When you’re interviewing an applicant for a position in your company, you’re not just looking to see if they can perform their job duties - that’s the bare minimum.
You’re also seeing if they will fit into your company culture.
If they’ll “gel” with your other employees.
And if they’re motivated enough to work without much supervision.
These personality traits along with other soft skills are usually discovered through rounds of in-person, face-to-face interviews.
Can you replicate this process when hiring remotely?
It’s not quite the same, but you can still fill needed positions with talented people even if you only meet them through your computer screen. You just need to know how to run effective remote meetings.
And we know many hiring managers right now are wondering how to make good hiring decisions with remote interviewing. You’re probably feeling less-than-confident in tackling this process.
That’s why we created this guide to remote hiring without in-person interviews to give you concrete tips for hiring employees without face-to-face interaction.
Let’s jump in.
8 Tips for Hiring Without In-Person Interviews
There are many remote hiring practices you can apply for choosing the right employees to join your team. Below we list some of our favorites. It’s not exhaustive, but it will set you up to perform better interviews and hire employees who are well-suited for the job.
1. Set Clear Expectations for the Job Candidate
You want to have the best interview possible.
So does the job candidate.
One of the keys to making remote interviews work is setting clear expectations for the interviewee.
You both should know who’s going to call the other person to begin the meeting, and what software you’ll be using to conduct the interview.
They should know if this is going to be a video call or audio-only (we highly recommend video calls for reasons we’ll discuss later in this post).
You should tell the candidate who all will be present on the call - names and titles - and whether they’ll be interviewing the candidate or just viewing.
Communicating these details (and any more) will ensure the candidate is as prepared as possible before firing up their laptop and answering your first question. This is important because you’re giving job candidates the opportunity to showcase the best of themselves - the best version of the employee to evaluate when considering hiring them.
2. Prepare Interview Questions (While Remaining Spontaneous)
You know you need to prepare interview questions. In fact, you may have conducted so many interviews you feel like you have all the questions in your head ready to go.
But don’t think that your experience lets you off the hook from doing your due diligence.
Writing out your questions, even if you know them by heart, will still help keep you organized and prevent you from going blank in the middle of the interview (which happens to us all) and ensure you cover all your bases.
If you’re not used to hiring remote workers, preparing your questions beforehand is even more important. You should have the standard interview questions you would normally use for in-person interviews, but add questions related to the candidate’s ability to work from home.
But you also want the conversation to flow - to feel natural and relaxed.
Having questions prepared gives you the space to be spontaneous and ask insightful questions based on in-the-moment answers.
3. Use a Structured Interview Process
This goes hand-in-hand with writing down all of your interview questions.
A structured interview process allows you to evaluate each remote candidate based on a set criteria that will make the evaluation stage of hiring much easier.
For example, you can ask the same questions of each candidate and examine their answers to objectively determine who should be offered the position.
A structured interview process allows you to delegate the interviewing to multiple different members of your team. A set process means each interviewer will provide almost the same experience as any other interviewer, which could speed up hiring procedures.
4. Identify the Characteristics You Want in a Remote Employee
There are certain characteristics that remote employees must have in order to do their jobs well without having an office, coworkers, and an ever-present manager - 3 environmental aspects many businesses rely on to maximize productivity.
Not everyone can work well at home - they become trapped in cycles of procrastination, distraction, and apathy.
But many employees can work from home. Some even thrive in their own abode.
Identifying job candidates who will be a good fit for your remote position requires you to identify specific character traits that most great remote workers share.
They should be self-motivating, staying on task and getting their work completed on time without being prodded or told to.
They must have very strong communication skills and be able to use any medium to communicate: phone, email, video chat, and other communication software your team uses.
You might also look for candidates who have worked remotely before. This is a strong indication they’ll have what it takes to work remotely for you.
5. Foster a Personal Connection
A large part of hiring a new employee, even a remote one, is determining if their personality and communication style fits with your company culture and if they will mesh well with other employees.
One way to discover this is by fostering a personal connection with them during the interview. Use the beginning of the interview - or make time before the official interview begins - to break the ice and find common ground before you start grilling them.
Body language plays a huge role in connecting with people, especially during interviews, but you don’t have that luxury when hiring remotely. That’s why we stress having at least one video interview so you can see the job candidate’s facial expressions and still attempt to make “eye contact” with each other.
6. Interview Candidates with a Team
One-on-one interviews work perfectly fine for many positions, but oftentimes, companies prefer to have more than one interviewer in the room, especially in the last round or two of the interviewing process before you and your team confer on who you’re going to hire.
Different hiring managers bring their own unique skills to the table and usually make for a more productive interview.
One interviewer may be able to better connect with the interviewee and help them relax. Another may focus their questions more on soft skills. And the last may drill into the job requirements and probe the interviewee to see if they’re prepared to work remotely.
One interviewer may certainly be able to handle all of this on their own, but it can help to delegate some of the questions to others.
Plus, you get to see how the interviewee handles different types of questions from different types of people. After all, they’ll be expected to communicate with a variety of personalities in different departments and should be able to handle themselves when speaking with anyone about their job.
7. Choose the Proper Environment o Conducting Interviews
Interviewing remotely means you are in charge of the environment you get to interview within. Choose it wisely.
The last thing you want is an espresso machine bursting with steam while a barista yells out a customer’s name for the fourth time and you’re still trying to say “hello” over all the noise.
Choose a quiet, relaxed environment with minimal distractions. For many people, their own home fits the bill.
But if you have young kids, spunky pets, roommates, or the like, then you’ll have to make certain arrangements to ensure no one comes knocking or barging into your “interview room” while the interview is still in process.
Make sure everyone around you knows that you’re interviewing someone and you can’t be disturbed well before the interview begins.
8. Prepare the Right Remote Hiring Technology
Before the interview begins, maybe even before the day of the interview, you should choose the tech you’ll be using to conduct the interview.
The #1 tool you’ll need is video conferencing software. What you’re looking for is ease of use and simplicity of setup, both for you and the interviewee.
The gold standard right now is Zoom. It’s the biggest name in the industry, offers very high-quality calls, and allows you to host many people on a single call. So if you want to bring in multiple interviewers, they can all join the call remotely with you and the interviewee.
Google Hangouts is another excellent video conferencing software that lets you host multiple people.
A Remote Communication Tool To Use After Hiring Without In-Person Interviews
After the interview (and hopefully after a successful hire) you will continue communicating with remote employees.
But you won’t often need to hold live meetings.
You’ll be tasked more with giving feedback on projects, giving direction on tasks, and explaining how to perform jobs.
For these tasks, you need a visual communication tool that lets you create these messages quickly and easily.
That’s why we created CloudApp.
It lets you annotate screenshots to offer comments and criticism.
Create GIFs to show a walkthrough of an assignment.
And record a video (of your screen or yourself) to share with direction or a message for your team or specific team members.
CloudApp has been ranked by G2 Crowd as one of the top sales enablement tools and we continue to help companies improve communication with one of the easiest-to-use visual content tools available.