Wednesday, April 10, 2024

What Are The Best Interview Questions To Ask A Candidate

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Best Interview Questions To Ask Any Job Candidate: Employer Interview Tips

More than anything, you should want to learn more about the organization, gain a deeper understanding of particular pain points and pressing issues and appreciate how and where you can make immediate contributions. Hopefully youve done your homework prior to your interview to learn as much as you could about the role, the organization and the culture. Still, by getting a response to this question, youll gain more data that will either validate or enhance your understanding and give you a leg up with information that will help you demonstrate how you are the best fit for the role.

Tell Me About Yourself

As a former hiring manager at two different Fortune ranked companies before entering academia and eventually becoming a tenured management professor, I regularly used open-ended questions of this sort at the beginning of an interview. And since theres really no right answer, its generally a low-stress way to relax applicants and get them talking.

But while there may not be any right answers, there are definitely subjects that wise candidates would avoid during an initial interview. For example, if an applicant is recently divorced and is now the primary caregiver for an elderly parent with Alzheimers disease or has two pre-school toddlers at home, those would generally be topics to avoid during that first interview. So given that caveat, what is a potential employer really looking for? In a single phrase, hiring managers are searching for organizational fit.

As a general proposition, organizations seek people who can help them grow stronger. Thus, they want folks who will solve problems, not create them.

So as much as possible, I looked for applicants who discussed the relevant transferable skills and related work experience that they could bring to a particular job, a work team, and the overall organization. Further, answering while weaving in the notion of enjoying challenging work and the sense of accomplishment gained for a job well done also earned high marks during my evaluations.

Questions To Ask The Interviewer:

  • How would you describe the general culture of the company and the workplace?
  • Why did you choose this company?
  • Will there be any form of training provided?
  • What are some of the biggest challenges/successes facing the department currently?
  • What process will be used to evaluate my employee performance?
  • Who will be my direct supervisor?
  • Are there many opportunities for professional development within the company?
  • What is the usual time frame for making the hiring decision?
  • May I contact you if any further questions arise?
  • Many candidates take the wrong path and ask inappropriate questions in their first interview. As tempting as benefits and salary information is to know upfront, that should only be discussed after you have been offered the position. Plus, you will be in a better position to negotiate anyway. Not jumping ahead is important because you should be focused on having a great and memorable first interview to be called in for a second.

    Author: Debbie Lawrence is a content editor who primarily writes for an online schooling blog. You can contact with any suggestions, questions, or comments on Twitter here.

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    What Interests You The Most About This Position

    Jokes aside, here is the perfect opportunity to understand why the candidate applied for this position. Did they do their homework and research your company? Do they have the skill-set and feel very confident about it?

    Bottom line, confidence sells. If they did their research about your company and theyre very confident in the job requirements, they may be a good fit for the position.

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    Make sure to research the company you’re interviewing with, not only to shine when answering the questions asked of you, but to seem informed and engaged when it’s your turn to ask the questions. Oliver says questions like this simply show you’ve done your homework and are genuinely interested in the company and its leaders.

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    Tell Me About A Time You Failed To Reach Your Goal

    I like to ask questions that uncover people with high potential, which is very important for our line of work.

    What this question does is show whether the candidate is working from a victim mentality or whether they will do whatever needs to be done to keep going, even when things seem incredibly challenging.

    Some examples of poor answers:

    • It wasnt my fault
    • I had to quit because family/life/job got in the way.
    • I couldnt do it because of XYZ

    All of these answers to me say that given enough obstacles, the person will quit before even attempting to find a new path.

    Good answers are:

    • Although I hit the wall, I still kept trying to find a solution.
    • Everyone told me it couldnt be done, but I kept on going.
    • I dont give up easily, and I am certain I will find a solution one day.

    What Im really looking for when I ask this question is to see if the person is visibly uncomfortable, but they never resort to blaming other elements for the failure. This is a great indicator of high potential. These individuals also frequently never admit defeat but rather see the failure as a temporary obstacle that will be resolved at some point in the future.

    Tell Me About A Time You Screwed Up

    An oldie but goodie. This is a tried-and-true test for self-awareness. Someone who takes ownership of their mess-up and learns something from it is usually humble and mindful. Candidates who blame others or give a “fake” screw-up are red flags.

