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Working remotely certainly has its perks for your team members. Sometimes, doing so is a necessity. But, prolonged (or indefinite) physical separation can cause employees to feel lonely and disconnected from their work. Unfortunately, when their morale drops, so does their productivity. 

As a leader, it’s your job to make sure that doesn’t happen. It’s your responsibility to keep your group unified, high functioning, highly effective, and in good spirits. How do you accomplish this when team members are scattered across the country or even the globe?

Bonus read: Conflict Resolution for Teams Working Remotely

Virtual Team Building

Enter: virtual team building. Team building involves getting employees together so that they can feel connected and learn about one another. Done right, the process can result in a tight-knit group that communicates effectively and collaborates to get things done for your organization. For best results, it should be done regularly and regarded as a critical business activity. Virtual team building is taking this important practice online.

Here are four main principles to keep in mind as you design your virtual team building program:

Let’s look at each in detail.

Always Communicate

Clear, continuous communication is always necessary for your team to function at its best. However, it becomes even more critical when your employees are working alone in their homes. They can’t walk down the hall, pop their head into an office, and say, “got a minute?” That means they need to feel comfortable communicating with you and their team members in other ways.

So, how do you ensure that information and support flow as they should? Try implementing these tips:

Use Tools

When your team is virtual, in-person meetings are obviously out. That means you’ll need to find other ways to bring your team together and keep them on the same page. Fortunately, there are many tools you can use to make gatherings and collaboration a snap

For example, Asana and Trello can help your virtual team keep projects organized. Platforms like Slack facilitate conversation throughout the workday. Programs like Zoom allow your team to actually see each other through video chat and are great for presentations. Of course, there are countless other options on the market. Your team’s unique needs will determine which specific tools to implement.

Have Fun

Your employees are people outside of work that have their own interests and like to blow off steam. When you encourage them to be their true selves during business hours, you’ll boost their morale and gain their trust. When you provide opportunities for your team members to be themselves together, they’ll forge lasting bonds that translate to improved employee engagement and productivity.

Here are a few ways your team can do this virtually:

Grow Together

Your team members crave professional development opportunities, whether they’re onsite or remote. When you provide them with a chance to learn new information and skills, you increase their loyalty to your organization, strengthen your team's talent, and set them up for future success. From a team-building perspective, it’s vital to give your group time to grow together.

Here’s how you could do it virtually:

How Omnia Can Help

At Omnia, we believe that truly understanding your team members is the key to leading them effectively. Our behavioral and cognitive assessments reveal deep insight into each employee’s strengths, challenges, and work preferences. This knowledge can help you create the ideal virtual team-building program for your group. The information you’ll get is so good that you might want to encourage results sharing as a team-building exercise!

Final Thoughts

Team building is essential for having a high-producing, tight-knit employee group. But, when your team members are remote, you need to get a little creative to make it happen. With the right tools, some employee intel, a willingness to experiment, and a few online-friendly activities at hand, virtual team building is possible.

Tell us: Which virtual team-building methods work best in your organization?

Please tell me this has happened to you too. You go to Teams with thirty seconds to spare before the meeting starts to discover the meeting was set up in Zoom. Zoom says there’s a meeting already in progress (yes, and I’m supposed to be in it!), and it won’t let you in. Apparently, someone forgot to “open up the room.” What? Now I’m late, and I haven’t even gotten in my car.

I’ve also been blindsided (I’m a bit dramatic) with a GoToConnect meeting when I didn’t realize we were even using GoToConnect for meetings. Of course, I was trying to enter using Zoom. And to make things really interesting, I’m part of a 3-person special project team; we meet using Teams video chat. We call the team leader using that handy little phone icon. At least that’s how we’ve done it the last four times we’ve met. Only this time, after I click the phone icon, at the exact right time, I’m met with a “why didn’t you use the meeting ID link in the meeting, invite?” And now, for reasons that make no sense, I’m the one who has everyone confused.  Now, admittedly, it was on the invite, but who reads those whenever you’ve been meeting with this work team the same way for a month? Sigh. At least I had the right platform at that time.  Celebrate the little wins.

