The Best Job Interview Questions To Ask Candidates
How lucky are you, and why? How many times heavier than a mouse is an elephant? How many square feet of pizza are consumed in the United States each year?
Hiring managers have heard about using these “curveball” questions to identify the best candidates. Fortunately, for intelligent and qualified candidates everywhere, studies have found that the brainteaser interview questions made famous by Silicon Valley and Wall Street are just as silly as they sound.
But when you’re interviewing people to join your team, you have to get creative. After all, there’s only so much that questions like “What’s your biggest weakness?” and “Are you a team player?” reveal about who your candidates truly are.
To help give you some ideas for the next time you’re meeting with a job candidate, here are some of the best job interview questions to ask, and good answers to each question.
What Are The Responsibilities Of Flight Attendants
Hiring managers may ask this question to assess your understanding of a flight attendant’s key duties. Before the interview, conduct some research to learn about the responsibilities of a flight attendant and prepare your answer. During the interview, give a short answer that summarises the key responsibilities of a flight attendant.
Example:’A flight attendant mainly focuses on delivering quality service and safety instructions to passengers. Flight attendants also work with other flight staff to lead protocol in case of an emergency. A flight attendant may also help passengers find their seats, prepare and serve food and drinks to passengers, take orders from passengers and conduct safety checks before the flight.’
What Is Something That You Used To Believe But No Longer Do
This question reveals a persons self-awareness and potential life lessons learned in their life. Do they answer with a meaningful revelation? Or do they play it safe and respond with something generic?
Insightful: I used to be over controlling. I always micromanaged my team and made sure they were doing things my way. But I realized it was hurtful for my teammates. And I only did this because I truly knew I could do betterand I always have been a perfectionist at heart. But I learned that sometimes this isnt great for being a team leader and that your teammates will feel burned out and overly stressed. So, Ive struck a balance and now manage with a more laid-back but controlled approach.
Offensive: I dont believe in religion anymore.
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Describe Your Dream Job
Three words describe how you should answer this question: relevance, relevance, relevance.
But that doesn’t mean you have to make up an answer. You can learn something from every job. You can develop skills in every job. Work backward: Identify things about the job you’re interviewing for that will help you if you do land your dream job someday, and then describe how those things apply to what you hope to someday do.
And don’t be afraid to admit that you might someday move on, whether to join another company or — better — to start your own business. Employers no longer expect “forever” employees.
When I Contact Your Last Supervisor And Ask Which Area Of Your Work Needs The Most Improvement What Will I Learn
This is one of those questions that is most likely to garner an honest response from the candidate. No amount of finesse will influence this answer because the candidate knows the truth will come out anyway when the supervisor is brought into the conversation.
Essentially, its the same question as what is your biggest weakness? phrased in a way that lets them know they need to keep their answer real. Its also a great way to gauge whether they have a growth mindset and are receptive to critical feedback.
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What Are Your Future Goals
This interview question, like the previous one, is intended to see if you’ll be a good long-term fit with the company.
The interviewer is looking for commitment and motivation.
How to Answer:
Focus on your career goals that align with the company. Demonstrate your understanding of the company’s mission, and how you can find your place there.
If there is a clear promotion path available that you’re interested in, feel free to mention it.
Eventually I’d like to make my way into a project management position. I’m already familiar with many of the aspects of the work, so I’d like to improve my knowledge in the areas I’m less familiar with so that I can oversee an entire project.
I enjoy working with people and helping to resolve conflicts, so I can see myself moving up in HR eventually.
What Interests You About This Role
Hiring managers often ask this question to ensure you understand the role and give you an opportunity to highlight your relevant skills. Study the job description carefully and compare its requirements to your skills and experience. Choose a few responsibilities you particularly enjoy or excel at and focus on those in your answer.
Example answer:While I highly valued my time at my previous company, there are no longer opportunities for growth that align with my career goals. This position fits perfectly with my skill set and how Im looking to grow in my career. Im also looking for a position at a company like yours that supports underserved communities, which is a personal passion of mine.
