Digital Interview

Crafting digital interview questions and knowing what not to do is key for recruiters.

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Digital Interview

The traditional interview has long dominated the recruiting industry. Whether the recruiter met the candidate over the phone or in person, it was always live. They both would spend 30 minutes to 2 hours just to schedule a meeting sometime during the typical working hours of 9-5 Monday to Friday. And, of course, this system worked.

However, the labor market and the recruiting industry are constantly changing. It was only a matter of time before the way we interview candidates would need to evolve. Today’s recruiters face more demands than ever, and the traditional methods are leading many recruiters to burnout and now hiring teams to face higher turnover rates than ever before.

Enter stage, the digital interview.

The digital interview, also known as a self-guided interview, helps recruiters interview more candidates. Many candidates' schedules do not align with the traditional interview window. These candidates may have busy schedule conflicts, health complications, or numerous other reasons for not being able to make it to typical interview hours. Regardless, it shouldn’t eliminate them from the interview pool.

Asynchronous one-way interviews allow recruiters to interview candidates 24/7. As a result, the candidates are granted the flexibility to interview when their schedule allows. This flexibility improves the candidate experience and brings in more candidate responses. Qualifi’s research found that offering an interview option outside of typical business hours brought in 75.5% more responses than traditional phone interviews — 43% of which took place outside of traditional business hours.

What is a Digital Interview?

So, what exactly is a digital interview? What makes them so different from the traditional interview? Well, when we use digital interviewing, we are using online or remote interview solutions.  Rather than holding a face-to-face interview, the recruiter and candidate perform their end of the interview at separate times.

At the end of the day, digital recruiting is an effective tool to speed up the most time-consuming stage of the recruiting process — interviews. Recruiters spend two-thirds of their hiring time exclusively on the hiring process between scheduling interviews and actually performing them.

Interviews are the biggest bottleneck in the hiring process. Although these interviews can be live online, on-demand interviews are becoming an increasingly popular approach to solve this bottleneck. For the recruiter, this means designing and recording an interview structure and sending this recording to the interviewee. The candidate, in turn, records themselves responding to the recorded interview at a time of their convenience. This process is typically performed on an on-demand interview platform or through the company website.

Digital interviews are excellent for answering general questions and learning candidate backgrounds during the screening phase of the hiring process.

Handling the interview process in this way allows recruiters to interview potentially hundreds of candidates over the night. At that same time, it would take a recruiter to screen a dozen candidates using manual and traditional methods. As such, digital interviews save recruiters hundreds of hours of work.

And when a recruiter utilizes an on-demand interview platform like Qualifi, there are options to screen all of these candidates even faster. This is in part because digital interviews allow you to standardize the interview process, giving candidates equal opportunities to shine and recruiters to ask the exact questions they want.

However, it is essential to note that digital interviews are just like any other tool. You have to learn to use them properly.

Use this guide to speed up the entire hiring process.

How to Do a Digital Interview

So, with the benefits in mind, let’s discuss how to do a digital interview for the most significant effect on your hiring process. It’s equally important for the recruiter to be prepared for the asynchronous interview process as much as the candidate.

As such, prepare for digital interviews with a test run, especially if you’re new to the software you’re using. A test run in advance allows you to not only familiarize yourself with the service but allows you to check the audio and experience the interview from the candidate's perspective. Once you’ve run the initial test run, it’s time to design the interview.

At this phase, choose the most important screening questions for the role and the more standard interview questions. When choosing these questions for automated phone interviews, it’s important to remember that candidates cannot ask questions in return. So, keep your questions concise, clear, and not demanding of the traditional interview back and forth. Be clear with what you ask, avoid meandering, and be conscious of your intention.

Along the way, be mindful that not all candidates will be familiar with these interview methods. Prepare your candidates with informational material a few days in advance to allow your candidates time to prepare themselves. These should include any software downloads and login instructions for your platform. However, unlike on-demand video interviews, you can skip downloads and login troubles entirely by utilizing a simple on-demand interview phone platform like Qualifi.

Once all of this preparation is finished, it’s time to record the recruiter’s side of the interview. Ensure you have high-quality audio with minimum background noise and the questions are delivered in a balanced, professional manner. A high-quality interview recording alleviates candidate anxiety during the remote hiring process and improves your company’s reputation as an employer.

Digital Interview Questions

As we discussed, one of the most important parts of the digital interview is to select the right questions for the interview. Digital interview questions need to build on the benefits of on-demand interviews — concise, flexible, and straightforward. So, focus on questions that can be easily answered without too much elaboration. No candidate will appreciate a meandering one-way conversation.

Also, be careful to avoid some of the questions you would typically ask a candidate in a live interview such as “why did you leave your previous job?” as these questions will not apply to every candidate.

Many of the other go-to screening questions recruiters have been using for decades will work for digital interviews. These questions can include:

  • What is your biggest weakness? - This classic interview question helps recruiters gauge a candidate's willingness to admit shortcomings and the areas where they may need to approve. It also translates well to the one-way interview format.

  • Why would you like to work here? - This question works well as it is simple and open-ended and allows recruiters to gauge candidate motivations.

  • Tell me about a time … - There’s quite a variety for this question, such as “tell me about a time you provided great customer service” or “tell me about a time you handled a conflict in the workplace.” Regardless of the exact subject, this question format allows recruiters to zero in on a desired experience.

  • What makes you right for this position? - Asking a candidate why they should get the position allows them the opportunity to show the candidate qualities about themselves that the other questions you choose may have missed.

When designing your questions, always keep in mind that the candidate can only respond to what you provide. As such, ensure the set of questions you select is comprehensive without becoming exhaustive.

Additional Resources