Whether or not your organization is hiring for a remote position, there’s still a good chance that your recruitment process will take place remotely.

As many as 86% of businesses are currently holding their professional interviews via video calls or telephone. But how do you, as a recruiter, make sure you’re still getting 100% out of your time spent with candidates?

In today’s article, we’ll explore just that. You’ll learn how to hold an interview to carefully and fairly evaluate candidates without being able to do so face-to-face, with just 3 easy tips!

1. Prepare as much as possible

You’ll almost certainly be hosting multiple interviews. There’s no reason to start from scratch each time!

Proper planning is the most important first step to successful interviewing, and remote interviews are no different. And here are the most important steps to proper planning:

  • Test your technology. If the platform doesn’t work for you, it won’t work for your candidates either. Double check you have access at least 10 minutes beforehand, and familiarize yourself with the tools of your chosen platform. You should also send instructions on how to test and use the platform to candidates in advance.
  • Check your links! If you are hosting multiple interviews, make sure you send each person their own individual link (and keep these organized in a spreadsheet for easy reference). If you are providing the same link to all candidates, then make sure you enable the waiting room feature to keep your conversations private and uninterrupted.
  • Set an agenda. Let everyone who will be on the call know who else will be in attendance. Make a list for you and your team of the itinerary and the pertinent talking points. Share an overview with candidates as well — they’ll appreciate knowing what they’re walking into.
  • Go over the job description. Everyone on the call should be well aware of the essential job details, such as title, reporting structure, employee responsibilities and anything else you’ve made public.
  • Review their resume. Give yourself a refresher before meeting with your candidate. You can also make note of any items you want to discuss, or clarifying questions you intend to ask about what they’ve submitted. Share a copy with any other interviewers so they can do the same.
  • Prepare your questionnaire. It’s important that you keep to the same set of questions from interview to interview, and that all interview panelists know who will be asking them.
  • Prepare to provide next steps. At the end of each interview, you should set expectations with your candidate. Have your timelines and contact policies ready before you meet.

Pro Tip: Even though you’re making a plan and sticking to it, allow for more open-ended discussions, such as small talk at the beginning and end of the interview. 

2. Stay focused on what matters most

The downside of phone and video interviews is that they still don’t allow for as much informal interaction with your candidate; things like mannerisms, body language — even personal hygiene — are harder to get a clear understanding of without meeting person-to-person.

This puts a lot of pressure on the formal aspects of the interview, such as their prior qualifications and the answers they provide to your questions. But instead of simply accepting that you can’t get a clearer picture of them overall, you need to focus more on the aspects you can control. This way you’ll still have a crystal clear idea of who they are as a candidate.

Some ways to insure you stay focused are:

  • Sharing a detailed schedule with all participants (including the candidate). This will help everyone stay on track, and let them use their allotted time more wisely. Make sure to assign times for breaks during long meetings.
  • If other panelists will be contributing questions, make sure they prepare in advance. Sometimes certain interviewers will have more expertise in a certain topic, or wish to discuss specific skills with the candidate. Simply ask them to prepare their questions ahead of time (perhaps by having them send them to you pre-interview).
  • Ask directly about soft skills. Use questions specifically designed to glean a better understanding of soft skills. This will require you to branch out a bit from the standard questions pertaining to the job description.
  • Avoid distractions. Make sure the space or spaces that you and your team are interviewing from are free of noise, clutter, other people, and anything that might distract from the conversation. Good lighting is also important for making sure you and your reactions are as clear to the other participants as possible.

Pro Tip: Mute your other devices and notifications during the call, and consider muting yourself when listening to others speak.

3. Oversharing is caring

We lose out on so many subtle cues when interacting remotely. This can cause a lot of miscommunication when things are made perfectly clear.

To avoid any misunderstandings, and to put your candidate at ease, it is perfectly fine to over-communicate about everything they need to know.

Send them information in advance, and review it again during the meeting just to be safe, such as:

  • Timelines for the recruitment process
  • Possible delays in hiring
  • Names and roles of all parties involved
  • Contact information in case of rescheduling issues
  • A copy of the job description

We’re not saying that you won’t be able to pick up on any social cues from your candidate. Things like eye contact and the tempo of their voice can still be communicated during your remote interview. But be sure to clarify any information or statements which could be seen as ambiguous.

If you want to attract the right candidates, the last thing you want is for them to take you the wrong way.


Many people think that remote interviews aren’t even remotely close to traditional in-person ones. But with these skills tucked safely into your toolkit, you’ll be ready for any remote interviews that come your way!