The questions you should ask in a first-round video screen

Video screening is a great way to streamline the first round of hiring. But what questions should you ask in a video screen to ensure you find the right talent for your role?

A candidate’s personality can be assessed in a video screen by knowing the right questions to ask.  Armed with the right mix of questions, employers can assess a candidate’s personality and potential cultural fit, in addition to their skills, expertise and experience.

When it comes to conducting a successful video screen, Steph Toner, Talent Acquisition Coordinator at SEEK, recommends the following steps to get started:

Look for passion

In the first-round of the interview process, employers should be looking for candidates who demonstrate a passion to work for your organisation. Toner recommends establishing a set of questions that will allow a candidate’s passion to shine through.

Uncover what is important to your organisation

With video screening, each employer or department has the opportunity to write their own questions pertinent to that job. Remember to let your company culture stand out through your questions.

Consider tried and tested questions that work

First-round interviews are all about finding the candidates you wish to carry through to your next round of recruitment. For this reason, utilise tried-and-tested questions – such as those which highlight a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, rather than throwing candidates curveball questions early in the process.

What questions to ask

Toner walks the talk when it comes to video screening. She uses the technology extensively for first-round interviews when screening in-house customer facing candidates. Sales and customer service staff need great verbal communication skills and rapport– exactly what a video screen highlights.

At SEEK, Toner and her talent acquisition colleagues use a combination of questions – depending on the job. But those questions fall into a formula that involves four distinct categories of questions. They are:

An introductory question

An introductory question could be: “Tell us a little bit about you?” Toner suggests that these sort of questions assist employers in finding out a bit about the candidate as a person and also allows them to ease into the process.

A motivation question

A motivation question might be: “Why do you want to work for this organisation?” This will help identify candidates who can tell the story about why they want the job and what attracts them to your business.

A technology question

This question could be about specific technology use in the candidate’s current role or how they’ve solved a complex problem with a customer using relevant systems, technology or processes. For example, “Tell us about a time you have helped a customer?” This question will be different for every role/industry.

A personality question

A personality question might be: “What would you do if you didn’t have to work for a month?”. Personality questions can be designed to assess whether a candidate is a great fit for your team or whether they are a cultural fit for your organisation.

Remember: keep it simple

Don’t ask too many questions, says Toner. Three or four is sufficient for a pre-recorded interview. “We don’t want it to be too arduous,” says Toner.

There are also ‘what not to ask’ questions. First-time video screen candidates may be nervous about video interviews, so it’s important to make the process feel less daunting.

“You don’t want it to create a barrier,” says Toner. “Especially if you are competing with other employers for the same talent. Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes and don’t make it any more difficult than it needs to be.”

Finally, SEEK’s in-house experience as an early adopter of video screening shows that the responses that stand out to employers are the ones where the question encourages the candidate to tell their story.

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Diana Clement

Freelance journalist Diana Clement specialises in writing careers, business personal finance, investment and related topics such as savvy spending for publications in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Over the past decade Diana has written for...

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