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Good Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

Interview questions that will help you identify the best candidates for your organization

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Good Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

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Good Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

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Good Interview Questions To Ask Candidates

Finding the right candidates for your open roles can be tedious, and it’s often difficult to get a full scope of an applicant from a 30-minute interview. But there are certain interview questions to ask to gauge a potential employee’s abilities and personality so that you can feel confident that you’re making the right hire. 

Without good interview questions, you’re not able to learn enough about the candidate to make an educated decision around hiring them, and hiring the wrong person can cost your company thousands of dollars and countless hours as you attempt to backfill the position. So it’s necessary to map out some interview questions to ask an interviewee before you begin the process in order to separate the best candidates from the pack. Below, we’ve outlined some of the best interview questions to ask to help you fill your roles with top talent. From unique questions to questions for managers, these are some of the best recruitment interview questions and answers.

Unique Interview Questions To Ask Candidates

Through an interview, you’re trying to get to know your candidates as best you can. Your intention shouldn’t be to trip them up on tricky questions, but to make sure they will be a good fit for the role you’re hiring for. While you can look for tough interview questions and answers online, they often won’t apply to the role you’re hiring for, or serve the purpose you’re seeking. 

It’s better to use questions that will create dialogue and allow you to have a conversation with your applicants. Of course, you can throw in some critical thinking questions, but you shouldn’t base your entire interview around attempting to make your candidates stumble over their answers. 

Unique interview questions and answers can provide you with a broader scope of understanding, so that you can see how applicants articulate themselves and how they react under pressure. And when I say “unique” I don’t mean silly. Your questions should serve a purpose and not just come out of left field. Otherwise, they can be incredibly off putting and make you seem unprofessional.

These unique interview questions to ask candidates should be interspersed with other questions about the role specifically and your candidate’s background, but you will gain a better understanding of your applicants with questions that are a little more out of the box. 

Here are 5 unique interview questions you can ask in your next interview: 

  1. What’s something that’s not on your resume that you think I should know about?
  2. What’s a common misconception about you? 
  3. How would your best friend describe you in three words or less?
  4. What makes working in this industry interesting to you? 
  5. What gets you excited about coming to work? 

These questions all have a tangible relationship to interviewing, and they serve the purpose of better understanding your candidates. Remember, you’re not trying to make your candidates feel uncomfortable and you obviously shouldn’t ask any questions that are inappropriate or discriminatory. 

Creative Questions To Ask In An Interview

When it comes to interviewing for creative roles or even simply trying to spice up the interview process, creative questions can be extremely helpful. Similar to the unique questions listed above, the point of asking creative questions is to get your candidates to think differently and express themselves. 

You don’t need to look for hard interview questions to ask candidates and should instead focus on questions that will get them thinking outside of the box. You can choose casual interview questions to ask candidates, too, like “if you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?” Even though this question has nothing to do with the role (unless they’re applying to be a superhero), you still can get a sense of their personality and what appeals to them. 

Some examples of creative questions to ask in an interview are as follows: 

  1. If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?
  2. What do you have little patience for?  
  3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose to live?
  4. What makes you unique?
  5. What advice would you give to your younger self?

These questions have a strategic element to them, even though they may seem like filler. If your candidates can reveal their personalities and perceptions, you’ll have a better chance of gauging what they’ll add to your company culture. 

You can also opt for strategic interview questions to ask candidates like:

  1. What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
  2. What kind of management style do you prefer?
  3. What qualities do you look for in senior leadership?
  4. Where do you hope to be in five years?
  5. What’s your greatest achievement?
  6. How do you keep yourself organized?
  7. Why do you want to work for this company?

These questions will open the conversation up and help your interviewee to think about their career and personal life from a different perspective, and will help you to evaluate them on a different level than the more common questions. 

Interview Questions For Managers

When interviewing for a manager position, your questions should vary a bit from individual contributors. That’s because these people need to have a certain skill set that enables them to be an effective leader.

Here are some qualities to look for in a manager and what you should frame your interview questions for managers around:

  • An engaging personality
  • Proven record of development
  • Is encouraging
  • Welcomes feedback
  • Shows empathy
  • Handles pressure well
  • Is trustworthy

So when looking for a manager, here are some sample interview questions and answers you can ask: 

  • How do you define success? 

This interview question for managers will help you gauge what they’ll be looking for in their team members, and the standard they will hold themself to. They should be able to give an example and expand on why they chose this as their definition of success. 

Sample answer: I of course like to focus on key metrics established before a project begins, but there are other ways to measure success, such as learning lessons and completing tasks. I think success is defined by growth and I always try to reinforce that on my team. 

  • How do you deal with conflict among your team members?

This is another great question to ask while interviewing someone. Mitigating conflict is something that will inevitably come up in their career, so asking this question will ensure they are following your company’s core values when addressing it. 

Sample answer: I want to make sure I listen to my team members first and foremost before I take any action. I need to understand the story from all sides, while remaining as neutral as possible. I would then discuss with both individuals separately what some professional solutions would be so that we remain in-line with our company values. And if the situation requires, I would of course inform HR as soon as possible. 

  1. How do you keep your team motivated?

This is a powerful question to ask during an interview. No doubt about it, there will come a time when team members just don’t feel eager to do their job. It happens and it’s the reality, so it’s good to ensure who you’re hiring can help keep your staff motivated.

Sample answer: I know that everyone can feel burnt out from time to time, so it’s important to me to remind my team that they’re not expected to always be fully “on”. I want to make sure they take time for themselves and they know that their physical and mental health is important. That said, I also want to help my team reach their personal and professional goals, so I’ll check in during our one on one meetings and always remind them what they’re working toward. And I make sure to congratulate them on their achievements and shout them out publicly so the whole company knows about their contributions. 

Killer Interview Questions To Ask Employers

Conversely, the applicant should also come prepared with killer questions to ask at the end of an interview. It’s always uncomfortable when an interviewee’s response to, “what questions do you have for me?” is followed by silence, so come up with some unique interview questions to ask employers so that they know you’re serious about the role.  

Here are some killer interview questions to ask employers:

  1. What’s a project you’re most proud of?
  2. What is something that the last person in this role did really well?
  3. How will you measure the success of the person in this role? 
  4. What’s your management style?
  5. What do you think the first three months of this role will look like?

These are great questions to ask following your interview, and even can be your final interview questions to ask employers. In addition to coming prepared with questions, you should also do your research on the company and ask questions specific to the organization you’re interviewing with. You want to show that you’ve done your homework and truly are dedicated to the role. 

Looking for more interview questions and tips? Check out our Seamless Hiring Process Playbook.