Do outdated interview questions mean you’re missing out on the next generation’s hidden digital skills?

April 24 2017

 As the digital revolution continues, there is an increasing need for businesses to recruit people with the skills they need now and in the future. When trying to find these skills, young people may be the best place to look. A 2012 study by O2 found that the unused digital skills of young unemployed people were valued at £6.7 billion.We also uncovered a wide range of surprising and highly transferrable digital skills in our own survey of 4,000 young people when we asked them to tell us what they were most proud of. From designing new apps and setting up online stores to creating viral videos, the wealth of digital experience and skills was impressive though not necessarily the kind of skills that employers would find out about during a traditional recruitment process.

 So how can you uncover these digital skills in your young applicants? Are you asking the right questions? Here’s our list of updated interview questions that could help you to tap into the hidden digital skills of your young applicants.

Are you looking for communications skills?

Try asking…

Have you ever written a blog or created a Vlog?

Thanks to social media and blogging, many young people are fluent in short-form written and video content which means they can write concisely and effectively. This is a mark of good communication skills and will be valuable in any workplace. Active bloggers could be great candidates for Communications or Marketing positions.

Are you looking for commercial awareness or sales skills in an applicant?

Try asking…

Have you ever sold anything online?

A surprising number of young people sell things online and even set up their own online shops which suggests an entrepreneurial spirit. A good knowledge of online marketplaces could be useful to many small businesses as more transactions move online.  

Looking for marketing skills?

Try asking…

How many subscribers/ followers do you have on YouTube / Instagram/ Snapchat?

The responses from our Youth Survey showed that young people often have thousands of followers on social media. A young person who has perfected their “personal brand” on social media may be the best person to help grow the online brand of your business.

Want to see evidence of flexibility and problem solving?

Try asking...

What future digital innovations will affect our industry? Will they be a benefit or a challenge?

This question links back to the new perspectives that young people can provide to a workplace. A young person may foresee challenges of new technology or be aware of how to utilise new digital innovations for your benefit.

Are you looking for research skills?

Try asking…

When you research an issue or prepare for something online, what resources do you use? Where would you start?

Asking this question test the “information seeking” skills of young people. A young person’s familiarity with the Internet means that many of them have the potential to develop good research skills.

Looking for a candidate who can get to grips with your system quickly?

Try asking...

What programmes/ apps/ platforms do you like to use? How did you learn to use them? Was it hard?

A surprising amount of young people in our survey had taught themselves how to use many different types of software quickly. By asking this question, you may be surprised by the extent and flexibility of their digital skills and how these can easily be applied to your company. These skills could include website management, photo and video editing, or app writing.

Looking for organisation and planning skills?

Try asking...

Have you ever organised an event or activity online? How did you plan the logistics?

From Facebook events to websites such as Eventbrite and Meetup, young people are used to bring people together using online tools. If your organisation runs events or needs people who are good at planning logistics, young people are used to making complex plans online. 

Looking to find the unexpected?

Try asking...

What achievements are you most proud of?

When asked about their proudest accomplishments, young people often talked about digital skills. Asking this question at interview, even if the role isn’t specifically IT-based, can help to unearth the hidden digital skills that your business needs.