Effective Remote Interview — How You can Understand and Attract the Candidate Better?

Remote Interview as Normal

The remote interviews became much more usual. Actually, I have never seen candidates face-to-face almost over one year. Initially, I needed to get used to the remote interview. Communication is a bit difficult especially with somebody who you don’t know yet. Some of the existing interviews approaches like whiteboard discussion are difficult to conduct.

However, after I get used to remote interviews, I have found several approaches work well in remote interviews.

In this article, I will share three effective approaches.

Approach #1: Visual Aid to Present the Position

The first approach is to use a visual aid to present the potential position to the candidate.

It’s quite important to understand that only you are not the people making judgments. The candidate is judging you as well. In the current market, engineers have much more opportunities. It’s important that you are selected before select the candidate.

The interview is a valuable opportunity for the candidate to understand the position. You should spend some time to describe and attract your position. Your candidate is looking for the word from you rather than HR, or hiring site. They would like to hear from the people who potentially work together.

Sharing a screen is much easier in a remote meeting system. You don’t have to plug the cable. You just push the button. And share it! It’s much easier for the candidate to understand the position with the visual aids, rather than describing the positions verbally.

And the candidate will feel that the interviewer is more prepared and welcoming the candidate.

Approach #2: Materials for Excercise

You can present some materials for the exercise as well.

This is something I learned from my colleague. He presented some small piece of source code, and ask the candidate to review them. We don’t have to write the code on the whiteboard. We need to prepare the piece of source code ahead of time and present it.

We did this before on the whiteboard. However, presenting screen allows us to use more complicated, practical code for the review. This approach will be more practical to understand how the candidate carefully reviews the implementation.

Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

Approach #3: Do Some Collaboration

It’s great if you can try working with the candidate before hiring. Why not do that?

Some of the remote documentation tools provide real-time collaboration. And they provide private URL access without any account registration.

You can put some simple architecture diagram into Draw.io or Google Slides. You will include several technical challenges you would like to design together with the candidate.

You can ask questions to the candidate, and update the diagram. Or you can ask him to lead the design and update the diagram by himself. It’s all up to the personality and interaction you and the candidate make.

The benefit of this approach is being able to understand how the collaboration works in practice, in both ways. You will understand how the candidate works together with your colleague. The candidate will imagine how the daily design discussion looks like if he/she joins the company.

Leverage Remote Environment for Interviews

All of those approaches may be able to conduct even on-sight interviews. However, it’s much easier in a remote environment. We don’t need a shared display in the interview room. You don’t need to connect your PC. You just push the button and share your screen! Your candidate most likely has his/her laptop to collaborate with.

Let’s leverage the remote interview experience so that you can understand the candidate better, and let the candidate understand the position better.



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Yuichi Murata

Yuichi Murata


Global team builder from Tokyo. Engineering manager to build international engineering organization.