How to Design Questions for Video Interviewing

October 16th, 2017
Adam Benjamin
Video Interviewing

Do you remember when you bought your first smartphone? Or when you swapped your Walkman for a tiny iPod? If you’re anything like me, you spent the first 24 hours trying to figure out how to switch on the machine! But after just a few days of use, we adapt to make the most of the new platform and the old way of doing things seem remarkably antiquated.  I always think of analogies like this when I work with new HireVue customers, who can (at first) be somewhat nervous about such a steep change in their recruitment process. How do we make the most of this new technology? How can we create an amazing candidate experience without affecting our ability to quickly assess new applicants? The good news is, just like the switch from a Nokia to an iPhone didn’t mean you couldn’t use a phone anymore, everything you know about recruitment still holds true! If you’re worried that using HireVue will make your skills redundant - don’t be. Our technology simply helps you harness those skills in a way that creates a more engaging experience for your candidates. Nonetheless, just as the iPhone had functionalities you needed to learn to make the most of your new smartphone, there are some additional HireVue features you should consider when thinking about how to adapt your current interview questions.

1) Make it Personal

You can ask your video interview questions using text, but why not take full advantage of the technology and record yourself (or one of your colleagues) asking the questions? Candidates always receive this extra effort positively, and it helps to create a more personalized, engaging experience. If you find that recording every question takes up too much time, I’d suggest recording your first and last questions, so that the candidate receives that personal touch at the beginning and end of each interview. 

2) Embrace the Hypothetical

Another cool feature we offer is the ability to record scenarios. This works great in situational-judgement tests or for scenario-based questions. For example: have you ever recruited for a customer service role? Rather than describing a hypothetical situation, why not record an employee taking a mock-call from an unhappy customer, and ask the candidate to describe how they would have handled things differently? These kinds of questions will help you understand how they’ll react in a real-life situation, and more accurately predict their ability to adapt quickly to your company. 

3) Give Candidates Variety

Consider mixing up how the candidate responds. Video answers are popular due to the way they help you get to know your candidates better and assess culture fit. But did you know HireVue also offers a range of other response types that may be more appropriate for some questions? For basic pre-screening, try using our multiple-choice format when you need a quick “either/or” answer, or our open-ended ‘essay’ format if you require a longer free-text answer. For more complex assessments, try our multiple-selection and ranking questions – these even allow you to pre-score the “correct” answers on the back-end, which saves your recruiters time later on. We also recently added a new “screen share” format which allows candidates to share their screen and show off their demo skills – for example, you can watch in real-time your candidate setting up a PowerPoint presentation, or even a pivot table in Excel!

4) Optimize Your Question Structure

It’s also worth thinking about the general structure of your questions. I normally recommend 5-8 ‘significant’ questions, which will help you keep the overall interview to under 30 minutes. For your first question, consider asking an “ice-breaker” question that helps the candidate adapt to the new video format. Questions like “Take a moment to introduce yourself”, or “Why do you want to work at…?” are good starter questions that the candidate is likely prepared for. For your final question, I normally suggest using what I call an “anything else” question. The “anything else” question is open-ended and gives them an opportunity to cover off anything they may have missed. Since the candidate cannot divert conversation topics (since the questions are pre-set and fixed) or ask their own questions, it’s important to ensure they feel they had the chance to fully express themselves. Consider asking something along the lines of, “What have we missed?” or “Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?” before ending the interview. Unlike a phone or Skype interview, you don’t have to assess every single question. I often hear recruiters complain about wasting 30+ minutes speaking with candidates who within 2 minutes they realize is unsuitable for the role. With video interviewing, you should select 1 or 2 “essential questions” that you can skip straight to when assessing. Then you only need to continue screening candidates that rated highly on those particular questions. But remember: these essential questions should never be your first (ice-breaker) or last (anything-else) questions!

Benefits for Recruiters and Candidates

By creating video interviews that empower your recruiters to screen candidates better and faster, you also respect the candidate’s time and overall recruitment experience. Just as few of you would swap your latest smartphone for the old Blackberry models (even if, like me, you were a huge fan of their keyboards!), you’ll soon be wondering how you ever did recruitment without HireVue.  It’s worth spending just a little bit of time thinking about the order and type of questions you can ask - your recruiters and candidates will definitely thank you for it.

About the Author: 

Adam Benjamin.jpgAdam Benjamin is a Professional Services Consultant at HireVue. He focuses mainly on the EMEA Region (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), helping to drive adoption and transform hiring at large, international enterprises. Find him on LinkedIn.