How to Vet a Remote Candidate’s Experience Through an Online Interview

by / ⠀Startup Advice / May 24, 2021
How to Vet a Remote Candidate’s Experience Through an Online Interview

Unique hiring methods, especially by means of online interviews, have always been a fascinating subject in the business recruitment world. For instance, Elon Musk loves to ask candidates how they’ve overcome some of the most difficult problems that they’ve ever worked on. The business mogul poses the question early in the interview, using it to set the stage to see if a candidate is telling the truth.

Of course, Musk isn’t alone. Every manager has their personal tricks and tactics that they love to trot out with each interview. The challenge is bringing these unique hiring tactics to the virtual workspace. 

With that said, here are a few of the ways that companies are teasing the experience out of potential employees even with a lack of face-to-face discussions.

1. Find Quality Virtual Interview Tools

Each interview is different, from the questions asked to the setting, tone, and the activities that take place. This is even more true when you consider the recruitment process for different industries.

In some cases, all you need to do is sit down with a candidate and ask the right questions. This translates easily enough to a computer screen (although you’ll still want to consider the other suggestions below).

In other scenarios, though, specific activities need to take place. When that happens, you want to find tools that will allow you to analyze a recruit’s capabilities.

One good example of this type of online interview is code interviews. Virtual code interviews can be difficult, as the in-person equivalent often involves writing code right there on the spot. Interviewers coordinate the event and engineers execute the interview itself. When this happens online, the spontaneity of the coding can become challenging.

However, Coderbyte has come up with an effective solution. The company created a series of interview templates that predefine various coding challenges. Once an interviewee has written code for certain roles, test cases can be run in real-time.

The need to find effective tools is imperative to virtual interview success. This starts with a quality interviewing platform. However, if there is any aspect of your interview process that is more nuanced, as is the case with coding, you also want to find an effective solution that will help you gauge a candidate’s abilities.

2. Empower Candidates

A remote candidate participating in an online interview often operates at a disadvantage. Not only are they undergoing an often-grueling vetting process, but they’re doing so using a smorgasbord of technological equipment. This includes things like:

  • Navigating new pieces of recruitment software;
  • Connecting various pieces of hardware, from a computer to a headset, microphone, and so on;
  • Making sure their internet connection is stable;
  • Setting up in a controlled and undisturbed environment.

Recruits face these various challenges in addition to the fact that they’re conducting an interview. In other words, along with these logistical factors, they also need to think about the interview itself. They need to recall elements of the job application, research about the employer and their industry, and of course, their own training and experience.

One way that employers can bring out the best in each candidate is by empowering them beforehand. With so many hoops that candidates have to jump through, recruiters should do their best to help them along the way. 

How HR Teams Can Help

For instance, Sutherland Global experienced a severe candidate drop-out rate during their recruitment process due to a lack of information. The HR team responded by creating a chatbot that was designed to enable candidates throughout the hiring process. 

PwC also enhanced its virtual recruitment strategy by utilizing technology to streamline the online interview scheduling process. Johnson&Johnson followed suit by developing an application tracking platform for recruits.

As a small company, it’s understandable that you won’t be able to develop your own platform. Luckily, there are many recruitment and onboarding software options available for small businesses to use.

Activities like these remove the complexity of the remote hiring process. They help a candidate cut through the clutter and focus on the interview process itself. This accomplishes multiple things.

First, it allows a candidate to feel comfortable and confident when it comes time for them to address job-related interview questions. They won’t spend time fumbling with an ethernet cable or thinking about the echo in their earphones.

In addition, it can create an early sense of camaraderie and establish an initial mutual connection between an employer and a potential candidate. Once created, the connection can translate into the job itself when a candidate is selected. This can encourage and empower incoming candidates as they begin the onboarding process. It also creates a sense of loyalty and acceptance for their new company right from the start.

3. Maximize Video Chats

Once initial communication, scheduling, and screenings are complete, then comes the interview itself. Remote interviews take place via video chat more often than not. This provides an additional level of connection beyond a simple phone call. 

Even so, a plain video chat can be restricting. It can leave a certain sense of disconnect and awkwardness that can stifle a candidate’s ability to put their best foot forward.

If a company wants to bring their remote candidate’s experience to the forefront, they should use their video time wisely. Don’t limit yourself to asking job-related questions and receiving answers. Find ways to bring out different aspects of a candidate. 

Integrating Personalization

For example, at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, GroupM tailored its remote recruitment process. At the time, the firm already used an artificial intelligence-driven video interview tool. Realizing the complexity of a work-from-home environment, the company adjusted its tool to take an approach that was “more empathetic and more contextually aware.”

Additionally, the business integrated a new aspect of its interviews called a “handshake.” This focused on who a candidate actually was as an individual and who they could become, rather than solely focusing on past accomplishments.

This personalization of the experience is key. It involves discovering critical human metrics such as learning new skills and gaining valuable experience, rather than only going off of past work. This creates a sense of comfort and investment that can be conducive to seeing what a candidate brings to the table.

Concluding Thoughts

Virtual recruitment is a new science, and it is one that is still very much so in development. As such, it’s important that companies own their own digital hiring and online interview processes. 

They must make sure that their recruitment strategy is unique to themselves, even if it’s done online. If an enterprise can create an interview process that sets them apart, they can use it to coax the right information out of each recruit and make sure that each remote candidate’s experience truly stands out.

About The Author

Kimberly Zhang

Editor in Chief of Under30CEO. I have a passion for helping educate the next generation of leaders.