Interviewing Tips for Managers: Building Your Remote Workforce Effectively

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A computer screen showing a woman on a video call.

We get asked all the time about interviewing tips for managers who want to hire the best of the best. In this post, we give you just that, from the preparation stage through the actual interview. Our hope is that by using these tips, you can attract and select the best candidates for any position. 

Pre-Interview Preparation

Getting ready before the interview is a crucial step. This is where you develop the strategy you need to find the gems among all the applicants.

Understand the Position

The first thing you must do is get a good grasp of the position that you’re hiring for. Make sure that you know exactly what you need done and who you need to do it well. 

Ask for Help

Ask the people within the department you are hiring for what they see regarding that position. Often, it’s those on the ground who have the best insights into what and who is needed. 

Review the Candidate’s Resume

You may have read all the candidates’ resumes when they submitted their applications. We still recommend that you go through each one again before each interview, and keep it in front of you. This keeps all the details fresh in your mind as you spark to them.

Set Up the Interview Environment

Choose a quiet, professional space free from distractions. A conference room or empty office works well. Ensure comfortable seating so you don’t start fidgeting in the middle of the interview. Adjust your camera before you begin to make sure the candidate has a clear view of you.

During the Interview

With proper preparation, you should be able to conduct the interview smoothly. 

A man remote onboarding another man via a video call using a laptop.

Open the Interview

As soon as the candidate joins the meeting, greet them warmly. Introduce yourself and any other interviewers present. Briefly discuss neutral topics, like how their day has been so far, or the weather, to ease them into the interview.

Question Techniques

Question techniques are important to get the information you need during an interview. 

One common question technique is to ask open-ended questions, which encourage interviewees to elaborate. This is how you get more details about their experiences, skills, and thought processes. 

Behavioral and Hypothetical Questions

Ask the interviewee to describe specific situations they’ve encountered in the past and how they handled them. This can be a great way to assess their problem-solving skills, decision-making abilities, and how they might behave in similar situations in the future.

Similar to behavioral questions are hypothetical questions, which ask about situations that a interviewee may not have faced before. This focuses on critical thinking assessment, creativity, and how they approach challenges. 

Clarification Questions

Always insert clarification questions or follow-up questions whenever you feel like you need more information about a response.

Moreover, remember that the best interview technique is to be flexible and adapt your approach based on the interviewee’s responses and the information you’re trying to gather.

Observing and Listening

Active listening helps you observe and listen effectively while interviewing a candidate. Prepare by minimizing distractions, like putting away your phone and clearing any workspace clutter. 

Maintain eye contact while talking to show interest and encourage the candidate to elaborate. Remember that if you’re on a video call, you need to look into your camera lens to make it seem like you’re looking at the person. 

Nonverbal Cues

Use nonverbal cues while the candidate is talking and maintain an interested facial expression. Avoid interrupting them, and don’t feel like you need to chime in as soon as there’s a pause.

Before moving on to another question, briefly restate what you’ve heard to ensure understanding and encourage further details.

Take Notes

Make sure that you are jotting down important details as you speak with a candidate. Even if it’s just phrases here and there, you need to take notes so you don’t forget. You’ll use these later to help you choose the best fit.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Three men smiling as they look at content on a laptop.

Pre-Interview

Make sure that you set clear expectations about the position and the interview before you schedule a meeting. This is done through a detailed job description.

Both parties must come to the virtual table with a clear understanding of the tasks, skills, and experience needed for the role. This includes preferred communication methods, tools, work times, and time zone differences.

Interview

Don’t shortlist candidates based on the lowest hourly rates. Always prioritize qualifications and cultural fit. The right person will bring value beyond the cost. Take time to vet candidates thoroughly, including learning what makes them worth their quoted rate.

A multi-step interview process helps you get to know each candidate enough to assess their qualifications properly. 

Post-Interview

Don’t assume that a new hire will be able to hit the ground running without any training or support.

