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What Are the Best Questions to Ask in an Online Interview?

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Conducting interviews online is an excellent screening tool (and brilliantly time-efficient!), but it also means you’ll need a slight change of strategy.

That’s because it’s tough to establish rapport when you’re not face-to-face.

You can’t get the same feel for body language over a digital screen, and any connectivity issues or sketchy sound makes the whole experience a tad stressful.

So, how should you switch it up to keep things moving forward and what are the best questions to ask in an online interview?

Let’s run through some tips, so you’re poised to ask insightful questions – all through the convenience of your laptop!

Tip One: Ask Open-Ended Questions 

The first thing to do in an online interview scenario is to encourage interviewees to chat about themselves, as you’re reliant on what they say to make a decision.

What you’re looking for is an idea about their communication style and personality, because:

  • You’re aware of your candidate’s qualifications.
  • You’ve checked out their experience on their resume.
  • You know they meet your essential skill requirements because they’ve made it this far in the short-listing.

The interview is an opportunity for applicants to engage and demonstrate why they’re a fantastic fit above and beyond what they’ve already shown you. 

Online Interview Questions to Get to Know Your Candidate

Try some of these:

  • Tell me why you’ve applied for this position?
  • Why do you feel you’re the right person for our vacancy?
  • How could you bring something fresh to our company?

They’re intentionally vague – meant to put the ball in your applicant’s court, and see how they run with it.

Tip Two: Test How Your Interviewee Copes Under Pressure

Ok, so we’re not advocating for being intentionally awkward, but assessing how each applicant deals with a tricky challenge.

There are some excellent ways to get a feel for whether an individual would be able to manage the obstacles they might encounter in the role, so maybe:

  • Have you applied for any other jobs? 

This question is kind of fun – do you want someone honest about their appetite for success or a person who is committed to the opportunity you’re offering?

  • What are your biggest motivations?

Another interesting one, and a question that is massively crucial if the position involves remote working. Look for intrinsic motivation, professionals driven by showcasing what they can achieve.

  • Why are you looking for a new role?

There’s no perfect answer here, but it’s a great way to jump into the shoes of your interviewees and check out whether they’re desperate for any job or are searching for career enhancement roles.

Tip Three: Make Online Interviews a Two-Way Conversation

Some of the typical questions you’d ask in any interview stand firm here.

You’re probably going to ask how this person would apply their skills to the role and their most significant accomplishments, for example. 

But, remote work is the new norm – something like 81% of people will work at least one day at home in the long term.  Read here about creating a contract for remote employees.

Therefore, this is the time to invite your candidates to discuss the distance-working set-up with you and ask their own questions.

Examples might include:

  • What software and project management tools do you use?
  • How do you structure team meetings remotely?
  • Who would I report to – and are they in the same time zone?
  • How would we meet for appraisals or troubleshooting sessions?

Applicants who have zero questions don’t tend to be well prepared, so we’d say you should expect to answer one or two yourself.

After all, a skilled professional is going to want to work out whether the organization is right for them, as well as vice versa!

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