6 One-Way Interview Questions to Use in Your Next Interview

After the initial resume screening, the hiring process can become more complex. There are often several candidates that look good on paper, and you want to learn more about them in person. But scheduling interviews with tens or dozens of candidates can be taxing to say the least. Many companies are using one-way video interviews to conduct screening that’s not as demanding on your resources as in-person interviews are. 

One-way video interviews, during which a candidate responds to automated questions on video within a set time frame, give you a better sense of each applicant. 

However, they don’t allow you to ask follow-up questions, push for more intimate answers, get a feel for personality, or delve deeper into a particular answer. One-way interview questions allow for some help with this.

 With each query, you should set an intention to collect information that you need to make good hiring decisions. If your questions solicit vague or general answers, you might not be any closer to selecting a candidate than you were before the one-way interviews. 

Asking the following one-way interview questions can make your hiring and onboarding process more efficient and impactful.

How Would You Describe Yourself? 

Although this is one of the most widely used interview questions, it’s not a bad one to start with. Asking an applicant to describe themselves is a way to break the ice and get them comfortable answering the questions in this format. 

The way that the applicant answers this question tells you a lot about their thinking and verbal abilities. Think about it–they have to answer a question that’s notoriously open-ended in a way that’s concise, interesting and relevant.

Look for answers that demonstrate the applicant’s priorities and unique qualities. The focus should be primarily on factors that relate to the job. However, a candidate that offers less than 20% of personal information can give you useful insight about their personality.

What Do You Know About Our Company?

This question demonstrates whether a candidate is self-motivated and curious. Have they researched your company? Are they looking for a job that’s specific to your industry and company, or do they just want a job? 

A candidate who knows something about your business will start with more knowledge than someone who hasn’t done their research. Moreover, they’re probably interested in working there to use and enhance their own skills. Therefore, they may be more proficient at the job than someone who knows nothing about the organization.

Why Did You Apply for This Position?

Everyone works to pay their bills. But employees that have some interest in or passion for the position may be happier and perform better. Employees who identify with the company in some way are more motivated and engaged than those who don’t.

Look for answers that:

  • Indicate that the candidate wants to perform the duties required for the position
  • Show that the candidate’s skills and strengths adapt well to the job
  • Demonstrate a level of interest that will keep the candidate motivated
  • Align with the level and type of position

What Are Your Primary Professional Strengths?

It’s obvious that you want to know if the candidate has the skills for the job. But asking about strengths instead of skills alone expands the potential for a comprehensive answer.

Many people will talk about specific skills that make up their strengths. For example, if a strength is learning tech quickly, the candidate will likely tell you about some of the software that they’ve rapidly become proficient with. 

Also, remember that skills can be taught. Strengths can be developed, but they are more deeply ingrained. Strengths provide the foundation for learning new skills.

When assessing the answer to this question, look for:

  • The candidate to be confident in their ability
  • Relevance to the job requirements
  • How the candidate’s strengths will complement those of other team members
  • Personality traits that help someone develop necessary skills for the job, such as collaboration or innovation
  • Examples and measurable result to back up the statements

What Was the Last Project You Worked On?

A candidate’s resume only tells you so much. This question gives them a chance to elaborate on their job experience. Asking in this way allows the candidate to give you as many details as they choose. 

When assessing their answer, look for:

  • An organized answer that describes the situation, the action the candidate took and the results
  • Alignment with the candidate’s strengths and skills
  • A positive outlook, especially when the candidate is describing obstacles or challenges
  • Demonstration of leadership and collaboration skills

What Makes You the Right Person for this Job?

This question pulls together everything that you’ve already asked and requires the applicant to deliver the answer as a concise elevator pitch. If nothing else, this interview question reveals the candidate’s ability to analyze important information and summarize.

The answer gives you a chance to quantify the candidate’s assets and detractors as they relate to your selection criteria. If their answer checks most of the boxes, the candidate will progress to the next step of the hiring process.

Conventional vs Unconventional One-Way Interview Questions

Depending on the stage of the hiring process in which you administer the one-way interview, you might want to incorporate a few especially thought-provoking questions. However, one-way interviews are typically given early on, when you’re still screening on an objective basis. 

In fact, many one-way interviews are evaluated by a computer. Instead of looking at the individual’s mannerisms and body language, the software searches for keywords that are relevant to the position. If this is the case, it’s best to keep your one-way interview questions conventional.

However, if you’re holding interviews for a customer-facing position where demeanor is of primary importance, you’ll want to evaluate the applicant’s on-screen presence. If you’re interviewing for a sales position, you might want to throw in some surprising questions to gauge how well the candidate thinks on their feet.

Some unconventional one-way interview questions include the following:

  • Explain something complicated to me in five minutes or less.
  • How do you define hard work?
  • If you were supposed to see three more clients, but the day is coming to an end, what would you do?
  • What is the most unique company event you have ever participated in?
  • How would you pitch this company to a stranger?
  • Name five uses for a toaster other than toasting.

This Is Not the Only Interview

Because a one-way interview is not the only part of the hiring process during which you ask questions to gauge the applicant’s experience, skill and demeanor, it doesn’t have to be all-encompassing. The main goals of most one-way interviews are to:

  • Confirm the experience on the applicant’s resume
  • Make sure their qualifications fit the role
  • Assess their interest in the position and company
  • Learn about their communication style

You don’t want to spend time sifting through lengthy interviews early in the hiring process. Therefore, keep the questions short, and instill a time limit so that the answers are concise. Unless the job position requires the candidate to be present in the future, the one-way interview may not be the best time to ask about the applicant’s five-year plan. Stick to questions about their qualifications, the job roles and the present time frame.