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Remote Recruitment & Outsourcing

9 Common Mistakes When Interviewing Remote Employees and How to Avoid Them

Sharon Koifman
Founder and Remote CEO at DistantJob - - - 3 min. to read

Having a solid recruitment process, trusting your instincts, and evaluating for culture fit are all aspects that you need to consider when hiring remotely. However, from my experience in building and managing remote teams for more than 15 years, I’ve realized that most remote employee interview mistakes come from underestimating the fact that hiring a remote worker differs significantly from hiring an on-site employee.

Remote roles demand a unique set of skills that not everyone possesses. It’s a misconception to assume that a competent employee will automatically excel in a remote setting. Consider this: working independently for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, isn’t suitable for everyone. Some individuals thrive on constant coworker interaction, while others require frequent supervision to stay on track.

If you’ve experienced the disappointment of a promising hire turning out to be unsuitable, you’re not alone. CareerBuilder reports that 74% of employers have made a wrong hire. Even the most prestigious companies have faced recruitment setbacks.

However, these experiences don’t have to be your norm.

In this article, I’ll highlight the most common mistakes that recruiters often make while interviewing remote candidates. Each mistake is not only identified but also paired with practical solutions, from what we’ve experienced firsthand in the past years.

7 Mistakes To Avoid When Interviewing Global Remote Employees

To improve your remote hiring process, here are seven critical mistakes to avoid during interviews:

1. Not Having a Remote Interview Process

Rule number one: forget everything you know about interviews. The most common remote employee interview mistake I’ve seen is that employers, hiring managers, HR teams, however you want to call it, think that the remote interview should replicate the onsite process. And the problem with this is that you don’t fully grasp the skills and key elements remote employees need to have.

Take time to evaluate your current process and see how you can adapt it for remote candidates. This advice is especially for those who have never hired remote employees. 

In an onsite setting, hiring consisted of interviewing candidates in the office and making different evaluations. It was easier to come up with the idea of a candidate based on their body language and their expressions. In a remote environment, evaluating such things is more complex, but it’s not impossible. You need to keep a close eye on how candidates communicate and whether they will be the right fit for the role and the company. Here’s how you can improve your hiring process: 

  • Design an interview process that works exclusively for remote candidates. Make sure it has different rounds of interviews, including group interviews. 
  • Decide how you will evaluate the candidate’s skills (I’ll talk about this point later)
  • Make sure you have the necessary tools and technology for the interviews.

 2. Ignoring Technological Proficiency

A few years ago, when I started getting strongly involved in this remote work world, I remember that phone interviews were common. Now, with all the new tools and technologies, it would be a huge mistake to think that a phone call is good enough for evaluating remote candidates, right? 

The same thing goes for Zoom calls without the camera! They are the same thing as phone calls. You hear the voices of the candidates, but you don’t get to establish a deeper connection or see their facial expressions.

Don’t underestimate the need to evaluate facial expressions, body language, and the visual feedback that offers a glimpse into who this person is. It should be an essential part of your decision-making process.

Additionally, before interviewing remote employees, make sure you have all the right tools to actually manage them once you start hiring them. This means project management tools, communication tools, HR tools, etc. 

3. Having No Idea Who You’re Interviewing 

Has it ever happened to you that you completely forgot you had an interview, and 10 minutes before the video call, you start looking at the candidate’s CV? Believe me; this happens more often than you would think.

It’s funny to read articles directed to candidates about how to prepare for a remote interview. Having a job interview is basically the same as studying for a final exam. But what about interviewers?

Just think about this. What’s the worst thing that can happen to a candidate? Not getting the job, right? But what’s the worst thing that can happen to an employer? Hiring the wrong candidate and losing a lot of money.

When you schedule an interview, make sure you have time to study who you’ll be interviewing. Remote employee interview mistakes often happen when you are not sure what to look for in candidates. Therefore, analyze the candidate’s CV, their LinkedIn profile, learn more about their professional path , etc. This will help you craft a questionnaire exclusively for the candidate based on what you’re interested in learning about them. 

4. Judging Too Quickly 

It’s easy to think the best candidate is the one with the best CV. When preparing for the interview or even during the interview, be mindful not to have any preconceived ideas based on the candidate’s CV. Everyone has a story, and at the end of the day, hiring the right candidate isn’t necessarily about hiring the one with the best academic record or professional trajectory. It’s about hiring someone who has the skills to perform, passion, and the willingness to grow.

Unconscious bias is something that all interviews and HR teams need to learn how to get rid of. A Yale University study revealed the sad truth about the difficulties for teams to hire objectively. The study gave both male and female scientists training courses to learn how to hire objectively, and they failed. The results revealed that they still preferred to hire men over women, viewing them as more skilled and even offering them $4000 more per year in salary.

The best way to get rid of the unconscious bias is by keeping an open mind after and during the interview. In some cases, some CVs clearly don’t make the cut, but in other cases, someone might interest you, but you find something odd on the CV making you unsure. Instead of rejecting it because they didn’t work for a year (for example), give them the opportunity by interviewing them. You might be shocked by their answers. 

