Digital Interviewing: The Ultimate Guide for Hiring Managers
Posted on December 10, 2020 by P.K. Maric
Imagine if there were a way to attract more qualified candidates, assess them faster, and stay compliant with COVID-19 restrictions? Switching from in-person to digital interviewing is all it takes, and it’s easier than you think to make the switch.
What Is a Digital Interview?
No surprise here, a digital interview is an interview that takes place online. There are two main types of digital interviews: live and pre-recorded.
During a live digital interview, the applicant and interviewer have a live audio or video call. In a pre-recorded interview, the applicant records their answers to interview questions and sends the recording to the interviewer.
Digital interviews have many advantages over in-person interviews.
Why Use Digital Interviews When Hiring?
According to this 2020 Interview Scheduling Survey, 71% of respondents spend more than 30 minutes per candidate to schedule interviews. Not 30 minutes for the interview itself, 30 minutes simply to schedule the interview. In fact, 35% of survey respondents said scheduling the interview is the most time-consuming part of recruitment.
Pre-recorded interviews completely eliminate the need to schedule interviews.
While live digital interviews still require advance scheduling, it’s typically easier to schedule—and reschedule—them. Several factors make digital interviews easier to schedule: location flexibility, no commute time, and the ability to record the interview. During a live digital interview, the candidate can attend the interview from anywhere and doesn’t need to take time off to commute to your office. Suppose a member of your hiring team can’t attend the interview. In that case, your team can record the interview, and your colleague can review the video later.
Switching to digital interviews company-wide can have a huge impact. For example, according to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report, Hilton, the hotel company, cut its time-to-hire from six weeks to five days simply by switching to video interviewing.
One of the best ways to objectively compare candidates is to use structured interviews. Research shows that structured interviews have high predictive validity, meaning there’s a strong correlation between a candidate who does well in a structured interview and that candidate’s job performance if hired.
Here’s how structured interviews work: The hiring committee or hiring manager chooses interview questions and writes down the criteria needed for a strong answer. Then, every candidate is asked the same questions in the same order. The hiring committee or hiring manager scores each candidate’s response. This reduces bias because the interviewer can compare candidates based on the same criteria.
Most pre-recorded interviews require candidates to answer the same questions in the same order, so it’s very easy to use the structured interview process to review the candidate’s answers.
Ideally, live digital interviews follow suit.
Better Candidate Experience
How far have you traveled for a job interview? Across town? Across the state? Or even the country? Candidates save time and money when they can interview online, which leads to a better candidate experience. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, digital interviews were a benefit. Now they are essential.
Offering digital interviews can also widen your hiring pool. When people know they can interview via smartphone or laptop, the application process feels easier. You may attract more passive job seekers by offering digital interviews.
Video Interview Questions
At TestDome, our team has been doing live digital interviews for years.
We typically ask 8-10 questions during an interview, with a mix of general and domain-specific questions. Here’s a list of general questions we use:
Skills and Experience Interview Questions
- Please explain how your previous experience meets the requirements for this job role.
- What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?
- Why should we hire you?
- What is your leadership style?
- What is your management style?
- Do you have any leadership experience in past professional or personal pursuits?
- Do you have any management experience in past professional or personal pursuits?
- Describe a situation in which a challenge arose on a major project you were working on. How did you respond to the challenge? Were you able to resolve it?
- Based on what you know of our company, what do you think we could do better or differently?
- What experience do you have working remotely? (We are a fully remote company.)
Culture Fit Interview Questions
- Describe your preferred work environment in which you feel most happy and productive.
- What are the characteristics of the best boss you’ve ever had (or wish you’d had)?
- In your experience, what can a company do to help you succeed to the best of your abilities?
- Please describe the management style that best guides you to success.
- What are the things you like best about the environment at your most recent job?
- What is the single most important factor of your work environment in determining how happy and successful you are in your work?
- Do you prefer working alone or within a team?
- What is your preferred work style?
- Please tell us a few qualities you expect to see in the senior leadership of an organization in which you will work happily and successfully.
Motivation and Interests Interview Questions
- Why are you interested in joining our company?
- Why are you interested in this specific role?
- What do you want your career to look like in five years?
- Tell us a bit about yourself.
- What is your biggest weakness?
- What is your biggest strength?
- Describe your dream job.
- Why are you considering a new job at this time?
- Describe yourself in three adjectives.
- What are you looking for in a new job position?
How To Do a Digital Interview
Whether you do live or prerecorded digital interviews, you should always use a structured interview process. Structured interviews have two advantages over unscripted interviews. First, structured interviews reduce bias by ensuring that you treat all candidates the same. Second, research has shown that structured interviews are one of the most valid job screening tools, which helps ensure you hire the best person for the job.
