Use These Tips To Conduct A Remote Interview

How to do a remote interivew

Having open positions that need filling is an excellent problem to have. However, the current climate makes interviewing candidates seem like a daunting, ineffective prospect. But, it doesn’t have to be intimidating. Having the right tools and processes in place will help you find the right people to fill those jobs. Learn how to conduct a remote interview and the tools you’ll need for success.

Benefits Of Interviewing Remotely

When holding remote interviews, you broaden your company’s pool of candidates. No longer are prospective employees located within that standard 30 to 40-mile radius, remote employees can be from anywhere as long as they’re qualified. Set guidelines that work best for your team. Only interview people within a specific time zone, for example. This will help make it helpful to narrow down that interview pool. 

Because you’ll be open to more candidates, have an idea of the type of person you’re looking for to fill the position. 

  • Do they fit into the company culture?
  • Are they collaborative?
  • Are they communicative?
  • Can they adapt to fast-paced remote companies?

Also read: Transitioning To A Remote Team

Screening Remote Interview Candidates

A screening call is usually the first step in any interview process. The person in charge of this phone call should have a checklist to make sure the candidate’s experience and skills are a match for the open position.

  • The first step to screening candidates is traditionally through their resume, cover letter, and portfolio.
  • You may want to go the extra step of contacting the supplied references.
  • Do some online research to see how the candidate conducts themselves on social platforms.

If they pass the three pieces of the above criteria, then it’s time to schedule your first phone screening.  If that goes well and requirements are met, then schedule a full-on remote interview! 

Can You Hear Me Now?

Even before this pandemic, the remote interview was becoming more commonplace. Candidates coming into the office before being hired is swiftly becoming a thing of the past as we move more toward the WFH model. 

There are loads of video and audio conferencing apps on the market. Some are free, while others come with a serious price tag. 

Before beginning the interview, make sure all the tech you need is working correctly. If at all possible, close yourself off in a distraction-free area. Even if you’re wearing pajama bottoms, your upper half should look professional. 

The best platforms to host remote interviews are:

  • Zoom: With a password protected,  secure connection, Zoom is widely used for remote interviews. 
  • FaceTime: Apple iPhone and Mac users love the ease and convenience of FaceTime, and it’s a great option when conducting remote interviews.
  • Slack: Using Slack is easy, and it’s free. It’s also a fabulous tool for productivity and office communications.
  • GoToMeeting: This multifaceted tool is an excellent solution for hosting everything from interviews to meetings to webinars.
  • Skype: This is another free tool that’s perfect for both conferences, interviews, and chats. Their new feature, Meet Now, doesn’t require a sign up of any kind. 

Best Practices For Conducting A Remote Interview

Prepare: Re-read the interviewee’s resume and cover letter before hopping on the call. If they have a portfolio, have it open on your screen. Also, have a list of questions ready to go. 

Practice: Read the questions out loud before the interview so that they flow more naturally. Keep in mind that conversations are fluid, so be prepared to go “off script” a little. 

Privacy: Limit distractions by turning off phone and computer notifications, or go into Do Not Disturb mode.

If done correctly, interviewing remotely can be as effective as doing it in person. And, with all the tips provided in this article, you’ll be filling positions with qualified team members quickly and efficiently.

Transitioning To A Remote Team In The Time Of Crisis

Remote Team Office

WHO has declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The Italian government has shut the entire country down. The predicted global statistics surrounding COVID-19 are staggering. For most of us, we’ve never seen this type of situation before, and it’s surreal. As a result, many businesses are transitioning to a fully remote team in response to the COVID-19 virus.

This transition can be difficult. Particularly for employees who have never worked remotely before. But, with the right tools in place, a fully remote team can be productive and successful. 

Remote work isn’t feasible for every type of business, but having a backup plan in place is recommended. If you aren’t sure how to go about moving from in-person to remote, we’ve got information that will help you transition to fully remote teams and individuals during the time of a crisis. 

Create a Crisis Operations Plan

Before sending your teams home with their computers, the leadership team must get all their ducks aligned. During this unprecedented time, the goals must be made clear. Put together a document outlining expectations and outcomes. 

  • You’ll need to have your remote work policies defined
  • Assign team leaders if they aren’t already in place
  • Team leaders and managers will need preparation
  • Find creative ways to carry on company culture
  • Trust your team. You hired them for a reason! 
  • Make sure your team has all the tools they’ll need to function remotely. 
  • Schedule online meetings. This also helps teams feel less isolated.

Tools For A Remote Team

To make the transition from the workplace to work-from-home as seamless as possible, you’ll need to make sure your teams have everything necessary for productivity. Assign someone the task of creating a checkout list, so it’s easy to keep track of who is taking home what. 

