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An Interviewer’s Checklist for Remote Technical Recruiting

Creating a top-notch candidate experience in remote interviews

When the pandemic hit the US in March 2020, employers across industries had to scramble to shift their recruiting processes to the virtual environment. Now, almost a year later, we’re settling into these processes and many employers are gaining an unexpected insight: remote hiring works. 

Research is also showing us that remote interviews and remote hiring are likely here to stay. One survey shows that 1 in 4 Americans will be working remotely in 2021. And even new employees who will eventually go into the office may go through a fully remote recruiting process

What does this mean for recruiting? That it’s worth thinking about your remote interviewing processes as here to stay—and making long-term investments in optimizing them for candidate experience.

Here at CodeSignal, we’ve been thinking a lot about candidate experience as we make continual improvements to our remote technical interviewing product. We’ve also conducted a whole lot of technical interviews. These are the top four ways we’ve found to create an exceptional candidate experience in remote technical interviews. 

✅ Use automated scheduling tools

Busy technical hiring teams don’t want to waste time emailing back and forth with candidates to schedule an interview, which can be especially time consuming for remote on-site or panel interviews. Automating scheduling tools (like this one or this one) keep things moving quickly in your hiring process and allow for that high-touch experience that candidates appreciate—without taking up all of your hiring team’s time.

✅ Develop tasks specifically designed for the role you’re interviewing for

Even the best-prepared hiring teams can’t salvage a technical interview experience when the candidate is asked questions poorly aligned with the role they’re interviewing for. A candidate who encounters a question-role mismatch in their interview will likely come to one or more of these undesirable conclusions:

  • The role isn’t what the candidate thought they were interviewing for
  • The interviewers don’t know what they’re looking for in a candidate
  • Your company doesn’t take its hiring processes seriously

Taking the time to develop tasks and technical questions that reflect what the candidate would actually do in the job shows the candidate that you know what you’re doing. It also gives you, the interviewer, a better sense of the candidate’s job-relevant skills. This is especially important to keep in mind when hiring senior engineers, for whom basic algorithmic questions won’t be adequate or appropriate.

✅ Ensure consistency with structured interviews 

Structured interviews create for a positive candidate experience in three key ways:

  1. Structured interviews reduce bias in the interviewing process by creating a consistent interview process for all candidates. Candidates who go through a structured interview process will feel confident they are being assessed fairly.
  2. Structured interviews require preparation. Interviewers who are prepared for the interview and aligned on their roles during the interview will leave a much better impression with a candidate than interviewers who are obviously “winging it.”
  3. Structured interviews encourage interviewers to ask questions in a thoughtful progression. Research shows that question order matters for a candidate’s performance and experience in an interview. Starting with easier questions helps put the candidate at ease and warm them up for the more challenging questions you’ll ask later.

For more guidance on running a structured technical interview using CodeSignal, check out our guide for structured interviews.

✅ Stay human

When you’re interviewing remotely, it’s especially important to make a conscious effort to connect with candidates during a structured interview. Following a predefined set of questions or tasks during an interview doesn’t mean you’re only allowed to read from the script! Engage in the interview with your authentic personality and find moments to connect with the candidate on a human level. After the interview, evaluate the candidate using a calibrated rubric to ensure that bias doesn’t creep into your decision-making.

Conclusion

Remote recruiting and hiring are here for the long haul. This means that companies need to invest in designing remote interviews that allow candidates to show off their relevant skills, give them insight into your company (and engineering team’s) culture, and allow for interviewers to unbiasedly assess talent. 

Companies may not be able to show off their office snack bar, ping pong table, or fridge full of La Croix when they recruit remotely. At CodeSignal (we’re hiring, by the way 😉), we’re embracing the change. Snacks are cheap. For candidates, finding a role and a company well-suited to their skills, values, and passion is far more valuable. 

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