What Interview Questions Should I Ask Candidates
The best interview questions to ask candidates depend on the role and the type of candidate you hope to attract. At minimum, you should ask the most common interview questions such as:
- Tell me about yourself
- Why do you want to work for this company?
- What are your greatest strengths?
- What is your biggest weakness?
- Why should we hire you?
Additional questions should evaluate whether the candidate is a good skill and culture fit for the position. Feel free to tailor your top interview questions to suit your organization and industry.
Common Interview Questions & Answers
- Post authorBy Jeff Lipschultz
The number of questions that can be asked by Human Resources, the hiring manager, and other interviewers is limitless.
These are some of the most commonly asked questions and my thoughts on how to answer them in a way that makes you memorable in a positive way.
Even these boring, standard, or basic questions can have unique and useful answers your best answers smart answers to these questions!
What Are Your Weaknesses Common Interview Questions
This is the polar opposite to the previous question. This one requires you to think carefully about what weaknesses you do possess, but wouldnt impact your ability to work well in the role youre applying. Whatever you do, do not say that you dont have any weaknesses. Everyone has a weakness of some kind, so if you claim not to have any your interviewer will think youre lying or simply naïve.
For this question, try to give one example of a weakness, but within it reveal or reiterate your strengths. Also, make sure that your weakness is not one which would stop you from doing the job well. If your job involves working with people, dont say that you struggle to work with people.
Example: I often find it hard to delegate work to others. This is because Im a perfectionist and sometimes dont trust people to handle things for me. This feedback was given to me by my colleagues, and so I made attempts to change my approach which improved morale in my workplace.
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Culture Fit Questions To Ask Job Candidates:
- What does your ideal company look like?
- What attracted you to this company?
- What do you know about this industry?
- What do you know about our company?
- What is your ideal working environment?
- What kind of personalities do you work best with and why?
- What do you look for in terms of culture?
- What do you think of your previous boss?
- What will you miss about your present/last job?
- What are five things you disliked most about your last job?
- What are you ideal top qualities in a co-worker?
- If you could open a business, what would it be and why?
- What personality traits do you butt heads with?
- Describe your ideal company culture. What five characteristics does it have?
- Why do you want to work at this company and what are your expectations?
- Who inspires you and why?
- Whats your superpower?
- What motivates you to come into work every day?
- How do you rely on others to make you better?
- Do you have any questions for me?
Common Fresher Interview Questions
Knowing the most common interview questions for freshers can improve your odds of getting a job if you are still in college or recently graduated. Regardless of your educational background and specialization, the way you answer these common interview questions can have a significant effect on your odds of getting hired. Knowing how to answer interview questions is a valuable skill and it requires research and practice. In this article, we discuss the most commonly-asked interview questions for freshers, explain why they are asked by employers and provide example answers.
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Questions To Ask Employees During An Interview
When hiring a new employee, its important to ask the right questions.
There are some interview questions that are a given we all know how to put a good spin on the classic greatest weakness question. Its also expected that youll have potential employees review their job history and qualifications.
But how do you really dig into what makes someone tick as an employee, and how do you determine if theyll be a good fit for your businessnot only in terms of their skills, but also their personality, and as a part of your company culture?
To help you come up with the perfect list of interview questions to ask potential employees, Ive divided this list into five categories: personality questions, culture fit questions, background and work experience questions, work habits and working style questions, and career goal questions. Be sure to check out my article on How to Hire Your First Employee as well.
Pick and choose a handful that feel most applicable from each list, or ask them all . With a well-rounded list of interview questions, finding the perfect candidate for your open position should be no problem at all.
Can You Explain Why You Changed Career Paths
Dont be thrown off by this questionjust take a deep breath and explain to the hiring manager why youve made the career decisions you have. More importantly, give a few examples of how your past experience is transferable to the new role. This doesnt have to be a direct connection in fact, its often more impressive when a candidate can show how seemingly irrelevant experience is very relevant to the role.
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What Skills Would You Bring To The Job
While this is similar to questions like, Why should we hire you? or What can you bring to the company? it allows you to be more specific about your work ethic, style and unique abilities as it relates to the role.
