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How to Create a Positive Remote Interviewing Candidate Experience

remote interviewing

With today’s growing global health concerns over COVID-19, hundreds of tech hiring teams have halted their standard hiring processes in favor of remote interviewing, sourcing, and screening. While this transition may not affect all points of the candidate funnel, remote interviewing does directly impact the candidate experience.

When transitioning to an entirely virtual hiring process, there are a lot of new factors to account for—like the stability of the candidate’s internet connection, or gauging a candidate’s interest in-person through signals like body language —that are out of your control. But there are actions hiring managers and technical recruiters can take to cultivate a positive remote interviewing candidate experience.

If you have aggressive hiring goals this quarter, don’t let the switch to remote work hinder your hiring efforts. Follow these 4 steps to stay on track and deliver a candidate-first remote interviewing process. 

1. Master basic technical interviewing best practices

With today’s competitive tech talent market, one mishap or error during the interview process is enough to turn off interested candidates. While conducting remote interviews, it’s crucial that you master the basic technical interviewing best practices to attract the interest of the right developers.

Before phone or video interviews, use a skills assessment

Especially for high volume roles, use a skills assessment tool like HackerRank’s CodeScreen*, to weed out any candidates that are uninterested or don’t meet your hiring team’s skill requirements. Requiring candidates to take a code assessment at the first stage of your remote interview process will cut down the number of applicants for high-volume roles and help you quickly identify which applicants should move on to the video interview stage. After using CodeScreen* at the beginning of their hiring process, TrueAccord saved recruiting and engineering hours, and reduced their onsites by 50%.  

Position yourself as the candidate’s go-to contact

When remote interviewing, you won’t have the opportunity to create an in-person connection. So it’s crucial that you stay connected to the candidate throughout the entire interview process.

To keep your interviewee in the loop and keep your role top of mind, reach out to them at every stage of the evaluation process. Simple gestures like uploading an email profile picture, hopping on quick phone calls, or sharing next steps via video calls will create a stronger bond between you and your candidates. Prioritizing constant communication with your candidates will make them feel valued, and will leave a positive lasting impression.

Create a distraction free remote interviewing environment

When remote interviewing, don’t leave an opening for interruptions. To prevent wifi mishaps, purchase an ethernet cord and use a hardwired internet connection during your interviews. To prevent other online interruptions, try putting notifications from apps like Slack and Gmail on mute.

If roommates or family members are home during your working hours, communicate the time of your interview so they’ll know when you need a quiet, noise-free environment. Even though you can’t control your candidate’s interview environment, it’s best practice to send them an email which advises them to take the interview in a distraction-free environment with stable internet connection.

2. Introduce your culture with branded content

Inviting your candidate onsite to meet future co-workers in person is a crucial step in the interview process. When remote interviewing, your interviewees will be able to meet the hiring managers and potential teammates during video interviews, but they won’t have that in-person meet and greet experience. To give your candidates a more personalized introduction to your company’s culture and values, send them branded content.

Branded packages that have a mix of evergreen talent branding content are a great resource recruiters can use to quickly showcase the company culture, values, and mission. Here are some assets you should keep on hand:

  • Company articles (e.g. major company announcements or meaningful press coverage)
  • Employee profiles that highlight members from the team you’re hiring for
  • A list of the hiring manager’s candidate team expectations
  • Videos, photos or quotes of employees from your latest talent branding campaigns

3. Communicate the workflow at the beginning of the process

No one likes to show up unprepared, and agreeing to a completely remote interview is new territory for a lot of candidates. Now is the time to ramp up your communication and inform candidates what they should expect at every stage of the interview process. 

Map out how many rounds of interviews the candidate will go through, which skills assessment platform you’ll be using, and send them a copy of your company’s mission and values. If you’re using HackerRank to assess candidates, you can also send them interview prep materials like this HackerRank Interview Prep Kit.

And again: don’t forget to stay in constant contact. Lagging on communication is a common mistake companies make which can create a negative candidate experience. Stand out from your competition by staying in contact with your candidates from your first phone screen throughout the end of their onboarding process.

4. Use a tool that is easy for candidates and employees to navigate

In remote technical interviews, candidates don’t have the option to map out their work on a whiteboard in front of the hiring manager. Tools like CodePair* allow interviewers to conduct pair programming technical interviews with build-in video calling, which creates a collaborative coding environment where hiring teams can assess a candidate’s coding skills from afar.

With pair programming tools, hiring teams can watch candidates build on code from pre-screen challenges in real-time, or run and test code together, all in a single session. It enables hiring managers to see a candidate’s problem solving and communication skills in real-time—a practical alternative to onsite interviews. 

Aside from being the most reliable tool for hiring teams to evaluate candidates’ skills, CodePair* is also developer-friendly. In 2019, over more than 270K developers used CodePair* for remote interviewing and gave CodePair* a score of 4.72 on the developer love index.

Interested in remote interviewing?  Use CodePair* to conduct great technical interviews with candidates from anytime, anyplace. Start a free trial here.

*Disclaimer: This blog post contains messaging around the "CodePair" and "CodeScreen" features which are now called "Interview" within the HackerRank product as of 10/06/20.

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