Employers: These Are the Top Questions to Ask Interviewees
Some job candidates would make great politicians. They’ve spent hours, days possibly, preparing to give you all the answers you want to hear.
Searching for employees in the right place and asking the right interview questions during your time with job candidates can help uncover their true talents, personality and motivations.
The more time you spend asking the right questions during a job interview, the better idea you’ll have about the people you might hire and make informed decisions on who you forward with. Once you post your job opening on a job board like ZipRecruiter and start interviewing candidates, you’ll want to keep the following questions in mind:
List of Questions
- Why should we hire you?
- What do you look for in company culture?
- Why do you want a new job?
- What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
- How would your former coworkers describe you?
- What attracted you to this job?
- What’s your ideal work environment?
- What are you looking for in your next role?
- When was the last time you overcame a major conflict or challenge at work?
- What have you learned about our company so far?
- How do you handle conflicting priorities or tight deadlines?
- What is your experience with [tool, product, medium or service]?
- What’s your philosophical approach behind working with [tool, product, medium or service]?
- Is there anything else you’d like to know about the job, our company or the interview process?
- What are your salary expectations?
- When would you be able to start?
- What do you like to do outside of work?
Behavioral Interview Questions
These common interview questions can help you get a snapshot of a job candidate’s personality and their behavior in the workplace.
Why should we hire you?
This question can be a great ice breaker or a good way to wrap up a job interview. This prompt gives candidates the opportunity to summarize their entire pitch for earning the job.
What do you look for in company culture?
This interview question can help you determine how well a job seeker might enjoy your company’s culture, as well as whether or not it matters that much to them.
Employee happiness can depend heavily on a company’s culture. Even in a healthy company culture, certain people still feel isolated if they don’t share the same values as the rest of the company. Yet, some people can still thrive within a company culture that isn’t the best fit for them.
Why do you want a new job?
This interview question gives candidates the option to look forward and talk about aspirations for career development. Or they could look backward to tell you why they want to leave their current job and what they’re hoping for in a new job.
What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
This prompt can help a hiring manager or recruiter gauge a candidate’s hard and soft skills, while helping you spot weak points that could need coaching up if you move forward with them.
It could also help you spot red flags, such as a lack of leadership skills in a candidate looking to fill a management position.
You can usually get at least a few nuggets of truth in response to this question, even if some of the strengths may seem a little exaggerated or the weaknesses downplayed a bit.
How would your former coworkers describe you?
There’s only so much you can learn from contacting the candidate’s previous employer. And you shouldn’t contact their current colleagues unless they’re listed as references.
But there are clues you can pick up by listening to them describe how a previous boss or current boss would characterize their work ethic, efficiency and reliability.
Questions Related to the Job Description
Liking them is a big part of hiring them. But can they get the job done reliably and in a timely fashion? These interview questions are meant to help you gauge how well a candidate fits your job description.
What attracted you to this job?
Professional development is always a good answer. But will the job keep them on their ideal career path? The ideal answer here should tie into the job description, too.
Their response can clue you in to just how much they’ve researched the role and whether they just filled out a job application without much consideration.
What’s your ideal work environment?
What’s their work style? Do they prefer to work in teams or alone? Do they embrace the challenge of working on deadlines or prefer a slower pace? Do they prefer regular feedback and affirmation to a hands-off approach?
What are you looking for in your next role?
Their answer here can give you an idea of how fulfilling your job opening could be for them. You know what the role entails and whether their answer aligns with expectations.
When was the last time you overcame a major conflict or challenge at work?
Being a hard worker is one thing. But the best employees have conflict-resolution skills, along with a strong work ethic. Their answers here can give you an idea about the strength of their conflict-resolution skills.
What have you learned about our company so far?
Have they done their homework? Do they take initiative? This interview prompt may not be a dealbreaker, but it can help you get a better understanding of just how serious they’re taking the hiring process.
How do you handle conflicting priorities or tight deadlines?
You want to know how well a potential employee handles stressful situations. The best answers here often come with examples of how an interviewee used their resources, asked for help, delegated smaller tasks, reordered priorities or put in extra work needed to hit their deadlines.
What is your experience with [tool, product, medium or service]?
It’s not always about hiring the smartest person, especially if it takes months or even years to gain proficiency with a product, tool, platform or service that the role relies on regularly.
What’s your philosophical approach behind working with [tool, product, medium or service]?
Are they merely proficient, or are they a guru? This prompt can give you a better understanding about a candidate’s skill level with a product or service that is mission critical to the role you’re hiring for. It can also help you gauge their skills with other candidates.
Icebreakers, Factual and Closing Questions to Ask
Some interview questions can take the tension out of the air at any point in the interview. Some interview questions confirm simple facts. And other interview questions help wrap things up. Here’s a look at some of the best questions in this category.
Is there anything else you’d like to know about the job, our company or the interview process?
You always want to leave time in the job interview for a few questions from the interviewee. It minimizes follow-up questions after the interview and ensures candidates know everything they need to know about the hiring process.
What are your salary expectations?
Even if you established a salary range in the job description, it’s still important to ask an interviewee what their desired salary is. Some job seekers may turn down your job offer even if the starting salary isn’t much lower than what they expected.
When would you be able to start?
This question makes a good segue into talking about next steps in the hiring process including other interviews and setting expectations. It also lets you know if a candidate has planned vacation time or a family obligation that could conflict with their initial availability.
What do you like to do outside of work?
There are lots of right and wrong answers for this open ended question. This is one of those questions to ask to find out more about the things a potential employee cares about, what drives them at work.
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Get Started Today
Finding top talent today is just a matter of creating an employer account on ZipRecruiter and posting your job openings.
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