    A good answer to this question:

    A good answer to this question will do two things well:

    • Admit to a genuine mistake. Often candidates will dress up a mistake with a self-compliment or excuse to avoid looking weak. For example, “I was so committed to X that I overlooked Y.” On the contrary, good answers will just show that they miscalculated, plain and simple.
    • Explain what they learned from it. It’s one thing to screw up, but it’s another thing to take that screw-up as an opportunity to improve. Great companies learn more from failure than they do from success — candidates who do too are exactly what you need to grow.

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    What Is The Star Method In Interviewing

    The STAR method is an interview technique that organizes answers to behavioral questions into a structured response format as follows:

    Situation: Describes a specific situation that pertains to the question. Outline the particulars of the circumstance.

    Task: Explain the objective.

    Action: Illustrate the steps and actions taken in order to achieve the desired goal. Be as detailed as possible and focus on individual contributions.

    Response: Relay the outcome of the action and evaluate results.

    This interview structure ensures that the interviewer receives comprehensive answers that provide a more complete picture of applicants work styles. Though situations should ideally be from past jobs, entry-level applicants or candidates pursuing career changes may draw on from experiences from school, internships, volunteer work, or other industries.

    Situational And Behavioral Interview Questions

    10 Best Interview Questions to Reveal Behavioral Quirks

    Situational questions and behavioral help you understand how a candidate works through specific examples. They can be hypothetical or set the candidate up to share actually situations theyve experienced. Asking a candidate about a challenge theyve experienced in the past isnt a bad question but these unique interview questions give you more insight into their thought process.

    • Tell me about a time you were the hero in your workplace.
    • Describe a time when you werent pleased with your work and why?
    • What personal or professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
    • If you were our CEO, whats the first thing you would do?
    • How would you pitch our product/service to a person you meet on the street? .

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    What Would You Change If You Could Go Back

    I also like to ask candidates about a particular action they took in the past that they would change if they could go back. The reason I ask this question is that I am interested in finding out a persons experiences. While a resume will often boast the candidates achievements, I prefer to discover the potential employees grit in overcoming diversity and challenges.

    Steven Azizi Business Owner Miracle Mile Law Group

    Every Interview And Every Hire Is Important

    Asking the right questions can help you better evaluate your candidates and make the best hiring decision for your business.

    Looking for more information on building a team of productive and engaged employees? Download our free e-book, How to develop a top-notch workforce that will accelerate your business.

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    To Date What Professional Achievement Are You Most Proud Of

    Candidates show up to interviews with a goal of impressing you. So, chances are, that applicant is armed and ready with a few major accomplishments up her sleeve.

    Whether its an award, a certification, or a big project that went exceptionally well, asking the interviewee what in her professional history shes proudest of will give you a better sense of where her strengths really lie.

    Plus, this question offers the chance for her to expand on something she feels good aboutwhich can ease her nerves and help to boost her confidence going into the rest of the interview.

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    This tests out the candidates ability to handle conflict in the workplace. Would they approach the co-worker in a professional manner and discuss it? Would they go directly to the manager?

    The ideal candidate would professionally and genuinely bring it up with a co-worker. Perhaps the co-worker doesnt fully understand the task. The ideal candidate shows how they professionally mitigate problems. The last resort is to bring it up with the manager.

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    What Is Your Ideal Position And Why

    This question allows the candidate to not only share what they believe their best technical and soft skills are but also how they think those skills can be best applied. You can use this information to determine if the candidates abilities are closely aligned with the responsibilities of the job position.

    Summary: 32 Strategic Interview Questions To Ask Candidates

    Well, I hope that was useful if you liked this article or if you have any great questions of your own you would like to share, please leave a comment below.

    Lastly, a huge thank you to all of the esteemed contributors to this article.

    Now that you have hired the right person, take a look at our 13 Proven Ways To Get Your Employees To Like & Respect You.

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    Why Are You Leaving Abc

    Obviously you want to know why theyre available, but as important is how they tell their story.

    What their answers mean:

    • Laid off, company is moving or closing: easy to verify, typically has nothing to do with performance.
    • More money may be a legitimate reason for leaving: ask why theyre ready for a bump up the pay scale
    • Taken on a lot more responsibility but havent been compensated: a fair reason to leave
    • Their rent went up: might want to rethink this candidate
    • Looking for a new opportunity: might mean theyre stuck in a dead-end job in a dead-end company and theyre looking for more challenges. Or it might mean they dont get along with others and they want out. Ask for more specifics.
    • Management differences: could mean they work for a horrible boss or they are being pressured to leave because of poor performance/attitude. Press for specific details.
    • Time for a change: the catchphrase of job-jumpers. If they cant give a legitimate reason, you might be re-filling that spot in a year when malaise sets in for them at your company.
    • Employer bad-mouthing: Yes, there are horrid bosses out there that great employees neednt tolerate. But there are ways to articulate the need to work for a quality company with a respectful management staff professionally. If they cant, you may be looking at the newest constant complainer at your company.