Being in the personality business, I can tell you; I have high attention to detail. That’s a tall column 8 on the Omnia profile. I like nothing more than being prepared and in the know on how things are going down. Also, although I am an introvert, I love our video meeting and collaboration tools. Each one has something about it that I appreciate. Teams is great for internal stuff, and the screen share is so easy; we’re about to experiment with break-out sessions next time, so that will be cool.  Zoom is great for both internal and external meetings. It’s easy to access, and everyone seems to know how to use it. But here’s my first piece of advice:

Tip 1: Have a consistent way of doing meetings. As a structured person, it would be nice to know that for all internal team meetings; we’ll use Teams, not Zoom, not Skype, not GoToConnect...Teams. And that we will use Zoom for meetings involving external people. Just some easy formula I can rely on. And truth be told, this is good for all personality types because likely your low attention to detail staff will only be skimming your invite and the high attention to detail staff want some structure, so it’s a win-win. Basically, if you’re throwing darts to decide which virtual meeting tool to use for your next meeting, someone is bound to get frustrated. If you crave a little spontaneity, leave the last-minute surprises to impromptu video chats with one or two other people. You could all play virtual rock-paper-scissors to see who gets to pick the platform. But the bigger the group, the longer it takes to sort out the issues when one, two, or three people make the same mistake and attempt to join a meeting using the wrong platform.

Now, regardless of what platform you are using, let's talk about ways to make the most of every meeting that plays into each person's motivators on your staff.  This is where behavioral insight can be so helpful.

Tip 2: Use the chat feature to appeal to your cautious, introverted team members. Ensure they know chat (typing, not talking) is available and that someone will be monitoring the chatbox for questions. It's best if the chat moderator is not the presenter/meeting leader. Get a volunteer who can alert the meeting leader that there is a question. We have the moderator read the question aloud, but we don’t call out who asked the question. The reserved analytics on your team will love you for this. They don’t mind being seen but talking in front of the group can be just as uncomfortable for them on a video call as it is in an in-person meeting. It’s too easy for people to feel like they are interrupting.

Tip 3: Always prepare feeder questions to get the ball rolling or to fill in dead air. Instead of asking if anyone has questions and crossing your fingers that someone does, throw out a question in the chatbox. This helps ease any anxiety people might be feeling about asking the first question or wondering if their question is too basic. This especially helps the more introverted, risk-averse people on your team. Of course, there are no bad questions. And if the meeting is on how to use a new software -or virtual meeting platform – you’ll get plenty of questions.

Tip 4: Gamify where you can. We meet monthly to sharpen skills on a wide range of topics, from new software and business trends to Omnia products and services; we call it the Omnia Learning Lab. Our last meeting was all about how to use SharePoint (a great collaboration tool), and we broke the ice using Kahoot, a fun quiz app. Most people enjoy games regardless of their personality type, though this is a great way to pull in the driven, impatient people on your team. We are also following up that meeting with a virtual scavenger hunt on SharePoint to encourage people to get in there and explore the application (and possibly win an Amazon gift card – as if Amazon doesn’t come to my door enough). So, sit back and watch while the competitive streak is ignited in your team. We have a week, and I’m in it to win it.

Tip 5: Use share screen; many people are visual learners and need to actually see what you are talking about. Plus, in remote meetings, you need ways to keep people fully engaged. If you happen to be meeting on a cloud-based collaboration tool, you can have people go directly to the application and give them tasks that you can observe. This way, people are doing the actions themselves, and you can diagnose issues in real-time. This is great for hands-on learners and keeps those fast-paced competitors on your team engaged in the process.

Share screen and collaboration tools are also a must for brainstorming meetings and special project teamwork so that everyone can be involved in the process.

So, embrace technology and provide your team with virtual meetings that are even more productive than in-person meetings, minus that one person whose audio never seems to work.

Remember, when I asked who reads the invite every time? Me. That’s who. I’m paying attention now, so pick your virtual meeting platform and send over that invite. I’m ready!

I went back to the office for about a week in June; I needed to get out of the house, and I had a temporary childcare solution. Needless to say, I ran with that opportunity.

Currently, we have one employee going into the office daily. Really, he never left (thanks, Steve). And from time to time, others go in solo for various reasons, perhaps to use office equipment they don’t have at home or because they need a change of scenery. It’s also relatively stress-free to use the office; it feels safe since no one else is there. Oh, right, sorry, Steve.

Driving up to the building and parking in my usual space felt surreal. How could something I’ve done so much feel so weird? To be honest, driving felt weird too, but that’s another story. When I first stepped into the office, the thing that struck me was the stale, abandoned feeling of the place. It felt apocalyptic as if we had all disappeared at once, which is sort of what happened. The calendar on the wall, along with our fun monthly bulletin board items, were still firmly displaying March as if time had stopped. It was… creepy. I took the old notices down, did a little cleaning up, and thought about the big and little things we needed to do to get our office ready for everyone again.

First, of course, is what to call this re-entry process. I thought I made up a cool new buzzword: reboarding - the process of bringing employees back to the office after working from home for a few months (or more). But, as usual, I was late to the party, and it’s already a thing. That’s okay; better late than never.

If you have not yet fully reopened your office, it’s probably a good idea to think about what needs to happen to make going back to the office a success. A good reboarding process can help.

Here are seven tips for reboarding success:

1) Have an A-Z plan. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) observes that onboarding occurs at four levels, called the “Four C’s”: Compliance, Clarification, Culture, and Connection. You can use those same C’s to design your reboarding process. Compliance: Focus on safety precautions. Clarification: Put everything in writing, but use multiple communication methods to deliver and reinforce the information. Culture: Keep it consistent with how your organization operates. Connection: Keep it real. Think about the emotional impacts, and make it fun.

2) Ask for input. While there is certainly more and more information available on creating new procedures revolving around preventing the spread of Covid-19, it can’t hurt to ask what things would make your team feel more comfortable returning to work. You might hear some ideas that you never considered, but that makes a ton of sense for your organization.

3) Create safety procedures. They should be written. There is no single recipe that is best for every organization. Each must adopt a safety process that matches the operational and personnel structure of the company. Some companies might have very little need for face-to-face interactions both internally and externally, while others depend heavily on those interactions. Look for sample procedures online, and modify them to fit your needs. From masks to hand sanitation stations, there are many things to consider. Also, think about how both small and large meetings will be handled. Do you have space for an all-company gathering after you factor in social distancing? Or will you need to continue conducting those meetings via video from individual workspaces?

4) Make changes. Now that you’ve seen what can and can’t be done with a remote workforce, are there some changes that can be made to how you did business pre-pandemic? For example, does everyone need to come back to the office every day, or can you implement a new remote schedule that allows employees to work from home one or more days per week? Is it time to move from a formal dress code to something more casual? This is a perfect time to make changes.

5) Freshen up. Avoid having employees walk into an office that feels stale, dusty, and abandoned. If you have a cleaning service, ask for some extra TLC before everyone gets back. Also, get a small group together to spruce up the place and add a little something fun and personal to each workspace.

6) Communicate. Communication is critical. And no matter what the problem is, effective communication should always be part of the solution. Set up a formal communication plan to check in with the leaders and staff to promptly identify problems and resolve them.

7) Evaluate. Evaluate the reboarding process with your employees after 30 days. Ask how you did and what feedback they have for making daily operational improvements, especially regarding long-term safety measures.

These are scary, uncertain times, so let your team know that you are taking this seriously and putting energy into getting it right. Make sure they know that their health and well-being are priorities for the organization.

Just like with effective onboarding, an effective reboarding process will have many benefits. Employees will appreciate their jobs and their companies, commit to the organizational mission, perform more effectively, and even experience less stress, which we all need right now.

Remember, as your employees return to the office, it’s going to feel strange.  Following these measures will keep it from feeling creepy and ensure a smooth return for everyone.

So, Steve, we’re ready to come back.  Are you ready for us?

 

When you think about conflict, you probably picture two (or more) employees disagreeing face-to-face in a meeting or common space at the office. It’s out in the open and usually very apparent. When you think of conflict resolution, you probably picture those involved sitting with a mediator to discuss challenges, miscommunications, and work toward solutions.

This format is tried-and-true, in a traditional setting. But what about the current workplace, where employees are remote and navigating new technologies in addition to outside stressors that may be less apparent?

The current world events, the pandemic, and civil unrest are not the only catalysts to more workers going remote, either full-time or on a hybrid schedule. According to a study from October 2019, the number of people who work from home had increased by 140% since 2005.

