Remote job interviews were already on the rise before COVID-19. But, once the pandemic hit, they went from being convenient to “the norm.” There are many benefits to remote interviews as they allow you to interview candidates from all over the world, and they can streamline the scheduling process.
But, there’s nothing quite like face-to-face interactions. When you’re taking charge of a remote interview, they can sometimes feel less than personal. Obviously, both you and your interviewee should put your best foot forward. But, that doesn’t mean you have to limit your sense of personality.
In fact, doing so can make your interviewee feel uncomfortable, and it can make the entire process seem too stiff. If that’s the impression they get about your work environment, they may lose interest.
So, how can you enjoy the benefits and conveniences of remote interviewing while making things more personal?
Maybe you work remotely yourself. Or, maybe you’re sitting in an office when you’re taking care of remote interviews. No matter where you are, you can make your candidates feel more comfortable by minimizing distractions.
Your interview space should look professional, clean, calm, and free from clutter. When there are distractions in the background or anywhere on your screen, your candidates might lose their focus or feel overwhelmed.
That said, don’t worry about making things too intimidating. Your environment should be comfortable for both you and your interviewee. You can set up a professional background by:
- Using neutral colors
- Utilizing decorative accents
- Investing in good lighting
- Avoiding reflective surfaces
Your interview surroundings showcase your personality the same way what you’re wearing does. Think of your environment as a first impression for your candidates. If it seems cold, cluttered, or uninviting, they’re more likely to feel tense and uncomfortable as they answer your questions.
Even if you’re in an office setting, try to include one or two personal items in your environment that can spark conversation. For the most part, however, the focus of whatever surrounds you should be your business. That will keep your candidate honed in on what they’re applying for without intimidating them.
Showcase Your Company Culture
Speaking of focusing on your business, it’s important to keep in mind that the interview process is such a small portion of onboarding when you consider everything else that needs to be done. So, use it as an opportunity to share your company culture.
If you’ve interviewed a few candidates and you’re considering them, send them an onboarding kit to give them a better idea of what your business is about. It can include things like:
- A t-shirt with your company logo
- A water bottle
- A tote bag
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During the interview itself, take your candidate on a virtual tour of the company. You can either send them photos or actually get moving with your phone or tablet to show them around. Be as transparent as possible about what your company culture looks like. Candidates will want to know how your company culture feels both in-person and remotely. How do you take care of your employees? How are the attitudes within the business? Where are people growing and shifting roles?
Company culture is about more than just the work everyone is doing every day. It sets a tone for many prospective employees who aren’t willing to work in a place with a toxic culture.
You can boast about your company culture even more by sharing information about yourself and your personality during the interview. After all, you’re a piece of the puzzle within your business, so use your remote interview as a chance to make a bigger first impression.
What does that mean?
It’s not uncommon for the most successful interviewees to rehearse what they’re going to say, both for in-person and remote interviews. You should be doing some of that, too, especially if you have several interviews in a row. Being prepared is a great way to feel more comfortable, as long as you’re not “over-rehearsed” and reading from a script.
When you feel prepared, you’re more likely to be yourself and let your personality shine through. Remember, you’re representing your company. As long as you’re interviewing people, you’re the sole face of the company for them until they meet someone new. So, keep the following tips in mind to let your personality show:
- Use appropriate/comfortable body language
- Ask questions
- Spark conversations
- Be enthusiastic
- Talk about the interview process before you start
Although video conferences and remote screening have become more normal than ever, that doesn’t mean the “humanness” should be taken away. By making your remote interview process more empathetic and human, your interviewees will be more comfortable. That benefits your business by letting you see who they really are, rather than only discovering what you can read from a resume.
Keep these ideas in mind as you continue to run remote interviews, and you’ll build yourself as a brand that values personal human qualities, even in a highly remote and digital world.
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About the Author
Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of topics but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to business productivity and marketing strategies. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter.