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Hiring Best Practices

How to Create a Positive Remote Interview Experience

Written By Jannelle Sanchez | January 26, 2021


Multiple people on a video call on a laptop


This post was updated with current data by Brianna Hansen.

Thousands of tech hiring teams have halted their standard hiring processes in favor of remote interviewing, sourcing, and screening

When transitioning to an end-to-end virtual hiring process, there are a lot of new factors to account for—like the stability of the candidate’s internet connection and gauging a candidate’s interest face-to-face through signals like body language and eye contact—that are out of your control.

But there’s good news! There are some actionable remote interview tips to help hiring managers and technical recruiters cultivate a positive remote interviewing candidate experience.

If you have aggressive hiring goals this quarter, don’t let the switch to remote work hinder your hiring efforts. Follow these 4 steps to stay on track and deliver a candidate-first remote interviewing process. 

4 Steps to Delivering a Candidate-First Remote Interview Experience

1. Master basic technical interviewing best practices

With today’s competitive tech talent market, one mishap or error during the interview process is enough to turn off interested candidates. While conducting remote job interviews, it’s crucial that you master the basic technical interviewing best practices to attract the interest of the right developers.

Before phone or video interviews, use a skills assessment.

Especially for high volume roles, a skills assessment tool helps weed out any candidates that are uninterested or don’t meet your hiring team’s skill requirements. 

Requiring candidates to take a code assessment at the first stage of your remote interview process cuts down the number of applicants for high-volume roles and help you quickly identify which applicants should move on to the video conferencing stage. 

HackerRank allows organizations to screen high volumes of candidates efficiently with challenges tailored to the skills required for the job. In fact, TrueAccord saved recruiting and engineering hours and reduced their on sites by 50% when they used HackerRank.   

Position yourself as the candidate’s go-to contact.

When remote interviewing, you won’t have the opportunity to create an in-person connection. 

So it’s crucial that you stay connected and communicative to the candidate throughout the entire interview process.

To keep your candidates in the loop and your role top of mind, reach out to them at every stage of the evaluation process. Simple gestures like sharing some online interview preparation tips, hopping on quick phone calls, or scheduling regular updates will create a stronger bond between you and your candidates. 

Prioritizing constant communication with your candidates will make them feel valued, and will leave a positive lasting impression.

Create a distraction-free remote interview environment.

When conducting a remote interview, remove all opportunities for interruptions. 

To prevent wifi mishaps, purchase an ethernet cord, and use a hardwired internet connection during your interviews. To prevent other online interview interruptions, try muting notifications from apps like Slack and Gmail.

If roommates or family members are home during your working hours, communicate the time of your interview so they’ll know when you need a quiet, noise-free environment. 

Even though you can’t control your candidate’s interview environment, it’s a good idea to send them an email that advises them to take the interview in a distraction-free environment with a stable internet connection.

2. Introduce your culture with branded content

Inviting your candidate onsite to meet future co-workers in person is a crucial step in the interview process. 

When remote interviewing, your interviewees will be able to meet the hiring managers and potential teammates during video interviews, but they won’t have that in-person meet and greet experience. To give your candidates a more personalized introduction to your company’s culture and values, send them branded content.

Branded packages that have a mix of evergreen talent branding content are great resources recruiters can use to quickly showcase the company’s culture, values, and mission. Here are some assets you should keep on hand:

  • Company articles (e.g. major company announcements or meaningful press coverage)
  • Employee profiles that highlight members from the team you’re hiring for
  • A list of the hiring manager’s candidate team expectations
  • Videos, photos, or quotes of employees from your latest talent branding campaigns

3. Communicate the workflow at the beginning of the process

No one likes to show up unprepared and agreeing to a totally remote interview is new territory for a lot of candidates. 

Now is the time to ramp up your communication and inform candidates what they should expect at every stage of the interview process. 

Map out how many rounds of interviews the candidate will go through, which skills assessment platform you’ll be using, and send them a copy of your company’s mission and values. 

If you’re using HackerRank to assess candidates, you can also send them interview prep materials like this HackerRank Interview Prep Kit.

And again: don’t be afraid of over-communicating. Lagging on communication is a common mistake companies make which can result in a negative candidate experience. 

Stand out from your competition by staying in contact with your candidates from your first phone screen throughout the end of their onboarding process.

4. Use a tool that is easy for candidates and employees to navigate

In remote technical interviews, candidates don’t have the option to map out their work on a whiteboard in front of the hiring manager. 

Virtual whiteboard tools allow interviewers to conduct pair programming technical interviews with build-in video calling, which creates a collaborative coding environment where hiring teams can assess a candidate’s coding skills from afar.

With pair programming tools, hiring teams can watch candidates build on code from pre-screen challenges in real-time, or run and test code together, all in a single session. It enables hiring managers to see a candidate’s problem solving and communication skills in real time—a practical alternative to onsite interviews. 

Another concern with remote interviews is inconsistent and (often awkward) video interview transitions. When you have multiple people conducting an interview with a single candidate, ill-timed handoffs can look sloppy and distracting.

Tools that offer virtual lobbies for the candidate to wait in before or in between interviews make a great first impression and create a seamless transition from interview to interview. 

Candidate lobby welcome screenshot

Being remote isn’t an excuse for a poor interview experience

Like remote work, remote hiring is a new landscape that all companies are struggling to navigate. However, don’t blame the remote environment when you have an opportunity to improve the interview experience. 

Having the right tools will equip your hiring team to create the best possible online interview experience, so you can make a lasting impression on your top candidates. 

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