It isn’t surprising to see many firms thinking of remote as a long term solution rather than just an ongoing ‘work from home’ template. A state of Remote work report 2019 by Buffer, states that 95 percent of workers encourage others to work remotely- a clear indication of the paradigm shift towards remote work after pandemic subsides. If filtering candidate applications is one of the biggest challenges of remote hiring, interviewing is surely another.

The current scenario is actually an opportunity for you to define processes, identify the loose ends in the framework and bolster them for a more skilled, productive remote workforce. A typical hiring process for remote looks like

– Sourcing candidates from job boards, LinkedIn, etc.
– Filtering candidates based on profile
– Screening candidates with a technical assessment
– Remote Interviews
– Onboarding final candidates

Let’s dive in to know in detail about interviewing candidates remotely

Types of Remote Interviews

  1. On-demand Interviews
  2. Live Interviews
  3. Informal e-Meets

a) On-demand interviews

Basically, an on-demand interview is a type of remote interview where the candidate is supposed to record the answers to the preset questions recorded by the interviewer. After submission of the answers, the hiring team can give their feedback and rating for the same. This has its advantages and drawbacks too

– Saves a great deal of manual work compared to the traditional interview process
– Huge time saving for both recruiter and the candidate
– It offers flexibility to the candidates to record answers as per their convenience.
– Recruiters can later evaluate candidates at a stretch by going through answers against the fixed questions
– Avoids multiple meetings & follow-ups with the candidate to get a time slot hence boosts productivity

Coming to the drawbacks

– The struggle to speak to a camera than a live person is real and some candidates find it uncomfortable
– The recruiters also lose out on building that connection with candidates early on
– Leaves no scope to promote your company like in a free-flowing conversation

b) Live interviews

This is a more pronounced version of on-demand interviews. The candidates face their recruiters in real-time thus comfortably replacing old ways of in-person interviews. From a technical perspective, there is a greater advantage w.r.t to Live interviews. The hiring panel gets to assess the competency levels of the candidates against the job requirements to find the right fit.

Implementing pair programming tools allows you to effectively assess the developer’s skills during the interview. There is always the scope to add-in important team members alongside the tech lead for a thorough assessment of the candidate

Tip: Before the actual schedule of a live interview, you can prep candidates with best practices of interviewing for a better experience through helpful resources.

c) Informal e-Meets

This is a type of online interview that is purely optional and can be held as a next stage after the live technical interview. In this, the candidates can interact one-on-one with any of the team members. Sometimes you have to connect with the candidates on a personal level which allows them to open up about any questions bubbling in their minds. It is important to convey candidates beforehand that this isn’t a part of further assessment.

Please note the main purpose of this is to keep the conversations informal

Conduct Remote Interviews better

Truth be told, conducting remote interviews isn’t tantamount to face-to-face interviews. However, the right method and consistency can bring about transparency and credibility in the process

1. Choose the right Tech

It is often the quick fix to resort to the video conferencing tools available to conduct live video interviews for candidates who reached further in the process. However, the video conferencing tools/services in the market such as Skype, Hangouts Meet, Zoom have limited scope.

Thus, choosing a more sophisticated video interview platform built for conducting tech interviews helps big time.

The associated benefits of a dedicated tech interview platform are many

  • The interview sessions can be recorded and saved within the platform for the team to access later or share with concerned members in the team for better decision making.
  • It is very easy to integrate with third-party Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to manage data pertaining to the candidate in one place.
  • Ability to scale as per the requirement
  • Live coding interface to test a candidate’s approach to problem-solving in real-time
  • Comes attached with Question library for easy interviewing

2. Don’t turn a blind eye on soft skills required to be successful in a remote team

In the rush to assess a candidate’s competency and skill levels, soft skills are often given the least priority. But when it comes to remote work, soft skills are equally important. Getting on a conversation about the candidate’s previous work experiences, projects and the way he/she puts across the experience gives a good idea of soft skills.

Similarly, their inclination to learn & thrive under pressure, self-motivation, culture fit can be assessed to make an informed decision.

“Companies need to clearly set expectations throughout the hiring process; be upfront about what remote working is and what it’s not. I also recommend to assess EQ (emotional intelligence) in the hiring process; such as self-awareness, coping mechanisms, and intrapersonal relationships. This is an area I specialize in with my clients because it’s fundamental in a remote environment.

– Shauna Moran
Founder, Operate Remote

3. Asking the right questions

You have to familiarize yourself with the experience, tools, and technologies used by the candidate through thoughtful questions in the interview. Keeping it in a structured manner has its advantages when it comes to hiring. Top companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon have a structured interview process in interviewing the applicants.

The structured interview helps you to evaluate each candidate on the basis of the defined parameters hence having no room for bias. It is better to have a list of questions ready beforehand to apply this method.

4. Provide honest feedback

Many employers miss this aspect of the entire hiring process. Giving proper feedback to the candidates irrespective of their selection status goes a long way in building a brand image. Candidates will have a positive outlook about you as an employer despite getting rejected.

The Employer branding gets a big boost and you will have set the chain for more referrals towards your company with this small practice.

Tips for a successful remote interview:

  • Always consider the candidate’s location and time zone before scheduling the interview
  • Dedicated video interviewing platforms help you scale better
  • Always make sure your surroundings are neat & quiet if not joining the interview from office
  • Prep your tech (software, hardware, network) before the interview
  • Strive to look at the camera and speak always to have eye contact rather than the monitor screen to make the candidate feel there is eye contact.


Remote work has stamped its authority as the Future of Work and research has shown it boosts the productivity and happiness index of the employees. As more companies try to explore the deep waters of Remote work, it gets important to establish standard processes in everything from work management to hiring.

What works for one company may not necessarily work for another. It is important to fine-tune things and identify ways to simplify things. A standard process shall serve as a template for consistently determining the right fit for your firm.


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