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Video Interviewing

How to Craft the Perfect Video Screening Questions for Candidates

Clare Hopping

How to Craft the Perfect Video Screening Questions for Candidates

questionsAsking the right questions is the key to hiring the best candidates. Here are some tricks to keep your hires engaged and your recruiters informed.

There’s a lot of debate when it comes to candidate screening: is it best to ask general, varied questions? Or hone in on one topic? Should you be extra friendly? Or take on a more assertive and challenging tone? Well, above all else, it’s essential that you standardize these questions for every candidate to ensure both fair comparisons and consistent standards.

However, by using video screening technology to ask targeted questions, a recruiter can eliminate all of the uncertainties and identify the best candidates based on their answers to 6-10 well-phrased questions. This saves time, money, and most importantly, levels your candidates onto a single playing field. Here, I’ll discuss some of the best general approaches to help take full advantage of this technology.

The Generalities

One of the perks of video screening is that it’s easier for recruiters to follow the “80/20” rule, as detailed by All About Performance. Simply put, it’s the idea that the candidate should talk for 80% of the time, with the interviewer filling in the remaining 20%. Keeping the questions brief allows the candidate to take the initiative and speak off the cuff.

Openers such as “What are you looking for in a job?” and “What attracted you to this company?” prompt revealing introversion, and can accurately demonstrate how candidates handle conversational cues.

Include questions such as “What would you bring to the role?” and “What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?” to allow candidates to demonstrate their capabilities in self-evaluation and forward thinking.

There are two general strategies that can help shape the questions you ask, epitomised by “the good cop” and “the bad cop”: a friendlier approach makes the candidate feel open and at ease, while a straightforward, more aggressive strategy better indicates how an employee would function in a professional environment.

This difference is reflected in the questions, “What areas would you improve upon in this role?” and “How would you deal with this situation?” At the end of the day, the approach you take will depend on the kind of candidate you’re looking for.

Job-Specific Questions

The ideal technical question will shed light on both a candidate's abilities and character. A popular method is to combine questions that deal with a hire’s previous experience and their integrity in that role: “Tell me about a time when things didn’t go well and how you dealt with it,” for example.

Job-specific questions will vary, as some recruiters prefer to establish “what-if” scenarios, while others want insight into how candidates have historically accomplished goals and creative tasks. Even as you ask the technical questions, strive to dive deeper and elicit multiple facets of a person’s personality and professional outlook with one punch.

Think Big Picture

As much as it’s a cliché, be creative. Speaking to Inc., Randy Garutti, CEO of Shake Shack, relays his favourite interview question: “If we are sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it’s been for you in this role, what did we achieve together?”

For Randy, this reveals certain qualities, including, “enough strategic vision to not only talk about how good the year has been but [also] a bigger-picture understanding of the company and why they want to be here.” When crafting your own questions, follow this philosophy and find creative ways to understand candidates’ ambitions and sense of place.

Stay Firm and Focused


Be wary of veering off-topic. While some recruiters enjoy playful questions like, “Who is your biggest role model?” or “What is your spirit animal?” they’re largely irrelevant to the hiring process and are best left to the campfire circle.

To ensure that queries are consistent across all candidates and that interviews stay on the short side (thereby ensuring focused questions and answers), the smart move is to use helpful tools like video interviewing software. That way, you can take your time to curate the most effective and revealing interview questions and apply them to each potential hire.

Video screening is an ideal strategy to find best-fit candidates, allowing you to maximize your effectiveness across a wide group of recruits. After you collect responses, it’s easy to pick out the winners without having to personally interview the whole cohort. A service like Launchpad Recruits provides a streamlined and accessible method with which to vet candidates through your own, personalized strategy.

Asking the right (or wrong) questions can ultimately decide the strength of a company’s recruiting process – make sure you’re asking the right ones in a clear, articulated manner.

(Image credits: Roland O’Daniel/flickr; Justin S. Campbell/flickr)

Clare Hopping

Clare Hopping has been involved in the recruitment of both full-time employees and freelance staff for ten years. She specialises in recruiting staff via social media and digital platforms.