    Questions To Ask About The Culture

    5 interview questions to ask candidates

    This is a great opportunity for you to learn if the company culture is in alignment with the type of culture youre seeking. You might consider researching the type of company culture youre most interested in beforehand.

    Question 22: How would you describe the company culture?

    This is a great, straightforward question to hear about how the interviewer would describe the companys culture. Interviewers will often speak to what they like most about the culture, so its great to ask this question to multiple people throughout the interview process to get a holistic view of the culture.

    Question 23: I came across an interview with your CEO where she touched on several aspects of the company culture. What elements of the culture here do you like best?

    Asking about company culture this way shows how youve researched the company and its executives. Its a great way to display a genuine interest in the company and position. This question also shows that you care to understand whether the culture will be a good fit for you and whether you’ll be a good fit for the company.

    Question 24: What are the most important values of your company?

    Companies often have missions or values that drive the decisions, attitudes and goals of the company. Knowing and understanding these values can give you great insight into the type of culture thats set.

    Also Check: What Are The Top 10 Behavioral Questions In An Interview

    Why Do You Want To Work Here

    There are plenty of places to work â so, during the interview process, itâs important to ask candidates why they want to work at your organization. Ideally, the candidates youâre interviewing will be excited about your company, have done their research, and are aligned with your mission and values if the candidate doesnât show they really care about your organization and are clearly just applying because itâs an available job , chances are, they wonât be as committed over the long-term.

    What’s One Of The Most Interesting Projects Or Opportunities That You’ve Worked On

    “I like this question because it gets me thinking about my own experiences, and my response changes depending on what I was or am working on and in theory, should always be changing if I’m challenging myself and advancing,” Brown told Business Insider.

    Brown says that by asking for a specific example, candidates can get a better picture of what the job entails and how people function in certain roles.

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    What Single Project Or Task Would You Consider Your Most Significant Career Accomplishment To Date Walk Me Through The Plan How You Managed It How You Measured Success And What The Biggest Mistakes You Made Were

    Lou Adler, one of the world’s foremost recruiting thinkers, has made no secret of his 10 year search for the perfect interview question. After all his research, this is the question that he landed upon. He believes it’s the best indicator of whether you should, or shouldn’t hire someone.

    Interview questions like this are the whole package. Candidates have an opportunity to give you a behind the scenes tour of the professional accomplishment that they’re most proud of. You’ll get insights into how they plan and run projects, as well as how the bar they set for success.

    Top candidates will also use the “biggest mistakes” part of the question to display a sense of ownership for any weak points in the project.

    Great Interview Questions To Help You Hire The Right Person

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    You want to hire the best possible people for your team. And the best time to find out whether a candidate falls under that âbest possible peopleâ umbrella?

    The interview.

    Interviews are your opportunity to get to know potential candidates and explore whether theyâre the right fit for your organization . But the only way youâre going to get the information that you need to make the right hiring decision â for your team, your company, and the candidate â is if you ask the right questions.

    Letâs take a look at 21 of the best interview questions to ask during your next interview.

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    What Are You Most Excited About In This Company’s Future

    Want to inject a little positivity into your phone call with HR? Ask them what has them pumped up right now. What motivates them to get up in the morning? Put yourself in HR’s shoes: Wouldn’t you love to answer this question, especially if you love the company you work for?

    Asking the HR rep what they’re most excited about shows them that you, too, thrive on enthusiasm. It also brings the best out in your interviewer — a good headspace for HR to be in as they hand you off to the hiring manager.

    Questions On What The Applicant Is Seeking

    You know what youre looking for, but what is the candidate looking for? Determining whether a candidate will be a good long-term fit for your organization depends on whether you can offer what the candidate is seeking. For example, maybe the candidate is looking to advance their career as quickly as possible. If you know that there wont be the opportunity for advancement within your organization for some time, then theres a chance that the candidate will just use your company as a stepping stone. They will be more inclined to leave your company if the opportunity for an advanced position becomes available. Ask some of the following questions to know whether your company can provide what the applicant is looking for:

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