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What Do You Like Least About Your Job
Tread carefully here! The last thing you want to do is let your answer devolve into a rant about how terrible your current company is or how much you hate your boss or that one coworker. The easiest way to handle this question with poise is to focus on an opportunity the role youre interviewing for offers that your current job doesnt. You can keep the conversation positive and emphasize why youre so excited about the job.
Whats Your Personal Passion Project
I love to use this question as an opener because it gives a glimpse into a candidates personality:
- Are they travel lovers and open to new experiences?
- Are they daredevils who love to parachute and skydive?
- Are they more of the introverted type who loves reading or watching Netflix?
Smart: Oh, great question! Im an avid reader and am reading an old classicOdyssey,
Unique: This might sound crazy, but I love to collect rocks! When I travel the world, I find the most unique, precious rocks and keep them in a little box at home. This is my way of keeping travel souvenirs!
Boring: My personal passion project? I like to watch TV at home a lot.
Passionless: I dont really have a passion
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Write Down Questions In Advance
Interviews should answer important, interesting, and controversial questions about the person youre interviewing. Good interviewers always try to ask the toughest questions and are confident enough to ask them.
When researching questions to ask, dont rely on things you learn from social media or the internet. Go deeper and find out what questions they are always avoiding, what people want to know, and what the critics have been saying.
Theres also a proper way of asking the right questions and having a good conversation with your interviewee. As much as possible, dont open your interview with the hardest questions first. Start with easy questions that will lead to the tougher and more controversial questions in the later stages.
Here are some tips to help create good questions for your interview:
- Ask open-ended questions. Close-ended questions can usually be answered by just a yes or no. Open-ended questions should be answered by specific examples or numbers.
- Always end your interview with a question for additional information from your interviewee.
Tell Me About A Time You Set Difficult Goals
If you’re looking for a candidate who is goal-oriented and results-driven — as most hiring managers are — this question will help you gauge whether they’ll be able to handle the audacious goals you have in store for them. Ask follow-up questions like, “what did you do to achieve them?” Have the candidate walk you through the process and purpose of the goals they set out for themselves.
A good answer to this question:
A good answer to this interview question shows they understand what difficult goals are, and that they put a lot of effort into attaining their goals while maintaining a high standard of work quality. Listen for answers that describe a lofty goal and show why this goal challenged their normal targets. Responses that admit the candidate came up short of this goal can also indicate self-awareness and confidence despite a lack of success.
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What Salary Are You Seeking
When you’re asked, “What salary are you seeking?” it is to your advantage if the employer tells you the range first. Prepare by knowing the going rate in your area, and your bottom line or walk-away point. One possible answer would be: “I am sure when the time comes, we can agree on a reasonable amount. In what range do you typically pay someone with my background?”
Have You Applied For Any Other Positions
This question can tell you much about the candidate, such as their application style and the roles they’ve been applying for. If they’ve applied for similar positions, this demonstrates that they’re dedicated to developing within one type of role. If they’ve applied for many different positions, this can indicate that they may not have a concrete idea of the role they want.
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What Excites You Most About This Position
Skills can be taught, but theres one thing that cant be: enthusiasm. When an interviewee is truly excited about an opportunity, that typically translates into excellent work and greater longevity with your company.
Ask that potential employee about what initially attracted him to the position. What makes him most excited about the prospect of working there?
Doing so will not only once again confirm his grasp of the duties of the role, but also give you a chance to figure out what aspects of the job interest him most.
Do You Prefer To Work On A Team Or Independently
Theres no right or wrong answer here, but you want to be diplomatic. Regardless of whether youre an extrovert or an introvert, its crucial your answer clearly shows that youre versatile. Share your preference, but also keep the role itself in mind. If youre an event planner, hopefully you like working with others.
For a great answer, include two positive examples: one in which you worked well with a group and another in which you worked well on a solo project.
I love working on a team. When I interned with XYZ Company, there were issues with a few fellow interns not getting along. I intervened, organized a social gathering for the group, and it really helped them put their differences aside. We finished the summer on a great note and came up with the best ideas by putting our heads together. At the same time, I enjoy working independently when necessary. In school, I prided myself on never missing an essay deadline. That was because Im able to put my head down and focus.