Additionally, it can be difficult getting everyone involved in a conflict on the same phone call and emails rarely help clarify once an issue has escalated.

Is there Really More Conflict in Remote Teams?

Not necessarily. Most conflicts arise due to communication issues. This is true in the workplace and personal relationships, so it shouldn’t be a surprise. What’s important is that you understand how dynamics, and even behaviors, can shift in a remote versus physical space and how each team member communicates. Armed with this knowledge, which behavioral and personality assessments can assist with, you can head off miscommunication before it becomes a real problem.

There are three truths to virtual environments and human behavior that can help you prepare:

  1. Virtual environments empower people to be harsh.
  2. Remote employees have a higher level of insecurity.
  3. Remote communication is healthier for some employees.

We’ll explore each of these then discuss steps to manage conflict among a remote team.

Virtual Environments Empower People to Be Harsh

If you’ve spent any time on social media or message boards, you know the internet is a hotbed for trolls. Even in professional communication, employees can feel empowered to be more brazen, or short, in responses and quick to share opinions without thinking that they may have held their tongue on if they were looking the person in the eyes. If you are a woman and/or BIPOC on LinkedIn, you know what we mean.

In fact, this behavior is so common it has a name: online disinhibition effect. “Online disinhibition is the lack of restraint one feels when communicating online in comparison to communicating in-person.” (Wikipedia). This effect ranges from sharing personal thoughts and fears that would otherwise remain hidden to using rude language and making threats. The distance, coupled with a lack of immediate response, can make employees more cavalier and confident in what they’re saying.

Tone is another consideration. Even if a colleague isn’t experiencing the online disinhibition or trying to be rude, wording or tone can sometimes be misconstrued by the recipients. Ever bristle at a curt email response? If you’re in the habit of sending quick emails, which we’ve all done, know that it can cause co-workers to worry about or misconstrue responses.

Remote Employees Have Higher Levels of Insecurity

This may impact 100% of remote workers more than those sent home for health and safety reasons; however, it’s a good factor to consider when working with a team. The lack of physical presence can warp an employee’s perception of their status, affecting how they interpret the tone of digital communication.

Another study polled more than 1,100 employees to learn whether they feel connected while working remotely. This was again before the current events, but remote employees felt they couldn’t fight for their priorities, that on-site colleagues gossiped about them, and that project changes were not communicated to them properly.

Obviously, these worries will impact how an individual reads a written communication and can affect how they perform and how they feel connected to the company culture.

Remote Communication Is Healthier for Some Employees

All that said, some employees will actually thrive in remote environments. It’s not only your less vocal colleagues, either. While remote teams seem like they could promote miscommunication or arguments, they can actually help the focus stay on the work.

When you’re on the phone or communicating through the email, you’re less likely to detect annoyances, including eye-rolling and other cues, which allow you to focus on the work and the work's content.

Remote employees can express their frustration without others noticing and move along in the work process without creating internal issues or causing a negative reaction.

Half the battle of reducing and resolving conflicts within remote teams is quite simply enhancing communication and employee confidence within the organization. Remote work isn’t why conflicts occur, though it can lead to increased confusion when not managed correctly.

7 Steps to Manage Conflict in Remote Teams

Conflicts and conflict resolution are part of every company. It’s very human, and companies are made up of humans, so there’s no avoiding it completely. If you react quickly and take concrete steps to find solutions, you, your team, and your company will be in a better position than hoping interpersonal or interdepartmental conflicts will resolve themselves.

Identify Gaps in Communication or Sources of Uncertainty

Start by identifying where remote communication is failing and what sources of conflict are common in your organization. These four common factors tend to lead to conflict in the remote workplace:

You may notice many of these sources of conflict intertwine. For example, a remote employee who does not receive the communication they need for a project leaves them uncertain about their role and overall goals.

Once you have the conflict source, you can take steps to solve it and ideally prevent it in the future.

Train Managers to Look for Behavioral Changes

Managers play a key role in conflict escalation and resolution. Unsurprisingly, those trained to identify and solve conflicts will be better off than those who cannot identify the symptoms. Not only will management fair better with some instruction, training, and insight into their teams, so will the team dynamic, the company, and the bottom line.

