When you’re hiring for a new role, the first step of the interview process — typically a phone screen — takes a significant chunk of your time. You often have to block out a huge portion of your schedule for 30-minute call after 30-minute call.

Many recruiters know after only a few minutes of chatting whether a candidate should progress to the next stage, so replacing long phone screens with a more efficient alternative is a good way to reclaim your day. One-way video interviews allow you to spend less time per candidate without sacrificing valuable screening insights.

To gain those valuable insights, you need to ask the right questions. These interview questions should be high-level enough to help you get a good read on a candidate, and illuminating enough to help you clearly see how a candidate may fit in your open position. Crafting effective screening questions requires a meeting of the minds between recruiters and hiring managers: You can only ask questions tailored to the needs of the requisition if you have a full understanding of the role’s day-to-day responsibilities and tasks.

Next time you’re recruiting for an open position, consider using these telling questions for your one-way video interview:

1. What Skill Have You Mastered in a Former Role That Would Help You Most in This Position?

This question shows the depth of a candidate’s understanding of the open role and sheds light on their work history. Did they gain efficient time-management skills by dealing with a constant barrage of requests? Did they learn how to collaborate by working with a distributed team of colleagues around the globe?

2. Tell Us About Something You’re Really Good at and How You Developed This Skill.

This question allows candidates to cover something that may not be directly related to the open position. A candidate’s answer to this question shows their motivation, as well as how they attack large problems. Do they work piece by piece strategically, or do they just dive in and learn along the way?

3. What Is the Most Recent Book You Read, and Why Did You Read It?

Use this question to gain insight into a candidate’s personality. Are they a learner? Do they love the nuance of science fiction or the breezy fun of a romance?

4. Describe the Kind of Work Environment in Which You Are Most Effectively Able to Contribute.

A candidate’s answer to this question can make or break an interview. The candidate’s ideal work environment should match the organization’s. If a candidate prefers to work alone but the team they’d join is highly collaborative, it may be a mismatch.

5. What Tools or Habits Have You Used to Become More Productive at Work?

The candidate’s answer could be any kind of resource, like a calendar, time-blocking, or adopting better tools. The real insight you gain from this question is whether the candidate already thinks about their productivity. High-performing employees are always striving to find better ways to get their work done for the benefit of both themselves and their organizations.

6. Tell Us About a Job You Feel Proud Of.

This question is useful in that it can pull a story out of the candidate, showing you how they sell an experience. It’s also an opportunity for the candidate to anticipate the team’s needs and demonstrate how they match the open position.

7. Tell Me About Your Favorite Work Experience. Why Was It Your Favorite?

Not only does this question shed light on another position on the candidate’s resume, but it also gives the candidate a chance to explain a real work environment from the past. You can learn much about a candidate’s cultural preferences by understanding their likes and dislikes at work.

8. What Did You Learn About Us From Our Website?

This should be an easy question for candidates to answer, but it might surprise you how many candidates fail to do their homework before a one-way video interview. If the candidate is really interested in working at the organization, they will take the time to research the company. This question also gives you the opportunity to see how candidates interpret your employer brand and communicate it back to you.

9. Tell Me About a Time That You Received Coaching and Feedback at Work. How Did You Grow From It?

This question uncovers how coachable a candidate is, which is vital to a candidate’s success in many roles. What the candidate did with the feedback gives you a good indication of what a future performance review will be like for this candidate.

10. What’s Something We Haven’t Covered That You Want to Tell Us About?

The open-ended nature of this question allows candidates to reflect on the interview so far and provide additional information that will make them stand out. They might share a formative experience from early in their career or a skill not even listed on their resume.

With one-way video interviews and the questions above, your screening process will not only narrow down the pool of applicants, but also add an additional dimension to the early stages of the hiring process. Adding more context to your short list allows hiring managers to make better decisions about who advances to later stages. Since one-way video interviews don’t require coordination of anyone’s schedules, the speed of the entire recruiting process improves as well.

Josh Tolan is the founder and CEO of Spark Hire. Learn more on and get started today with no contracts or setup fees. regularly features reviews, articles, and press releases from leading businesses. This featured article may include paid promotion or affiliate links. Please make every effort to perform due diligence when selecting products and services for your business or investment needs and compare information from a variety of sources. Use this article for general and informational purposes only.

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