In a structured interview, you prepare a list of questions in advance and identify the ideal answer before you interview any applicants. It’s important that the interview questions align with the job description.
Here’s the job description and structured interview we used for a project management role.
We need someone to help find and manage outside experts who will create and review test questions for new subject areas. A rough list of your responsibilities is:
- Recruit external (global) experts as content collaborators.
- Sell them the idea of TestDome and motivate them to work with us in their spare time.
- Coach them on what makes a good work-sample test question.
- (Time) Manage authors during question creation.
- Collect feedback from reviewers and work with authors on improving the questions.
You need to have prior management skills. More specifically, we expect that you are:
- Data-driven, as the entire process needs to be driven by data: which subject areas to enter, finding experts, assessing questions, etc.
- Able to make people enthusiastic about work-sample testing.
- Analytical, so you can quickly learn new domains deep enough to discuss them with experts and identify fundamental skills separating strong candidates from those who are not good enough.
- Able to design and execute a process for completing the required work in time.
- Fluent in English.
Here’s the structured interview we used for this position. We asked all interviewees the same questions in the same order. We took notes during each interview, then scored each candidate’s response after the interview. We also recorded all the interviews in case we needed to go back and review an answer.
After completing all the interviews, we were able to compare each candidate’s score to determine the best fit for the role.
10 minutes: Getting to know the candidate
|Answer and score (1-5)
|Give me the most important highlights in your CV?
|Does the candidate have relevant experience?
|Describe in one minute, what a Project Manager for Test Content Creation will do?
|Does the candidate understand our job description? Correct them if they have the wrong perception.
|Do you think of yourself as more of a specialist or generalist?
|Ideally, we want a generalist with specialty in one of the areas we are interested in (programming, project management, etc.)
|What made you apply for this position?
What will motivate you to do this job?
|Salary shouldn’t be the motivation. The candidate should see this job as a good fit, something he or she would love to do. The candidate should be motivated to grow the business, not just execute tasks.
35 min: Job-specific knowledge
|Ability to motivate people
|Answer and score (1-5)
|Tell me about a time when you had to make someone enthusiastic about your idea or problem so they would want to help you?
|We don’t need pushy sales people. We need someone empathic who will understand the motivations of others and present them something they like.
|Managing others (time)
|Imagine you are managing an expert who repeatedly does not deliver by the deadline? How would you handle that?
|Follow up a couple of times trying to understand the obstacle that’s preventing the expert from doing his job. If it repeats 3-4 times, terminate the assignment.
|Imagine you are managing 20 experts. Which actions would you take to make sure they deliver as promised?
|Wrong answer is hiring more people to do the same thing you were doing with one person.
Right answer is documenting, tracking and measuring everything, and using reminders.
|How about if you are managing 200 experts?
|Similar to the previous question, but thinking out of the box on procedures and automation.
|What tools did you use in project management before? What part of project management can be replaced with tools, and what part requires personal contact?
|We don’t want a manager who is doing everything by personal communication: emails, phone calls, and meetings. We want someone who is using tools such as Assembla, Jira, Trello, PipeDrive etc. to increase productivity and transparency. A good candidate will know why a certain tool is best for a certain job.
|Let’s say your task is to create an automated test for Russian proofreaders. How would you do that?
|One solution is to find a perfect Russian text and then introduce N errors in it. The algorithm would check if the parts with errors were changed. The problem is that the error can be corrected in different ways, which is hard to automate.
|You are reviewing a question for a subject area you are not expert in. How would you make sure the person you are employing is an expert in the field?
|Finding a trainer or compliance officer who sees people misunderstanding the domain is the right approach.
|How would you determine which experts are good question creators and which are not?
|The candidate should mention collecting data on the performance of each expert and using the data to define what a good performance is instead of personal judgement.
|What would you do to make sure we have questions for a subject area by a certain date?
|The candidate should plan deadlines and corrective actions if the deadlines are not met. The candidate can also suggest that multiple people work on a domain.
|What do you know about Lean Startup?
|The candidate should know about the way startups do product development.
10 min: Expectations
|What are your expectations about this position (apart from salary)? Work conditions, hours, benefits, vacation time, etc.
|What are your salary requirements?
|If we extend you an offer, when could you start working for us?
|Do you have any questions for us?
|You will hear back from us by May 17th.
Digital Interviewing in 2021 and Beyond
After the pandemic subsides and it’s safe for people to interview in person again, will digital interviewing disappear? Probably not. Companies that value the candidate’s experience and want to hire faster may continue using video interviews, even if the job they are hiring for is in-office. To stay competitive, you may need to offer digital interviews as well.