Tips for a Successful Remote Technical Interview in 2020

women smiling while working with her computer

When it comes to remote interviews, there is a lot to discuss. Some points to clear up: 1) No, remote interviews don’t have the same structure as onsite interviews, and 2) Yes, cameras are necessary. If you started on this remote working journey, you will soon realize that conducting a remote technical interview is not a piece of cake.   

As a remote recruitment agency with more than 10 years on the game, we know how to identify candidates who are not only perfect for each company but also have the remote skills needed. Skills such as communication abilities, self-dependence, time management, among others. Not to brag but one of our superpowers is that we conduct excellent interviews. 

But we are not selfish and we want to share some of the tips that we have learned over the years to help you conduct remote interviews successfully. 

1. Set Clear Expectations 

Remote technical interviews need more prep than onsite interviews. There are several factors you need to keep in mind to have the right setup.


If a candidate lives in the same country as you, this is not a problem. You clear a space in your schedule, see if they are available, and that’s it. Yet, if they live in another country with a different time zone, you might need to do the interview during hours you usually wouldn’t, for example, in the afternoon.


Where is the interview taking place? Is it going to be by video call, a phone call, or instant messages? There are thousands of different apps and platforms where remote interviews take place, so candidates need to know all this with anticipation.  


It’s always good for candidates to know who is making the interview. Whether it’s the HR team or the owner of the company. 

2. Always go for Video Interviews

Mental note for you: Always have the interviews by video call. Talking to someone by email or by the phone is very different from seeing them on a camera and seeing their facial expressions. Besides, video calls are the best way to relate with candidates and employees remotely. 

According to Software Advice, 60% of hiring managers and recruiters prefer to do remote interviews by video. Many platforms and apps are great tools for conducting remote interviews and connecting better with your candidates.

3. Be Prepared 

Whether you are going to make the interview by Zoom or Skype, make sure the platform works well. Test the microphone, the video, also make sure that your internet connection is stable. The worst you can do is wait until the last moment to find out your mic isn’t working, or the platform needs updates. 

Location is also something to have in mind. Quiet spaces do make a difference in remote interviews. Seek a quiet spot in your house, far away from the playroom (if you have little kids). Or go to a nearby coffee shop with a good internet connection and few people.

Remote culture ebook

4. Don’t Improvise – Prepare Your Questions

You know the type of employee you are seeking, so why preparing the questions? Well, although you might be good at improvising, don’t take this step for granted. Question prep is useful, especially when you know what type of employee you want in your team and what kind of answers you want to hear when asking technical questions. 

Recruiting great talent is a process. Don’t try asking a hundred questions about everything at the same time. At DistantJob, even though we headhunt and hire easily, we like separating things a bit. On the one hand, we ask questions to see if a candidate has the technical skills; on the other hand, we also make sure that candidates will be a good fit for the company. And this doesn’t always happen during the same interview. 

Bonus tip: Go for team interviews as well! It’s useful to have other team members interacting with candidates. And after the interview, you can discuss your thoughts about the candidate and see if you are all on the same page. 

If you need some inspiration on what skills to look for in a remote employee, our marketing director Luis Magalhaes, has come to the rescue. Check out the video below:

5. Set the Stage During the Interview 

Although we are proud defenders of the video-interview movement, we know it’s never the same to meet the person physically. But, this doesn’t mean that during video interviews, you won’t be able to connect with candidates. This mainly depends on how good you are at conducting technical interviews. 

Setting the stage doesn’t mean to bring up candles and put some nice music on. It means to talk as if you were having the interview in the same room. Keep in mind that candidates might be nervous and that not everyone loves cameras, so help them feel comfortable to answer your questions the best way they can. 

6. Asking Technical Questions 

This tip applies especially for those trying to hire developers. There are plenty of ways to test technical abilities remotely. This will be easy if you have a strong technical background and understand what you are asking. 

Live coding tests: This is one of the most popular ways of testing dev’s abilities. You can set a project, problem, or a specific task, and through a screen-sharing option, you can watch how a candidate comes up with the solution. There are several tools to do this, such as Git Hub, Google docs, Miro, among others. 

Technical questions: With technical questions, you get the best of both worlds. Not only you are aware of how much they know but also how they express themselves. If they can communicate clearly and explain or are doubtful and their answers seem memorized. If you have more devs on the team, you could ask the candidate to solve something they solved in the past and observe the process.

7. Hire Faster, and Better

If you want to skip the process of hiring remote developers because you have a lot on your plate, you don’t have the technical background, or you had too many bad experiences, we want to help you. We promise you this: with our help you’ll be able to see your new developer in two weeks. Not any kind of developer, though. But a really talented developer who will adjust perfectly to your company. We want every company around the world to have the best tech talent at an affordable price. 

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Gabriela Molina

Gabriela Molina

Gabriela Molina is the writer and executive editor of the DistantJob blog. As a former freelance journalist, she has covered a wide range of topics throughout her career. She was featured in Datasciencentral, Simpleprogrammer, to name a few. She is currently specializing in the areas of technology, leadership, and remote work.