  • Computers: Many companies assign laptops to team members. If that’s not the case, consider giving each team member who doesn’t have one some budget to allow them to buy one. Or offer a monetary bonus to those who will be using their personal computers for company business. 
  • Monitors: There are many positions throughout a company that uses one or more monitors for their work. 
  • Hardware: If your company runs on a specific type of hardware installed on computers, ensure this is functioning correctly outside of the work environment. 
  • Cords: This may sound silly to keep track of cords, but there are a lot of them involved in a workspace setup—chargers, power strips, adapters, HDMI cords, dongles, extension cords, and more. 
  • High-speed internet access: Not everyone has decent home internet. If any of your team members express that, consider offering a stipend to aid them in getting high-speed internet access.

Setting Those Work Expectations

Setting guidelines and expectations will be critical components to staying organized throughout the transition to remote teams. 

  • Check-ins: Although this can get cumbersome, have one of your IM channels set up for check-ins and outs. 
  • Productivity: Give teams thorough outlines of daily work. There are productivity tools like Monday and Trello to help organize this effort. 
  • Hours: Set expected work times and daily hours. 
  • Feedback: Providing consistent positive feedback to teams can prove to be beneficial in keeping morale up and productivity high. 
  • Communication: Encourage teams to remain communicative throughout the day.

Utilize the Many Available Tools

There are many apps available that will keep your remote teams connected and productive. You’ll need to make sure your employees do have access to the internet. 

Video Conferencing/Screen Sharing

Interoffice connectivity

Productivity

Time Management

Distraction Busting/Program Blocking

Premium Tools Offering Temporary Free Services 

  • Microsoft Teams six-month free trial
  • Google Hangout until July 1, 2020
  • LogMeIn free for three months
  • Cisco Webex 90 day licensing free
  • Zoom unlimited free conference calling
  • Comcast Internet Essentials 2 free months for new users
  • AT&T suspending broadband data caps

Keep Open Lines Of Communication

These are looking to be trying times. Pay attention to the behavior your newly remote team is exhibiting. For some, working from home can be stressful as they adjust to the new process. Reach out to everyone when possible, to do a mental wellness check. Most likely, you are fully aware of each employee’s productivity and potential, so keep that in mind as they adapt to working remotely. 

In conclusion, it’s always beneficial to have a disaster response plan in place. And, the health of the community needs to be a priority. During this time, patience will be a virtue. But, having faith in your team and being there to guide them when necessary will only make you a stronger organization. 

Stay healthy! Stay productive!

How To Use BERT, The New Google Algorithm, To Your Advantage

What is BERT

By now you may know about Google’s latest algorithm update. It’s the biggest once since RankBrain and it’s called BERT. BERT is a mouthful of an acronym standing for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, and it’s a doozy. 

Digital marketers, particularly those that work with SEO in any capacity, are figuring out how to keep their client’s sites from losing page ranking. Because BERT has negatively impacted 1 in every 10 websites, it’s important to get a handle on best practices quickly. 

What is BERT?

Quite simply, Google has found a way to understand user intent. For example, if your search parameters included “for” and “and” BERT is able to understand the context of that entire string of words typed into the search bar. Prior to this algorithm update, only strong keywords were picked up so your search results may have included information not pertinent to your search.

It’s a big deal for users. And, it’s a big deal for marketers because we need to have a deeper insight into who our users are and what exactly they are looking for.

Dealing With Humans

Traffic is going to go up on some website pages, and others will plummet. To keep your ship afloat, so to speak, content is really going to be the captain of that ship. 

What that means to digital marketers is this: high-quality content on your web pages through your blog. Keyword stuffing is, even more, a thing of the past. Now it’s all about longtail keywords of 5 words or more. Natural language recognition, with natural speech patterns. 

Topics thoroughly covered in human speech is going to be even more imperative. Luckily, there are sites like Answer the Public that can help formulate posts based on questions users are asking on every single topic. Sure, you’re going to still pull keywords from your typical tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and the like. But now, it’s super important to make sure those words flow seamlessly into sentences without sounding SEO’ish. Otherwise, Google will penalize that page, and it will barely see any traffic. Without website traffic, businesses will suffer. 

Don’t Dump The Old Content For BERT

There’s no reason to unpublish old content, especially those that were heavy hitters prior to the algorithm update. When auditing website content, focus specifically on whether the content is well written, useful, compelling, and unique. 

There is absolutely no need to worry about keyword density moving forward, Google doesn’t care about that anymore. Now, it’s all about the words on the page and how well the information is explaining the topic. 

Word Length Sweet Spot

Right now, it doesn’t appear to look like Google is weighing heavily on the length of articles. Before, the keystroke sweet spot was somewhere close to 1,500 words or longer. Now, just compelling, well-written, informative content is key. Whether it’s 300 words or 3,000 words, as long as it’s a deep dive into that topic. The more specific and helpful the information is the better chance the article or web page has of doing well in search engine results (SERPs). 

Don’t Panic, This Is A Good Thing!

Having a great writer who is highly knowledgeable in SEO will help your company’s website and your clients. Excellent writing will rise to the top of the pile, narrowing the competition with all the junk that litters the high ranking search results. 

How humans interact with their computing devices is transforming, and Google is constantly evolving user intent and natural speech pattern recognition into their platforms. The role of the digital marketer has to understand the impact of the changing landscape in order to successfully keep content fresh and relevant to the desired user base.