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How Do You Manage Your Work
With on-call duties and multiple pressing deadlines, some tech workers struggle with their field’s always-on culture. While you want dedicated team members, you should also seek employees who can relax and take care of themselves. Burnout is a very real problem in tech, and top performers have good strategies in place to help prevent it. As a follow-up to their answer, you could talk about how your company supports a healthy work-life balance something that can be very attractive for candidates considering multiple offers.
From Your Resume It Seems You Took A Gap Year Would You Like To Tell Us Why That Was
Gap years are more popular in some cultures than others. In some professions, gap years may have a negative connotation .
Let your interviewer know that your gap year wasnt about procrastinating over your transition from childhood to adulthood, but that it added value to the confident professional you have become. Based on what part of the world youre in and how common these are, employers are likely looking to hear stories of what you did and how your experiences have benefitted and prepared you for this role.
Provide a short explanation of why you decided to pursue a gap year, then focus on what came out of it that made a positive difference for your future.
Example: During my last year of high school, I didnt feel ready to choose my educational path, so I took a wilderness course for a few months to sort out my life goals. It may seem a little random, but the time I spent actually helped my develop so many new skills in the areas of leadership, communication, . During that time, I realized that I wanted to earn a degree in to align with my passion .
To make a winning impression, youll need to answer each question with poise and passion. But practicing first really helps. Meticulous preparation will allow you to appear confident and in control, helping position you as the ideal candidate when the competition is tough.
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Tell Me About What Motivates You
Youre not going to know what motivates a candidate just from reading their resume or asking about skills and experience. Its best to just ask them directly, perhaps by asking them hypothetical questions or inquiries into what motivated them in past roles.
If what drives the interviewee matches the position and your corporate culture, you have a winner.
What Do You Expect Me To Accomplish In The First 90 Days
If you weren’t asked this question, ask it yourself. Why? Great candidates want to hit the ground running. They don’t want to spend weeks or months “getting to know the organization.” They don’t want to spend huge chunks of time in orientation, in training, or in the futile pursuit of getting their feet wet.
They want to make a difference — and they want to make that difference right now.
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What Does Customer Service Mean To You
If youre applying for a public-facing role, an employer may ask this question to determine what aspects of customer service are most important to you. . A good answer will align with the companys values, which you can glean through researching their customer service policy, understanding their products and clientele and reflecting on your own experiences as a customer. Your answer can either come from the perspective of a customer or a customer service provider.
Example answer:In my experience, good customer service involves taking responsibility when something goes wrong and doing what you can to make it right. For example, on a recent flight, I had pre-ordered my meal only to discover they didnt stock enough of my dish. Instead of simply stating the facts, the flight attendant apologized sincerely and offered me a free drink or premium snack. To me, this apology went a long way in smoothing things over. The freebie was a bonus that made me feel valued as a customer and choose the same airline for my next flight.
How Long Do Interviews Last
Interviews can generally last anywhere between 30 minutes to several hours.
There are many factors that come into play including the type of job, how the company structures their interviews, and what number interview it is .
Phone, face to face, and Skype interviews will all run at different lengths as well.
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What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment At Work Or Describe A Difficult Work Situation And How You Handle It
The best way to answer this question is by selecting an achievement that showcases your efforts in alignment with the company values, or that fits with the open position. Back your answer up with solid figures. Say your initiative helped your previous company cut down significant promotional costs. Name the cost for maximum impact.
Asking about a difficult situation at work, the interviewer wants to know how you face a challenge. Let’s say you had to deal with an aggrieved client on the brink of abandoning a project explain how you pacified and retained the client to finally complete the deal. Your response will successfully display your spontaneity in problem-solving.
The next under general interview questions is as follows.
What Are Your Salary Expectations For This Role
This question can be tricky to answer if you are unprepared. Take some time before the interview to research the salaries in the company and the salaries of similar roles at different companies. This may give you an estimate for the salary range that you might expect in the role. Try not to undersell yourself with your salary, but do not exceed a reasonable rate for the job as this could make you less hireable to the interviewer.
Example:’**Based on my previous experience and skill set, I would like to earn Â£35,000 per year in this position. Having researched similar roles at other companies and your own typical pay rate, I believe that this is a reasonable request for someone with my experience.’**
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