conducting remote interviews. More than once, I’d get on the video call only for someone’s internet to fail and the call to freeze. Yikes! Luckily, the interviewers had my phone number, and we’d finish the call over the phone.

Technology is infamous for failing at precisely the wrong moments. Always have a plan B, whether that be an alternate form of communication or a way for the candidate to reschedule the interview promptly.

Time to Get Started!

Now that you’ve got the 7 best tips for conducting remote interviews, it’s time to get started. Treat this as a time to improve your hiring process, implement new technologies, and hire the best candidates from across the globe!