Sure, they should have the needed skills, but they will not know everything they need to work within your company specifically.

Invest in creating onboarding sessions and materials so they have clear instructions, relevant resources, and a go-to person when they have questions.

Post-Interview Process

After the interview, there’s still work to be done. Don’t skip these steps!

Review Your Notes

1. Go over your notes as soon as possible after the interview, while your memory is fresh.

This will help you reconstruct your conversation and capture the nuances like nonverbal cues that added context. If you wait too long, your own notes may not even make sense to you because you forgot what you meant.

2. Put your thoughts into categories.

By doing so, you can evaluate each candidate based on the different aspects you asked about. The categories could be skills, experience, answers to specific questions, work style, and other interesting details.

3. Use a color or symbol coding system to highlight key points.

This makes it easier when it’s time to compare the different candidates. Compare candidates’ strengths and weaknesses side-by-side, too. This will help you identify who stood out for specific criteria.

4. Check that each candidate’s skills and experience match up to what’s on your job description.

Do the same for what you were aiming for in terms of behavioral insights. 

Candidate Follow-Up

A man using the phone behind two computer monitors.

Make sure you follow up with candidates after their interview, whether you’re still considering them or not. Let them know the status of their application within 2 days at most to be considerate of their time.

1. First, always express gratitude for the time they spent and for their interest in the position.

Mention one or two specific things you enjoyed learning about them to personalize the message. Generic follow-ups are a huge turn-off and you don’t want to lose the best candidates.

2. Next, tell the candidate what their next steps are in the hiring process.

If you’re not moving forward with a candidate, let them know you’ve decided to pursue other options. If you like them but just not for this position, tell them you will keep them in mind for future openings

3. If you haven’t made a decision about a candidate yet, tell them when you’ll reach back out.

In the meantime, let them know you’re available to answer any questions they might have.

Make sure you keep all your communications professional.

Staying Objective

When choosing the right candidate to hire, make sure you’re evaluating them based on a proper rubric. Standardizing your criteria ensures that you will be fair and not forget important details. This way, you can check off the required qualifications, skills, and experience, and find the best fit.

Try not to deviate too much from the set interview questions as you probe further and ask follow-up questions. This way, you can maintain consistency and keep in line with the outlined job description. 

Be aware that you might be tempted to favor someone because of certain factors. For example, you might hone in on a level of education, previous employment, or strong performance in one area. Do not allow this to sway you into overlooking weaknesses in other areas. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can managers ensure fairness and inclusivity in virtual interviews?

Make sure that you use language that focuses on the skills, experience, and values that you’re looking for. Stay away from anything that points to demographics and other unconscious biases rather than requirements. A diverse interview panel also helps to mitigate individual biases and lend a more well-rounded perspective to the interview. 

Ensure that your video conferencing platform is accessible to candidates with disabilities. Provide clear instructions to interviewees on how to join the interview and prepare alternative methods in case of technical difficulties. This is particularly important when you’re interviewing across multiple borders.

How can managers build rapport with candidates during virtual interviews to accurately assess soft skills?

Managers can best draw out evidence of soft skills by building rapport with candidates.

Start by making candidates feel comfortable and heard so that they will be more likely to relax and open up. This way, they will give you more genuine responses. Through conversation, you can gain insight into their communication style, interpersonal skills, and emotional intelligence, too.

Maintain a professional but engaging demeanor throughout the interview. Smile, use an enthusiastic tone, and maintain eye contact with the camera rather than the video feed of the interviewee. Practice active listening and acknowledge candidates’ responses with positive reinforcement.

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This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

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Free resources you might like: 

Final Interviewing Tips for Managers

Consistency is key. Whichever interviewing tips for managers you choose to use, make sure you apply them across the board. If you’re testing them out, don’t mix methods when interviewing for the same position. Instead, try a different set for the next position you hire for.

Sometimes, it also helps to have other people interview with you or go over resumes and notes. You might consider also incorporating skills assessments to provide objective data.

 

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