As the world of virtual work has evolved, so too have the means by which employers conduct remote job interviews. Companies that are seasoned employers of remote workers have tested a variety of creative ways to interview candidates remotely and to narrow in on the best person for the job.
When conducting interviews for remote jobs, some employers say it’s imperative to have both a visual platform for vetting candidates, as well as a process for evaluating a prospective employee’s writing aptitude and facilities. Opportunities to visually check out a would-be employee are varied in remote job interviews but, some employers said, it’s a good bet to rely on well-established video conferencing platforms and technology-based on-camera methods that get hiring managers and job candidates face-to-face, in real time.
Some recruiters emphasized that their methods for conducting remote job interviews and managing remote employees depend on the function of the job they’re looking to fill. For example, for positions where writing and communication skills are key, hiring managers said they rely on written formats like Q&A tests, text-based conversations, written exercises, and email. Longer written exchanges provide a valuable means for determining a job candidate’s ease with technology, and their ability to convey complex ideas in a format more complex and involved than conventional (i.e., shorthand) texting. In other words, can the candidate communicate in complete sentences?
Here are four ways employers conduct remote job interviews.
1. Multiple Platforms in a Single Interview
Employers with lots of experience in hiring virtual workers frequently cite use of platforms like Skype, Google Hangouts, Hackpad, and PiratePad to conduct real-time remote job interviews with candidates, using video and content-sharing technology.
2. Detailed Written Q&A Exchanges
Google Docs is one of the more popular ways to have a formal, in-depth hiring conversation, where the back-and-forth between a hiring manager and a job candidate in a written format is the very essence of a “living document.”
3. Meet-Ups at Shared Office Spaces
Sometimes, nothing beats real-life face time–in circumstances where that setting is a possibility. Although this format is not “remote” per se, some companies that rent shared workspaces say it works well as a way to evaluate job candidates during the hiring process. Shared workspaces often include use of conference rooms and private offices, and if a prospective candidate can travel half-way, or part-way to meet an employer in person, it can be a great way check out a job candidate–and vice versa.
4. Phone Interviews
Interviewing job candidates by phone has many benefits for employers: it’s efficient, cost-effective, personal, more spontaneous (potentially), and, of course, it’s one of the most time-proven job interview methods out there. A phone interview can provide a means for frank conversation with a potential remote employee about the advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting. Some companies said they use group phone interviews as a way to allow existing employees to vet a possible future colleague, to offer up-front assessments of what it takes to work remotely, and to determine whether the job prospect is suited for virtual work.
It’s essential for employers who are considering offering telecommuting options–or expanding an existing virtual team–to demonstrate flexibility when conducting remote job interviews. Taking the technological plunge can broaden the field of outstanding future employees exponentially.