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Before you Schedule a Candidate's Remote Onsite, Do These 6 Things

You can download our Complete Guide to Designing a Successful Remote Interview here

With remote work going from buzzword to reality, it’s not surprising that the interview process will mirror this rising trend. In our latest Brand Health Report, we discovered that 65% of tech workers are open to working 100% remote. As a company, if remote work is not something you’re used to or familiar with, transitioning to a virtual onsite can seem even more daunting. Thankfully in a world where digital products are at our fingertips, carrying out a virtual interview can be done without sacrificing a great candidate experience. 

When you break down what most companies and candidates already experience, phone screens, and follow ups are often already done remotely. So, the good news is you can focus most of your efforts on nailing the virtual onsite experience. 

A successfully designed remote onsite will require thoughtful planning, coordination and communication. This guide will outline every consideration necessary to ensure your team delivers a seamless candidate experience that conveys professionalism and confidence in your team. 

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail 

It’s true: a virtual onsite will take upfront preparation, and recognizing that is the first step towards mastering it. Before you jump into communicating the logistics with the candidate, start by making a few key decisions that will inform the logistics of the interview. 

1. Choose the right tool

There are a variety of effective conferencing tools out there including Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Blue Jeans. Once you have chosen the software that’s right for your company, plan to conduct every single interview in the same “room”. This means using the same meeting link to create a more seamless experience. This helps make sure that things stay on track and keeps the tech side of things simple for both the interviewers and the candidate. 

    2. Designate a point of contact 

    By the time a candidate has gotten to the onsite phase of the interview process, they have most likely spoken to a few people on the team, including a recruiter and hiring manager. So, it’s important that, although they are going to be interviewed by multiple people on the hiring team, there is a clear single point of contact from a logistics perspective. Select one individual who can answer clarifying questions or address any issues that come up related to tech. 

    3. Ensure the hiring team is set up for success 

    As remote work is becoming more common, many employees already have home offices set up to accommodate a flexible schedule. When you begin coordinating the virtual onsite schedule with the hiring team, check in with each individual about their setup to ensure they have what they need to be successful. For example, a well-lit and quiet area in which to conduct proper video calls.

    4. Align on questions and evaluation areas for group interviews

    If there is a panel interview that will be conducted with two or more interviewers, it’s imperative to plan ahead. Although social cues will still come through a video interview, they may be harder to distinguish in real-time as you’re in conversation. To prepare, have the interviewers do a mock run-through of their questions, the sequence in which they want to ask the questions, and ways they can mitigate confusion in case there’s an issue. 

    5. Provide guidance on interview notes

    Documentation is a critical piece of the hiring process to mitigate bias. As your team is thinking through the logistics of your virtual onsite, recommend a best practice of taking notes in the interview. You want to make sure the interviewee is staying engaged during the conversation with the candidate, while capturing important insights that will later be used to make a final decision. Pro tip: If you leverage an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), you may want to load your questions in the tool so that interviewers can type real-time notes as they’re speaking with the candidate.

    6. Reconfigure your whiteboard exam

    For engineering candidates going through the onsite (‘final’) interview remotely, you want to ensure you are assessing their technical skills. To replace the whiteboard exam, which can be more challenging in a remote setting, pivot to a remote or live coding challenge. If you’re looking for a tool to leverage, Hired Assessments offers customizable and preloaded assessments you can send candidates ahead of time. Alternatively, the LiveChallenge feature allows teams to pair program without having to sit next to each other. Regardless of whether you are on Hired, companies can leverage Hired Assessments to technically assess all candidates part of their technical hiring pipeline. 


    Interested in a Comprehensive Guide to Remote Interviews? Download here