4 Apr 2020
Remote Hiring Guide: Interview Questions and Reference Checks
This is Part 5 of the Remote Hiring Guide Series.
Here’s our complete Remote Hiring Guide Series:
In this section of our Remote Hiring Guide, we discuss interview questions and reference checks. How do you filter through a pool of hundreds of applicants when their resumes and cover letters all look similar? What makes a candidate stand out? We get to the bottom of it.
Remote Hiring Interview Questions
Here are some tips to help you think about framing the interview and some questions to ask. The purpose of the interview is to dig into the candidate’s experience. As the interviewer, it’s your job to determine whether or not this person has the skills they said they did on their application.
You don’t have to be an expert in their field or match them in their knowledge. You just have to be able to make sure they can explain how they have applied what they know and how their experience will help your company.
Make sure you’re asking what you need to know and gaining the understanding you seek. Don’t be rude, but you can dig in and be firm about what you’re looking for.
Before the call:
- Have your questions prepared.
- What parts of their resume or application do you want to discuss?
- What do you need to know to make sure this interview is a success?
- How will the call end? Think about how you’ll end the conversation and, if you need to, give ‘the next steps’ to the interviewee. Will there be another call with more team members? Is there a test project? Will they hear from you in a week or a month? Be honest and set the expectations. We’ve had hiring companies who waited too long to close the deal and candidates were picked up by other hiring companies.
- Dig into the specifics. A great interviewer will be able to focus on the specifics contained within resumes and figure out what the results were. For example, “On your resume, you said you were responsible for X growth. Can you give me some specific examples of what led to this?” You want to see if they were actually responsible for what they stated and if they have the competence required for the role you’re advertising for.
- Listen and then follow up on what they’ve said. Ask pointed questions. Don’t be condescending, but curious and genuinely interested.
- Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions, most people appreciate the chance to talk in detail about themselves and expect it in an interview. “How did that make you feel?” “Could you do that again?” “What did you do next?
- Give the candidate an opportunity to ask questions, this is a great opportunity to learn about the things that really matter to them.
- Take notes. You’ll be shocked how quickly you’ll forget what was discussed. Markdown what your team needs to hear and the most important takeaways to determine if this candidate should be moved forward in the hiring process.
- End the conversation with the correct and realistic expectations. The candidate should know if there will be another interview, if they should follow up with you, or if there’s another step to be completed. Let them know the next steps. If you’re not sure what that is just yet, be honest.
Standard Interview Questions:
- Why did you apply to this role?
- Why are you leaving your current position?
- Tell me about your current role and responsibilities.
- With your last project, tell me about something you did that you’re proud of?
- What are your strengths?
- Are you comfortable working remotely? Have you worked remotely before, tell me about that?
- What kind of work environment do you thrive in?
After the call:
- How was the interview left? Let the candidate know if you’re going to be moving forward with their application or if the process has now ended for them.
- If you have more questions, send them an email or call them up again.
Remote Hiring Reference Checks
Checking references is usually the last part of the hiring process. Ask the candidate for references or to be introduced to references. It can be interesting to see how the candidate delivers on this. Some candidates may just provide names while others will provide names, job titles, relationship, phone, and email.
Send each reference a separate email letting them know you’d like to call them on a certain date for a 5-minute call about the candidate you’re thinking about hiring.
Questions for the references:
- What was their role when they worked with you?
- Ask about the core skills this candidate needs in the new job – were they deployed successfully for their past employer?
- Would you enthusiastically hire or work with the person again?
- What was their seniority, responsibility?
- Any specific results they were responsible for?
- Strengths and weaknesses.
All in all, there are countless different ways to hire. This Remote Hiring Guide is here to help but it’s not the be-all and end-all solution. If you have questions about anything specific, reach out to us firstname.lastname@example.org.
If there are more resources you think would be useful for us to add or things we should update, let us know! This is a dynamic document that we always seek to improve.
This is Part 5 of our Remote Hiring Guide Series.
Here’s our complete Remote Hiring Guide Series: