During a video interview, each interview question is spoken to the candidate in its entirety, (as well as being presented on screen), before candidates are given a set time to provide their answer. This differs to a face to face interview where the interviewer interjects during the candidate’s answer with follow up questions. The advantage of the video interview approach is full transparency and 100% consistency in questioning between candidates; this ensures an objective process.
The difference in approach should be considered when designing video interview questions; key design pointers for different types of interview questions are discussed below.
Writing Different Types of Video Interview Questions
Whether you are writing past-example or situational competency questions the starting point is always the competency you are assessing. Look carefully at the behaviours that this competency is comprised of. Your questions must seek evidence from your candidates of these said behaviours.
Both types of questions should also be:
- Open (i.e. cannot be answered with a yes / no answer). Open questions typically start with a ‘why/what/when/how/why’
- Jargon-free - take care not to use organisation specific language that some candidates may not understand
- Non-leading - avoid indicating what you are looking for in a candidate’s answer within the question
- Accessible to everyone i.e. not so specific that you make it impossible for some to answer
- Transparent - ask a clear question rather than trying to trick candidates or trip them up
- Of appropriate length - video interview questions should be succinct as candidates may struggle to process a lengthy question in this format
1. Past Example Competency Questions
These types of questions seek examples from candidates of experiences in their past. They typically start with ‘Tell me about a time when…’ or ‘Give me an example of…’
When writing these types of questions for a video interview it is useful to write a main question stem, followed by one probe which guides the candidate to provide the appropriate information. The ‘stem’ is the initial question where a candidate is asked to provide an example and the ‘probe’ is an additional question which links to the main one and guides the candidate’s response. Video interview questions which don’t incorporate this additional probe risk answers which are not on point (i.e. stray from the competency/behaviours that are being sought), are too brief and lacking in detail. It is difficult to then rate these answers as the evidence required is just not there.
Here is an example;
Competency - ‘Persuading and Influencing’
Definition - “Promotes ideas and gains agreement from others at all levels through influencing, persuading and negotiating”
Interview question stem and probe - “Tell me about a time when you successfully persuaded a customer to follow your approach when they were initially unwilling. How did you change their view?”
2. Situational Competency Questions
Situational interview questions, whilst still linked to competencies, seek to understand how you would respond when faced with a particular situation. When writing these questions for a video interview it is important to write a relatively short and concise scenario and then a specific question asking what the candidate would do.
Here is an example;
Competency - ‘Teamwork’
Definition - “Listens to, supports and works effectively with others to achieve common goals; resolves issues and conflict within groups.”
Interview question - “You are working with some colleagues on a piece of work that is due to be completed in a few hours. Two of your colleagues are arguing about the best approach to take. What would you do in this situation?”
With both of these question formats, always review your question once written to check i) that a good answer would provide the relevant behavioural evidence for your competency and ii) that the question is concise and appropriate for video format.