As the number of vaccinated workers across the country increases, many businesses may soon have the opportunity to safely reopen. In the meantime, remote work will continue to be a reality  — and so will remote interviews.

The switch from in-person to virtual interviews was among the pandemic’s most drastic changes. Last July employers predicted that an increase in virtual interviewing would be the most common permanent workplace change brought by the crisis. And now, almost a year later, new research from Indeed finds that over 50% of job seekers say that they feel virtual interviews are the best way for them to present themselves authentically in the hiring process.

Of course there are differences between meeting through a screen and in person. But this need not be a problem: there are ways you can effectively establish a personal connection with job candidates virtually. Here are five tips for conducting remote interviews that are both productive and memorable.

1. Start with a skills test

A skills-assessment tool can be an effective way to find the best talent for a role, helping you hone in on the most qualified candidates and maintain a healthy volume of applicants. 

Virtual hiring tools, such as Indeed Hiring Platform, allow you to create both simple and advanced screener questions, with the option to choose an existing assessment or build a custom one. 

Candidates who successfully pass the screening are then invited to interview for the role. This eliminates prolonged back-and-forth communication and can help assuage any fears the candidate might have of getting ghosted (when one party vanishes from the interview process without a trace).

2. Send an informative invitation

Before the pandemic, a candidate would arrive at your office and wait in the lobby to meet their interviewer. Now that everything is virtual, it’s important to send a detailed calendar invitation with the date and time of the interview, as well as instructions for how to attend the virtual meeting. Outlining expectations for the interview, such as dress code and the duration of the interview, can ensure candidates arrive prepared.

Does the candidate need a link or access code for the digital meeting room or to download specific software? If so, make sure the invitation sets them up for success by providing all the details in a reasonable time frame.

3. Don’t lose your connection

One of the more challenging aspects of conducting remote interviews is the possibility of technical difficulties. It happens too often in video calls with colleagues, and it may happen during a virtual interview, as well. 

While a poor internet connection can come down to bad luck, ensuring that you have a fast enough connection to support real-time video can help prevent drops. You can control other variables by simply testing your equipment to ensure everything works

Take the time to try out your webcam and microphone by recruiting a friend or colleague for a practice interview. Make sure any wireless earbuds or headphones are charged. If there is an area in your home with a more stable internet connection, conduct the interview from that spot to ensure the best possible technological experience.

4. Be understanding if life happens

Working from home has brought a sense of humanity to the workplace by merging our personal and professional lives. 

Plenty of pets, children and spouses regularly make cameos on video calls — whether on purpose or by accident! If a candidate has a barking dog or a noisy roommate, show patience and understanding. 

Put their mind at ease by proactively letting them know that you realize these aren’t normal times and distractions may occur. Don’t be afraid to show your sense of humor should a situation arise, both to establish a personal connection with the candidate and to make the interview memorable.

5. Personalize the process

You may not have a physical meet-and-greet, but that doesn’t mean the human connection has to disappear. 

Conduct background research on the candidate, learning about their hobbies or digging into some of their past accomplishments and life experiences.

Start out with fun, “getting to know you” questions. Technology can feel like a barrier, so break the ice with some questions that will help the candidate open up and let their personality shine. 

What’s more, making the effort to truly get to know your candidate — both before and during the interview — will help them feel appreciated.

Remote interviews are the new reality

With the right tools and techniques, virtual interviews can be just as effective as in-person ones. Even though job candidates may not be able to safely visit an office quite yet, you can still provide them with a professional and personal candidate experience. 

Practicing these tips for conducting remote interviews allows you to meet and hire top talent from the comfort of your home.