It can be helpful to watch for behavioral changes, as these may indicate a miscommunication is occurring, and conflict management may be necessary. A few examples of behavior changes include:

Much like you’d lean on physical cues to signal crucial changes in behavior while in-person, while these cues can’t replace casual, in-person contact, they are important to recognize.

We know you’re very busy and don’t always have time to notice small behavioral changes. However, noticing and addressing these changes can prevent major problems (like project delays and employee turnover) from surfacing in the future.

Encourage Employees to Assume Positive Intent

Most miscommunication is caused by employee perception. Understanding this and developing trust within your team can enable them to assume positive intent. This is helpful when you’re busy on another project resulting in a lack of communication or a curt response. Rather than viewing this as a personal slight, your employees will view it with positive intent and know it’s not personal.

As the manager, it can encourage and remind your remote teams to assume the sender's intent is positive and innocent.

However, if it becomes clear that there is a problem or conflict, temporarily stop communicating. Take a step back to gain perspective. Breathe. Then consider whether involving management or another mediator is necessary to reach a solution.

Professional disagreements happen. That’s not the problem here. We want to prevent conflict if possible, then keep it from escalating to a personal fight if a disagreement does occur.

Don’t Downplay Minor Problems.

It can be tempting to avoid conflict by downplaying an issue. What you’re actually doing is setting the stage for more problems and challenges with mediation.

Consider a scenario in which an employee decides their overreacting to a perceived problem or slight, and stays silent to keep the peace. Rather than addressing the issue, they’re actually normalizing the other person’s actions while delegitimizing their own feelings. Now consider what would happen should this dynamic continue. The peace-keeping employee most likely becomes increasingly disturbed and frustrated by the non-normalized behavior.

While it can be uncomfortable to address problems, you must model for and encourage your employees to address issues. Employees should have access to communication and problem-solving training, while managers must learn how to mediate and thoroughly address issues.

Develop a Clear Process for Handling Conflict

You have processes for everything else. Well, you need one for problem-solving and conflict resolution. Like every other scenario, this sets the stage, so you’re ready when conflict arises, and no one needs to panic. A sample process for remote teams dealing with conflict includes:

  1. Identify the problem: one or more remote team members explain that they’re having a disagreement and ask to schedule time with a mediator to discuss the problem(s).
  2. Hold a small summit: the disagreeing team members work with one or more mediators to address the problems and voice their concerns. All sides listen and look for ways to clarify or compromise on the issues.
  3. Follow up in writing: once an agreement is made, team members send the terms of the compromise via email for everyone to reference in the future.

Instead of bottling up problems or escalating conflicts, this process helps the entire team learn to identify problems and cleanly handle them without turning professional disagreements personal.

When your team has a conflict resolution process to follow, employees and managers can solve issues without escalating them to the CEO.

Create Goal-Focused Conflict Plans

This one may be a surprise to you if you’re new to leading a team. Many employees believe their managers expect all workers to like each other and get along. While this utopian scenario sounds nice, it’s not likely, especially the larger your organization grows. Personality clashes occur. Therefore, creating conflict resolution strategies that are goal-oriented can go further and last longer than expecting employees to become friendly.

It helps if you clarify the end goal of conflict resolution to the business up front, rather than forcing employees to pretend they get along.

Set Up Team-Building and Engagement Opportunities

You probably know that team-building is a great way to build communication and foster a group mentality in your organization. If you’re new to managing a remote workforce, you may be at a loss how this translates into a virtual world. One way to encourage team-building is to ensure your remote employees are involved in weekly updates, cross-department meetings, regular check-ins, and maybe even a water-cooler talk time to let people meet and chat about things other than work if they have a moment in their day.

One easy way to encourage engagement is during your weekly updates. Even if it takes less than 15 minutes, open with an ice breaker question (“what are you reading/watching/listening to this week?”) and give your remote team space to ask questions and learn after the updates. It’s easy to overlook, but these calls are essential for making your remote employees feel like they’re part of the team.

How Omnia Can Help

Omnia offers an easy-to-implement behavioral assessment so you can get started right away. Results are instant, digestible, and actionable. If you want even more insight, our team can provide you with an in-depth analysis of your assessment data. Remember: we’re here to help you improve your hiring and interview process so that your company continues to thrive!

