In the quest to find the most effective techniques for assessing potential job candidates remotely, we reached out to nine seasoned professionals. They shared their top strategies, ranging from implementing virtual team puzzles to using skill and personality-assessment tests. Dive into their insights and enhance your remote recruitment process.

Implement Virtual Team Puzzles

Give candidates a shared online puzzle or challenge that requires teamwork to solve. This could be as easy as solving a puzzle with Google Docs or other collaboration software. Observe how they collaborate, exchange ideas, and communicate to find solutions. It helps you see how well they can work together, much like an online game. 

With this method, you can evaluate teamwork and technical skills remotely. It’s an enjoyable and practical method of determining whether an applicant will work well in a virtual team and on collaborative projects requiring problem-solving and teamwork.

Ozzi Jarvinen, Founder of, Iglu

Assess Communication Skills Thoroughly

Evaluate communication skills from different angles. For example, because you cannot meet face-to-face, use written and verbal communication to test candidates’ collaboration skills and professionalism. 

Are they timely in email responses? Do they use proper spelling and grammar? When you speak to them on the phone, can they hold a conversation? During video calls, do they maintain eye contact and maintain a professional presence? Answering these questions will help you get a complete view of what it might be like to work with this person.

Kelli Anderson, Career Coach, Resume Seed

Request Work Samples and References

Requesting work examples or portfolios from prospective employees is a useful method for assessing potential job candidates remotely. This gives you the chance to view their prior work and get a firsthand assessment of their abilities and knowledge. 

To learn more about the performance and work ethic of the individual, you can also contact references, former employers, and coworkers. Through the combination of various methods, such as work samples, assessments, and video interviews, you may obtain an in-depth understanding of the candidate’s abilities and suitability for the job at hand.

James Owen, Co-Founder and Director, Click Intelligence

Employ Paid-Test Projects

A paid-test project is one of the best ways I have seen to evaluate candidates. Not only does it give you an idea of their work project and organization, but it also weeds out those candidates that lack self-motivation and are hoping to just charm you in an interview. Sometimes, this can be as robust as a contract-to-hire role. But even in immediate-hire situations, it’s nice to take 48 hours to work on and evaluate a project.

Trevor Ewen, COO, QBench

importance of paid test projects

Utilize Skill-Assessment Tests

It is generally difficult to distinguish in an interview situation who is merely a capable communicator and who will actually have the skills and abilities to do the job effectively. So, for the remote selection of candidates, when there is an added degree of separation, it becomes even more challenging.

In remote-hiring situations, I would definitely recommend the use of skill-assessment tests that simulate real job tasks, enabling you to gauge a candidate’s practical abilities.

These skills tests are now widely available for online platforms and provide customized assessments that reflect the role’s specific requirements, offer realistic scenarios, and are time-limited to assess performance under pressure.

AI-driven data analytics ensure objective assessment and evaluation, which can then be used as feedback or be useful in the onboarding process.

This use of technology is now crucial in interviewing and incredibly beneficial in skill-based hiring.

Katharine Gallagher, Professional Growth Specialist- Education, Career, Recruitment, Productivity, Business,

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Combine Skills Test and Video Interviews

When assessing job candidates remotely, it’s effective to incorporate a practical skills test relevant to the job for which they’re applying. This allows you to see their work in action and assess problem-solving abilities firsthand. 

Also, prioritize video interviews to gauge communication skills and cultural fit. Ensure you observe their level of engagement, how they handle unexpected questions, and their comfort with technology, as these are critical indicators of how they’ll perform in a remote work environment. 

Finally, references are gold—make sure to check them to get an outside perspective on the candidate’s past performance and work ethic.

Alex Stasiak, CEO and Founder, Startup House

Conduct Brief Telephone Interviews

A simple telephone interview is an easy and quick way to assess an applicant’s suitability for a job. You often won’t need to pre-arrange calls because they are so short. In a few minutes, you can ascertain the applicant’s communication skills and interest in doing the job. 

One of the most effective questions I’ve found is to ask, “What is most important to you in your next job?” They often tell you what they genuinely think rather than what they think you want to hear.

Geoff Newman, Founder,

telephone interview for remote candidates

Apply Structured Behavioral Interviews

An effective technique I recommend for assessing potential job candidates remotely is utilizing structured behavioral interviews. These interviews involve asking candidates about their past experiences and behaviors in specific work-related situations.

By focusing on their previous actions and responses, you can gain valuable insights into their problem-solving abilities, interpersonal skills, and overall suitability for the role. Structured behavioral interviews provide a standardized framework for evaluating candidates, ensuring a fair and consistent assessment process.

This approach helps identify individuals who have a track record of success and align with the company’s values and requirements, even when conducting remote interviews. It’s a critical tool in our recruitment process, ensuring we make informed and effective hiring decisions.

Bruno Gavino, Founder, CEO, CodeDesign

Use Skill and Personality-Assessment Tests

Take advantage of skill and personality-assessment tests as part of your candidate screening and selection process. These can be developed fairly quickly and easily in-house, and there are a number of existing third-party options that are very effective if you’d rather go that route. 

Technical-skill assessments, especially, can be a very valuable way to gauge the candidate’s potential to perform the duties associated with the role. Personality assessments, meanwhile, are an excellent way to determine their cultural fitness, especially when used with a video interview and other conversations. 

By utilizing a variety of employee-assessment strategies, you can gain a more complete picture of the candidate and how they may fit into your team.

Rob Boyle, Marketing Operations Director, Airswift


Evaluating potential job candidates remotely demands a versatile approach. Techniques such as virtual team puzzles, thorough communication assessments, work samples, and paid-test projects offer multifaceted insights. Skill-assessment tests and structured behavioral interviews bring objectivity to the selection process. Combining practical skills tests with video interviews ensures a comprehensive evaluation, emphasizing communication and cultural fit. Brief telephone interviews provide quick glimpses into candidates’ suitability. Skill and personality-assessment tests, whether developed in-house or third-party, add depth to screening. Employing these nine effective techniques enhances the remote recruitment process, ensuring optimal choices for job candidates in various roles.

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