An impactful answer will discuss your hard and soft skills and use the STAR method to illustrate how your unique skills might benefit the team or organization.
Example answer:I can make anyone feel comfortable in a new environment, which makes me a good fit as a human resources assistant. In my previous position, a new employee came to me and told me that she didnt think she was right for the company culture. After talking to her for a few minutes, we realized that she felt too much pressure to participate in company events. I started introducing events that involved fewer competitions and more casual environments, and she quickly grew more comfortable with her team.
Why Is There A Gap In Your Work Experience
In most cases, a gap in your work experience doesnt really mean anything. You probably have a very good reason for it.
The interviewer, however, will definitely ask about it, and you should answer adequately.
Theres no secret sauce to answering this question, just let the recruiter know about your situation, whatever that may be:
- Maternity leave
- Caring for a sick family member
- Time off to pursue further education
- Relocating to a different city
- Working on a personal project
Whichever the case may be, just explain the situation in brief and move on.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that if you were laid off at work, or you quit and had trouble getting a new job, you should be very subtle about it.
If the interviewer knows that youre struggling to find a job, youre going to give them the upper hand in salary negotiations.
I had a baby and had to take maternity leave.
- Sample Answer 2:
My father was sick, so I had to be the one to take care of him full-time over a few months.
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Tell Me About A Time When You Went Above And Beyond What Was Necessary As Part Of Your Job Common Interview Questions
This is a fairly straightforward question that allows you to really sell yourself as a candidate. Just think of a work scenario where a combination of your talents, plus extra hard work and initiative, led to a successful outcome.
Example: In my previous position, a deadline was approaching fast and there was still a lot to do. Some of my team-mates had been absent due to sickness so they hadnt been able to complete their work. I asked my manager if it was possible to take over their assignments to get everything finished on time. My manager agreed to this and I completed the remaining work that my colleagues had left. This meant that we were able to meet the deadline.
Where Is The Company Going
Most of the questions you ask should serve the dual purpose of expanding your knowledge about the job and showing the interviewers that you’re really interested and qualified. It’s a good idea to inquire about the organization’s plans for the future.
A general way to phrase the question would be:“Are any important changes, new programs or initiatives in the works?”If your research suggests it, you might ask a more specific question about an expansion or merger, for example, or changes to deal with the unpredictable economy. Such questions let interviewers know that you’re interested in the organization for the long haul and that you want to be a part of its future.
Read on for some suggestions of questions that might make the interviewer open up — and make him or her feel friendly toward you, too.
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Do You Have Any Questions
This might be one of the most important questions asked during the interview process because it allows you to explore any topics that havent been addressed and shows the interviewer youre serious about the role. Remember that you are interviewing the company too. Take time to ask the interviewer questions about their own experiences with the company, gain tips on how you can succeed if hired and address any lingering questions you have. Some examples include:
What do you love most about working for this company?
What would success look like in this role?
What are some of the challenges people typically face in this position?
How important is it that you hire someone with XYZ qualities?
Do you have any hesitations about hiring me?
Question: How Do People Describe You
Heres another opportunity to differentiate yourself. Everyone claims to be: a hard worker, good communicator, and team player.
But how many are a: problem-solver, game-changer, leader in the industry?
Be creative, and have stories to back it up. The interviewer will want to know why someone thinks you are one of these things.
Focus on them: You want to present attributes that make you sound like the go-to guy or gal wherever you work. Even the standard answers can be taken a step further to be more valuable:
- Yes, they want hard workers, but most likely thats commonplace at their office. Maybe you work hard, but also help others work fewer hours .
- Good communicators are everywhere. But this does not mean just speaking well. It includes active listening. Do you hear things that others dont? Do you understand things quickly? Can you figure out what people are trying to tell you through other clues ?
- Being a good team player is expected, too. But what does this really mean? Getting along with everyone? Thats not hard to do if youre a nice person. Pulling your weight in the office? Again, expected. What have you done, beyond your job description, that saved the team from a disaster or helped them make an impossible deadline? Have you won an award for this?