As a leader, you’re expected to achieve company goals by effectively utilizing your most valuable resource - your team. So, how do you unlock their potential and guide them towards success? Honestly, you need to know your team to lead your team.

Getting to know your team on a deep level can take years of discussion and observation. But, it doesn’t have to work that way. You can learn all you need to know quickly by using a behavioral assessment.

What is Behavioral Assessment?

A behavioral assessment is a tool used to measure an employee’s personality traits related to expected job performance. This form of assessment will give you critical insight into what makes each employee tick. The knowledge gained will enable you to form and leverage highly effective teams that achieve great results.

While data from a behavioral assessment can help you handle every part of the employee life cycle, let’s look specifically at how the results can impact how you train, communicate and lead.

How Results Improve Your Training

The behavioral assessment results will reveal both your employees’ strengths and potential challenge areas. While you should always cater to their strengths, knowing where they can improve facilitates personalized development plans

You’ll also learn how they process and adapt to new information, which informs the method and pace you should use to train them effectively. Incrementally, you can help each employee grow professionally and add more value to your team.

Results in Action: Training a Remote Workforce

When your team isn’t in the office, and training needs to be conducted virtually, the behavioral assessment data will help you make decisions such as:

How Results Shape Your Communication Style

The behavioral assessment results will tell you exactly how you should tailor your communication style to each employee. You’ll know if they respond better to facts and figures, or if they’re more captivated by personal stories and emotional appeals. You’ll also have a sense of how much information they can handle at one time and what support they’ll need to process it. 

Besides, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll understand how they handle stress. That means you can craft your message so that it provides the necessary information and avoids overwhelming them.

Results in Action: Communicating with a Remote Workforce

You need to communicate with your remote employees as much as you would if they were in the office, perhaps more so. The results from their behavioral assessments will help you determine:

How Results Guide Your Leadership

The behavioral assessment results will help you get the most out of your team. You’ll have a clear understanding of what drives each employee, how fast they work, and if they’re a rule follower or a rule stretcher.

You’ll also understand how much recognition to give them and how much oversight they require to get the job done. You’ll also know how they interact with people, making it easier to facilitate collaboration with other employees with complementary work styles.

Results in Action: Leading a Remote Workforce

Your remote employees need an effective leader that encourages and empowers them to accomplish the company’s objectives. The behavioral assessment results will help you:

Leaders: Assess Yourself

If you want to be the best leader possible, you need to understand your own personality traits. When you think about yourself, you’ll naturally have some blindspots. Using an objective measure like a behavioral assessment will give you a clear and true picture of your leadership strengths, opportunities for improvement, and general tendencies. The bottom line: by really tuning in to who you are, you’ll be better able to understand and guide others.

How Omnia Can Help

What we’ve covered here is just the tip of the iceberg. An Omnia behavioral assessment will provide you with a full understanding of each employee’s personality -- including your own! That understanding is the key that unlocks your team’s potential, driving your workforce to higher levels of success.

The Omnia behavioral assessment is easy to implement. Employees take an inventory of themselves by using an adjective checklist. Next, our analysts will create a detailed report discussing each employee’s results and what they mean for you as a leader. Then, all you’ll need to do is act on the insight and watch your team become stronger than ever.

Final Thoughts

Whether your workforce is remote, in the office, or a mix, you need to truly know each employee to effectively lead them. An Omnia behavioral assessment will give you the knowledge that you need quickly and easily. That way, you can connect with your team on a deep level and successfully fulfill the company’s mission together.

As more and more organizations shift to using a remote workforce, the traditional in-person interview is also shifting into a virtual context. Remote interviews may not seem like they’re all that different from a physical interview. Still, they introduce many factors that can make them more difficult to manage if a company doesn’t put a lot of thought into implementing them. 

Fortunately, several strategies are easy to put in place and will make remote interviews more likely to select the ideal candidate.

