To keep up with the competition, you need every edge you can get when hiring the best and brightest engineers. That includes doing great with candidate interviews. However, in a time of virtual interviews, how do you properly assess if a person’s a good fit when they are not sitting in front of you?  

The good news is remote interviews can also be effective to help you in hiring engineers, as long as you have the right approach. Here’s a guide you can follow to ensure that you are on the right track. 

Remote Interview: A Step-by-Step Guide 

This step-by-step guide aims to help you get the most out of remote interviews. As you go through the candidate selection process, remember that the biggest prize for doing great interviews is turning your candidate picks into excellent hires. 

Step 1: Review Your Current Process 

You cannot improve what you cannot measure. So, take a step back, widen your perspective, and answer these questions first before you jump into executions:  

  • What is your current interview process like? 
  • How long does it take from start to finish?  
  • How many interviews do you run per week? 

Review these and other metrics relevant to see which parts can be streamlined. To be successful in hiring engineers, you need to view interviewing as a dedicated process. You must use it to gather as much information as needed to decide if a person is the right fit. Shifting from ad hoc interviews to structured ones can guarantee consistent and accurate results, leading you to make fast and reliable hiring decisions

Step 2: Equip Yourself with the Right Tools 

To ensure video and audio quality, it’s best to use a webcam (either built into your computer or connected via USB) and set up an external microphone. Having solid audio and video will help you establish trust with your candidates and make sure that they can understand you as well. 

You can also use video platforms to host interviews if there are no dedicated remote interviewing tools at your disposal. Here are five of the most commonly used software:  

However, it’s best to integrate your virtual interview software with the applicant tracking system (ATS) you use. Having remote interviewing software offers additional functionalities in hiring engineers efficiently, such as embedded evaluation forms and simple interview recording. You can also find a tool that can include whiteboarding while conducting interviews

Step 3: Let Your Candidate Know All Interview Details 

One of the most important things you need to do when scheduling an interview is to communicate all of your details, including who will be interviewing, what time and day it will happen, and where everyone is calling from.  

Make sure to relay other important information, such as the platform you’ll be using and what the candidate needs to prepare beforehand to connect to the platform. You may also share some interview tips with your candidate, so they’ll know what is expected of them. 

By removing all points that can cause confusion and surprises on both ends, you create a system that makes it easier for your candidate to be in top shape and for you to assess them wholly on their relevant skills.  

Step 4: Follow Remote Interviewing Etiquette 

In general, some baseline etiquette should be followed when doing an interview or interview preparations remotely. Just as in an in-person interview, these steps can help create a professional environment where you can get to know your candidates and see if they are right for your team.  

  • Leave no room for potential interruptions and distractions.  
  • Make sure that the space you are using is private and remains that way.  
  • Put your phone and computer in silent mode.  
  • Look professional even when you are working from home. 
  • Declutter your desk.  
  • Keep a neutral background. 
  • Have proper lighting to make sure you are clearly visible.
  • Leave sufficient pauses to minimize talking over each other.  
  • Have a test run beforehand by calling a teammate using the same setup you have prepared for the interview. 

Step 5: Be Focused and Engaged 

Video chats require harder concentration. It can be tempting to look through your phone, laptop, or daydream during a remote interview. However, you should keep your focus on the person you are interviewing.  

Stay interested and engaged with their ideas and questions. Take time to listen attentively and consider your body language. By being 100 percent present, communication becomes easier even when you are not in the same room.  

Step 6: Introduce Your Company Culture 

The interview is your chance to make an impression on candidates. Focus on how your company culture compares with other businesses in your field. Take the time to give out background introductions and core values. 

It’s also a good idea to let your candidate know your expectations and share best practices with them. Paint a picture for your interviewee. Will they enjoy working in your company? Will they be challenged and stimulated or bored out of their minds? Make sure potential hires have confidence that your company will be a good environment for them before you bring them on board

Step 7: Encourage Open Discourse 

When it comes to hiring engineers, making it a two-way conversation is key. Asking interviewees questions shows you are interested in them but that you also want them to feel involved with your business.  

Encouraging open discourse eases your candidates’ concerns about seeing themselves as actual employees in your company and how well they will fit in. This would also give you insights into whether or not they would be happy working with your company. 

Step 8: Keep Your Team in the Loop 

Your entire team must understand how to vet each candidate and contribute meaningfully during each phase of the process. While some team members will be more heavily involved than others, everyone needs to be on board with your hiring philosophy and know how they can contribute.  

Have a standard process on how to efficiently involve key players in your organization in remote interviews whenever necessary. Additionally, this gives your candidates the chance to meet the people they will potentially work with. Create a timeline or hiring schedule that is accessible to your team, so everyone is prepared to welcome new members or help out whenever possible

Step 9: Plan for Contingencies 

Having a contingency plan means you know what to do if you get stuck in an awkward situation or suddenly find yourself with no working internet connection. Put a system in place if you need to reschedule. Make sure you have your phone and your candidate’s contact number ready so that if a virtual interview fails, you can easily switch to a phone call. These things happen to everyone, so it is best to be prepared! 

Final Thoughts 

You are now ready to hire the best engineers from wherever you are. Technology has made it so easy to build connections without meeting face-to-face. Try applying these tips to your interview processes today and see how it transforms the way you are hiring engineers


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