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Question: What Is Your Greatest Strength
Your greatest strength is something they actually need.
Dont choose something irrelevant to the job or the employer, like your skill in Sudoku .
Focus on them: You have many strengths, but pick the one they need help with the most. Is it your expertise in a particular skill or technology? Is it your ability to turn low-performing teams into high performers? Share something that makes them think they need to hire youright now.
If they often outsource or hire consultants in a key area of your expertise, youre in their sweet spot for candidates.
How Has Your Role Changed Or Evolved
Ask this question to learn more about opportunities for growth within the organization. This may help you understand how often the company asks employees to accept new or different job responsibilities. Consider asking follow-up questions about the interviewer’s previous roles within the company or what tasks they’ve enjoyed the most.
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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.
Why Did You Change Your Career Path
If you recently changed your career path, the interviewer is sure to ask about it.
Dont worry – theres nothing wrong with this.
A lot of people go through a career change. Some even do it several times in their lifetime!
As long as youre good at what you do, no one cares if you were a pediatrician in one year, and a professional chef in another.
When asked this question, all you have to do is answer truthfully. Explain how your old job just wasnt for you, and how the job youre applying for is so much more interesting.
- Sample Answer
I realized that being a doctor is not for me. While I did enjoy my 3 years in med school, the 6 year study period was too much.
I wanted to start making money and help out my family way before that, so I dropped out of university and started taking online courses in accounting.
At this point, Im pretty good at it, having done 2 internships so far in and .
- Sample Answer 2
Simply because I enjoy doing sales much more than accounting. After 5 years of working as an accountant for Firm X, I decided I wanted to try something new.
I asked my boss at the time to let me transition to the sales team, and I ended up liking it AND being pretty good at it.
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Could You Tell Me About Yourself And Describe Your Background In Brief
Interviewers like to hear stories about candidates. Make sure your story has a great beginning, a riveting middle, and an end that makes the interviewer root for you to win the job.
Talk about a relevant incident that made you keen on the profession you are pursuing and follow up by discussing your education. In the story, weave together how your academic training and your passion for the subject or industry the company specializes in, combined with your work experience, make you a great fit for the job. If youve managed a complex project or worked on an exciting, offbeat design, mention it.
Example: I come from a small town, where opportunities were limited. Since good schools were a rarity, I started using online learning to stay up to date with the best. Thats where I learned to code and then I went on to get my certification as a computer programmer. After I got my first job as a front-end coder, I continued to invest time in mastering both front- and back-end languages, tools, and frameworks.
How To Prepare For An Interview
Use these questions and example answers to prepare for your interview by making them your own and tailoring them to fit your experience, the job and the company youre interviewing for. Its important to get comfortable with what you could be asked and understand what a good response might be.
Much like preparing for a test in school, the best way to succeed in your interview is to study and practice. Research the company and the job, and practice your talking points until you feel confident about your answers. The more you prepare, the more likely you are to leave a lasting impression and outperform fellow candidates. Come equipped with examples of work from previous jobs, as well as ideas for the new job. Try and make the interview as conversational as possible by showing genuine interest in the job, company and your interviewer.
How would you describe yourself?
What makes you unique?
Why do you want to work here?
What interests you about this role?
What motivates you?
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Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years Time
An interviewer will be impressed if you have considered your short-term and long-term goals. Talk about the kind of job you’d eventually like to do and the various steps you will take to get there.
Show that you have the ambition and determination to make the most of every job you have held to get where you want to be and always relate this back to the position you’re interviewing for. Avoid telling the interviewer that you want their job.
More Help For Succeeding In Your Job Interviews
As some of you know from reading my free Job-Hunt interviewing guide Successful Job Interviewing: What Job Candidates Need to Know I recommend building a checklist of key experiences and attributes you want to cover and find opportunities to present them during the interview. The Standard Questions are often times those moments.
In developing your answers to the typical questions, focus on stories rather than simply stated facts. Read my post The Secret to Job Interview Success for details on how to choose and structure those stories.
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