6 Smart Strategies for Interviewing Job Candidates Remotely

We asked six founders to share their strongest tactics for remote job interviews.
6 Smart Strategies for Interviewing Job Candidates Remotely
Image credit: Pete Ryan
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the March 2021 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

1. Be human.

“People are in all sorts of states right now, physically and mentally. It’s helpful to recognize that and connect with candidates at the most human level. Roommates and relatives do come into video view sometimes, and this always unnerves a candidate. But how a candidate handles those unexpected moments allows me to gain invaluable insight. I mean, if you can’t handle the family cat busting into a meeting, then we’re definitely not going to be a right match for one another.” — David Ard, chief people officer, Equinox

2. Test their skills.

“We have built a two-step project into the interview process, regardless of the level we’re hiring for. First, we give top
candidates a brief for an assignment. This helps us assess how they could apply their analytical and/or creative skills to our business. Second, we follow up with a live brainstorm to see them in action and witness how their ideas would translate into a collaborative work session. This has been critical to helping us evaluate how candidates could work independently to drive impact and integrate seamlessly into Foria’s remote work culture.” — Jenny Gorenstein, chief growth officer, Foria

Related: 5 Tips for Hiring and Team Building Remotely

3. Prepare.

“I study the candidate’s résumé first and jot down a few questions, and then when I am on the call, I listen. I may not ask all my questions — once you ascertain that the person has the right skills, what is most important is to understand that they have the right fit for your company. Recruiting is difficult, and you need to take the time to understand the person. Everyone can be successful, but will they be successful in your organization?” — Isabelle Fevrier, CEO, Mansur Gavriel

4. Expand the process.

“We’ve grown our People team to help support remote hiring and internal communications around the interview process, which now includes twice as many one-to-one interviews with a broader set of our team members. We’ve also added challenge assignments for nearly every role, which we ask candidates to present on a videoconference. We also solicit feedback from our interviewees and team to continually improve the remote interview process. So far, the increased investment has been well worth it.” — Tracy DiNunzio, founder and CEO, Tradesy

Related: How to Recruit and Hire the Best Remote Workers

5. Focus your questions.

“‘What have you learned about yourself this year that has led you to apply to this job? Why didn’t you learn that sooner?’ When you interview a candidate remotely, it’s harder to get a sense of things like spirit, resilience, and self-awareness. I find that this line of questioning gives a candidate the opportunity to speak to all three with authenticity.” — Roderick Morris, cofounder and president, Lovevery

6. Set limits.

“I keep the job interviews really short — 15 minutes max. One thing that hosting a podcast has taught me is that you can cover a lot of ground with focused conversation. This time limit helps me identify candidates who can come in with focus and clear communication skills. This is really important in a world where we all work remotely and rely on these skills to be effective with teams.” — Michael Bosstick, founder and CEO, Dear Media

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