5 Strategies for Conducting Successful Remote Interviews

1. Use Pre-Employment Assessments

One valuable step to include in any remote interview process is leveraging tools to narrow down the candidate pool to qualified and suitable applicants. Pre-employment assessments are incredibly useful in this regard because they can help organizations screen out candidates who lack the competencies necessary for the position. Cognitive testing measures a candidate’s ability to think abstractly, comprehend new ideas and solve problems, which is often critical to success in any new position. Behavioral assessments allow interviewers to determine which candidates are likely to be a good long-term fit for an organization. These assessments measure a candidate’s core traits and intrinsic motivators. Hiring managers gain valuable insight into fit for the job and how to effectively manage and motivate each employee once they are on board.

The results of these tests can be used together as part of the initial decision-making process. For example, if someone possesses all the hard skills necessary for success in the role, but exhibits behavior that suggests they will quickly be looking for another job, it might make sense to prioritize other candidates. These assessments are easy to implement remotely and can be used as a screening tool to determine who moves on to more time-intensive interviews.

2. Select the Right Communication Tools

When an organization commits to remote interviews, it needs to make sure it has the infrastructure to support that process. Many video conferencing platforms are available to choose from, but it’s a good idea for the company to choose one and stick with it. This helps to avoid any implementation problems and ensures that everyone involved in the interview process knows how to use the technology.

Some organizations may get by with a phone call or straightforward video conferencing software, but some positions may require additional features. For example, a candidate for a programming job may need access to developmental tools to complete a sample project as part of the interview process. It’s important to understand what tools will be needed ahead of time so that the interview process can be designed around the organization’s technology.

3. Communicate Details to the Candidate

Going through the interview process is stressful, but the stress can be even greater when the applicant must use unfamiliar or complicated technology. Organizations need to be clear when providing interview details. If the applicant has to download a special application to conduct the interview or be in a specific location (such as a quiet room rather than a bustling cafe), that information needs to be communicated early and clearly in the interview process.

If assessments need to be completed before a live remote interview, the interviewer must provide reasonable deadlines to ensure that testing is completed in time for them to evaluate the results. They should also provide a resource list if video conferencing software is unfamiliar or complicated to launch. For example, many companies are using Zoom, which is simple to set up and use, while Skype is robust but requires all users to have an account and software downloaded. This ensures that any potential problems are sorted out before the interview begins and avoids losing precious time to troubleshoot technical issues. 

4. Involve the Right People

Having more people involved in the hiring process generally leads to better outcomes. According to a UK-based Behavioural Insights Team study, having more than one person involved in evaluating a candidate is far more likely to result in a good hire. In cases where applicants are very similarly qualified and have few “easy” differentiators, just involving two people in the interview process increases the likelihood of making the best choice by almost ten percent. Having four people involved improves the odds by almost twenty percent. 

That’s because having different perspectives involved can reduce the chance of bias and raise concerns that a single person might overlook. However, the challenge when it comes to remote interviews is determining when having more people involved will make communication difficult. Hosting a video conferencing meeting with a large group increases the likelihood of interruptions and can make it difficult for the candidate to know who to focus on. When possible, the remote interview process should only involve the core team that will make the final decision. Having an agenda and communicating who speaks when is also helpful. 

5. Use a Structured Approach

The same soft skills required in in-person interviews are necessary for remote interviews. It’s important to have a system in place to give the interview structure. That could include assigning specific questions to different interviewers or implementing a system for recognizing people who want to speak (such as a raised hand icon). The person leading the interview needs to have a very organized approach to ensure the conversation runs smoothly.

As with a live interview, it’s imperative to plan. Rather than relying on off-the-cuff Q&A, a structured interview focuses on specific areas and ensures that the interviewer gets the information they need from the candidate. 90% of all questions asked during an interview should be related to the position or the company. Having behavioral assessment data can be especially helpful in pre-planning because the interviewer can ask questions better to evaluate the organization’s cultural fit.

Conduct Better Remote Interviews with Omnia Assessments

In addition to distilling the applicants' pool to the most qualified and best fit before the interview, assessment data is incredibly helpful for guiding the interview process. It saves time and resources but cutting out unnecessary questions and identifying the top candidates. Whether it’s measuring an applicant’s overall mental aptitude with cognitive testing or getting a better picture of their personality with behavioral testing, Omnia assessments can help organizations improve their interview techniques and make better overall hiring decisions.

To learn more about incorporating our scientifically validated assessments into your remote interviews, contact our team today.

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