Asking the right questions in the video interview isn’t rocket science. Using a new pre-selection method, like video interviewing, comes with new challenges, of course. But the results and added value that new methods might bring for your recruiting are worth considering. We have crafted a guideline of how to set up the right questions for a video interview.
What competencies does the candidate need to have?
A job description vacancy ususally contains at least 6-8 skills. We advise you to use the job description as the basis for putting together your video interview questions. BUT please consider the following:
Tip 1: Shorten. Which competencies do you want to cover in the pre-screening step of the recruiting process versus the subsequent steps?
Tip 2: Define the competencies. Do you and your hiring managers really have the same opinion on what “motivation” means? Take some time to define the meaning of each competency, with 2-3 bullet points, so that you may check during the interview. The time you spend on defining competencies will pay off when forming questions and when evaluating candidates.
Use what you already have
You do not have to reinvent the wheel in a video interview. You simply work with all of the questions that you have normally used in telephone or personal interviews:
- Biographical questions: they are based on the principle that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour. They are particularly useful if the applicant could already gain relevant (professional) experience with regard to a situation you want to ask him about. It only makes sense to ask your applicants questions about how they successfully convinced their boss of a certain idea if all of them have already gained work experience. Most situations, however, are already familiar to applicants with low work experience (conflicts in the team, resilience under time pressure, etc. )
- Situational questions: sketch a typical situation from everyday work life and ask the candidate how they would behave in this situation. This kind of question is particularly suitable for candidates with no experience in the relevant field of work.
- Technical questions: I think the name says it all 😉
- Questions related to the applicant’s interests , preferences , hobbies, learning goals , reason for the application , etc. are always useful!
Be as precise as possible
You can work with all the above-mentioned types of questions, BUT you need to be very precise when phrasing them.
Example: Questions like “What do you expect of your future work environment ?” or “What was your biggest challenge ?” do not work, because the answer will not be very precise and, therefore, will not reveal anything about a candidate’s suitability for a job.
Here, you should put the question into a certain context: “Please describe your biggest challenge within the last 2 years: What was the situation and what was the concrete challenge for you? What have you done to meet this challenge ? What was the result ?”
When putting together the interview questions, please ask yourself: Will I get exactly the information that I want (and need) to have, or will there be candidates who could misinterpret the question? If that is the case, you need to reconsider the phrasing of the question.
Always ask for the context
The example of the previous paragraph makes it perfectly clear: try to capture a so-called “full-sample behavior”. This means the applicants should give the context of their action and performance. This will give you the information needed to assess how much the candidate has actually performed in the situation and how he matches your criteria. (Read more about that topic here.)
Let the candidate do a working sample
Some feedback we get from our customers is related to working samples, which reveal a lot about a candidate’s job suitability. For example, when looking for a social media manager, ask the candidate to analyse the performance of your Facebook page with regard to factors that are particularly important to you. Then, ask them to give 2-3 specific ideas for further optimisation.
Explain why you are asking the questions you ask
The previous tips are mainly aimed at ensuring you get the information needed to best evaluate the skills of your applicants. We always recommend that our clients give background information to their questions. If you want the candidate to answer a questions in Spanish, for example, try to explain why: “Spanish is an essential part in your future daily business. Therefore, we are looking forward to hearing your answer to this question in Spanish.”
Do you have further tips and tricks? I’d be happy to hear more about that. Just leave me a comment here.
I hope these tips are useful for you to set up an interview guideline. Should you have any questions or would like to discuss further possibilities of using video interviewing, just drop me a line at