5. Evaluating the Same Skills Between Remote and Onsite Employees

The best way to hire the right remote candidate is by changing the narrative you have about remote employees. As mentioned above, hiring a remote employee is not the same as hiring an onsite employee. They need a different skill set.

When working at an office, employees know they must arrive at 9 am and leave at 5 pm. They also know that you tend to go through casual walks around the office with the intention to see what exactly they are doing. As they don’t have this pressure, remote workers need to learn how to be disciplined on their own to deliver results. Additionally, some of them can’t work in isolated environments because they become depressed!

These are some of the skills that most remote workers need to have to succeed in any role:

  • Good communication skills
  • Autonomy
  • Time management
  • Collaboration skills
  • Adaptability to changing environments
  • Empathy
  • Self-motivation  

6. Asking the Wrong Questions 

Another of the most common remote employee interview mistakes is asking the wrong questions. When you’re hiring for any role, whether in the IT industry, marketing, sales, or any other type of profession, there are certain skills you need to assess. It’s easy to write down a questionnaire, create different types of tests, and assess candidates’ technical knowledge. The hard part is evaluating the soft skills, also known as personality traits.

Many new remote hires don’t work out because they can’t adapt to the company culture. They feel overwhelmed and can’t collaborate with the team, turning the hiring experience into a nightmare.

To avoid this, you could have different interviews evaluating specific things. In one, you could focus more on the technical part, in another interview you could evaluate how candidates interact with other group members, and lastly assess the culture fit aspect. Evaluating for culture fit is mostly about figuring out if that candidate is someone you’ll be happy to see and work with daily. If your answer is ‘no,’ then the best thing to do is to keep looking. 

7. Failing to Evaluate Cultural Fit

Cultural fit is a crucial element in the success of remote teams. In a remote environment, where physical interactions are limited, the alignment of values, work ethics, and communication styles becomes even more critical.

A candidate who fits well with your company’s culture can seamlessly integrate with the team, contribute positively to team dynamics, and adapt to your organizational norms and expectations. Conversely, overlooking cultural fit can lead to miscommunications, reduced team cohesion, and overall dissatisfaction, affecting both the individual’s performance and team morale.


Start by clearly defining your company’s culture, including its values, mission, and preferred work style. During interviews, use behavioral questions to explore their past experiences and alignment with these values, especially focusing on adaptability and teamwork. Incorporate scenario-based questions to understand their problem-solving in contexts similar to your work environment. It’s also beneficial to include potential team members in the interview process to gauge interpersonal dynamics and team fit.

8. Rushing The Hiring Process

Quick hiring choices can overlook crucial aspects of a candidate’s fit and potential for the role.

To mitigate this, I recommend implementing a thorough vetting process. This should include assigning trial tasks that closely resemble the actual work the candidate will be doing. These tasks offer valuable insights into their real-world skills and adaptability to your specific work environment.

Also, consider conducting second interviews. These follow-up interviews allow for deeper discussions and provide an opportunity to address any uncertainties or questions that arose from the initial interview or trial task. This comprehensive approach helps ensure that the final hiring decision is well-informed and considers the candidate’s full range of abilities and fit for the role

9. Not Balancing Candidate and Manager Needs in Interviews

Over a decade of managing global teams and conducting countless interviews has taught me a vital lesson: interviews are a crucial juncture for both candidates and managers. While a candidate seeks a suitable job, a manager is on the hunt for the right individual to fill a role.

The manner in which we conduct these interviews – how we communicate, treat candidates, and manage the interview process – is a direct reflection of our company’s values and ethos. Unprofessional behaviors like poor treatment of candidates, tardiness, or appearing distracted not only undermine the interview’s effectiveness but also tarnish the company’s reputation.

Make sure you are clear with the candidate what the next steps of the hiring process will be. If their candidate is not what you are looking for, the least you could do is send them an email thanking them for their time and continue with your search. 

Now You’re Ready to Interview and Hire Global Remote Employees Successfully

Hiring remote employees has become an optimate solution for most businesses looking to increase their talent pool. However, this solution can become an obstacle when companies are unsure how to evaluate and interview potential remote employees effectively. 

By avoiding these mistakes, it will be easier for you to find and hire the candidate that will best suit your needs and requirements. But if the hiring process is still too much, you can always rely on the expertise of remote recruitment agencies like us. 

At DistantJob, we concentrate on identifying and introducing international IT professionals to companies across the U.S. and Canada. By employing former IT professionals and training them to recruit in this space, they are better equipped to vet all potential candidates. This saves companies time and money when searching the globe for a new team member.

Contact us to learn more about our unique global recruiting process and the advantages of hiring international remote employees.

Sharon Koifman

Sharon Koifman, the founder and remote president at DistantJob, specializes in recruiting top remote developers and spearheading remote workforce strategies. Sharon's approach combines cutting-edge remote recruitment practices with a deep commitment to building effective, globally distributed teams.

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