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10 effective online interview questions for better screening

It's not easy to find the perfect candidate for a job, especially when you're doing it online. Here are the 10 questions that have been proven most effective in online screening.

Template by Tien Viet Nguyen
5 minutes to finish · English · PDF
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Online interviews are a vital component of today’s hiring process as a primary screening stage. This kind of interview will help your hiring team be more efficient, be more flexible schedule-wise, and open access to global remote workers. To make it easier for you to start, get these key online interview questions to screen and find your perfect candidate.


Online interviews are a vital component of today’s hiring process. More companies are opting for it as a primary screening tool. This kind of interview will help your hiring team be more efficient, be more flexible schedule-wise, and make the interview experience pleasant for the candidate. The adoption of online interviews will also fasten your hiring process and is the only way to access an external remote worker. 

With these 10 questions on hand and the right follow-up techniques, interviewing becomes a much more manageable task. You'll be able to get more out of your candidates while learning about who they really are. These questions provide valuable insight into how candidates think and work under pressure- things one can't always glean. 

Sample 10 effective online interview questions

4 tips for conducting a successful online interview: 

  • Prepare ahead by testing your technology
  • Choose an interview team
  • Establish a personal connection with the candidate
  • Listen & study the candidate’s body language during the interview

Effective online interview questions to screen for the best remote talents

1. How much do you know about this job description/company/project?

Why is this question useful?

  • You are trying to know how much the candidate knows about the position and, by extension, your company: Has s/he done his/her research into what the job entails? Do they know anyone within the company{which means they will easily fit in} or have they been following the company’s progress {which indicates great interest in the company}?
  • A generic answer may mean the candidate did not take the time to do proper research on the company


A candidate who has done proper research about this will give you answers on how much they know by highlighting what they can contribute to guarantee success. Such a candidate will talk about milestones s/he hopes to achieve in the position/with the company/on the project. 

2. What inspired you to pursue this career?

Why is this question useful?

  • This allows you to understand the passion that drives the candidate. Do they care about working in {name of career path} or they are barely interested?
  • You will also get to know if the candidate’s interest lies with that of the company.


A candidate may say s/he pursued the career as a result of a childhood dream or s/he was inspired by an event early in life. You may want to take a mental note to know if the candidate enjoys working in the field. This will indicate how hard they are willing to work to overcome the challenges that come with the position.  

3. What would you say was your biggest failure?

Why is this question useful?

  • Helps you assess the candidate’s weakness by using cliche interview questions {What’s your greatest weakness?}
  • Listen to the answer care as a candidate failure can reveal his/her professional weaknesses: 
  • Depending on the role you seek to fill, check how his/her strength and weakness might affect the team as a whole


When the candidate is talking about his/her failure, pay close attention. Why did s/he fail? Was it due to a lack of a factor {e.g commitment, skills, or communication}? Or just unfortunate circumstances? Check to see if your team can help them improve. If not, try to know how well they are willing to work on improving themselves

4. Why did you leave (or why are you leaving) your job?

Why is this question useful?

  • Listen carefully to see if the candidate speaks about his/her former employer in a positive context. 
  • This also helps you understand if your company possesses what the candidate is looking for. Their values, outlook, and expectations: Did the candidate leave because s/he wants something? Can your company provide that for the candidate?


If a candidate talks about leaving bad bosses, s/he may not be honest about their own part. A candidate may talk about wanting a more successful future in his/her career path. Check if what you have can meet up with their expectations

5. What are the three positive things your last boss would say about you?

Why is this question useful?

  • This provides an opportunity for the candidate to talk about his/her major strengths
  • It will also give an insight into how the candidate relates to his/her boss.
  • Highlights how the candidate views the position and their ability to contribute to it


You should take mental notes of the type of compliments the candidate highlights. If a candidate says his/her boss says I am the best {skill} - this denotes efficiency. If the candidate states his/her boss likes his/her sense of humour or lively spirit, this shows the candidate possesses excellent interpersonal skills. Look out for the quality that your team/company needs most

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In this interview guide, you'll learn:

  • How to approach your candidates with strategic and intentional questions.
  • How to identify deal-breakers during initial hiring stages.
  • How to understand the candidates' strengths and weaknesses.

How to use this template

  • ✂️
    The template is fair use for your own purposes. Feel free to copy or refer to the structure and guidelines inside.
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    Keep in mind that this template is not a legal document and may not take into account all relevant local or national laws.
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    Print out for easier handling and communication with your team.

Who this template is for

  • Hiring managers looking for the perfect candidate.
  • Recruiters who are in charge of the interview process.
  • Candidates preparing for an online interview session.

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