Regardless of the role for which you’re hiring, there are always typical interview questions you can use across the board to gather info on each candidate with whom you speak.
Asking prospects about their job search, salary expectations, and career paths at large is certainly ideal. But getting them to answer the questions below is equally imperative to ensuring both a smooth hiring process and, ultimately, making the right hire.
What are typical interview questions, exactly?
Typical interview questions are perfect for assessing candidates’ soft skills (e.g., culture fit, creative-thinking approach, communication skills, self-motivation techniques).
Asking these questions, along with ones that help you assess hard skills (i.e., ones that align with the job description) and learn about individuals’ backgrounds and aspirations (e.g., education, previous roles, desired salary range, gaps in employment), are key to getting a 360-degree view of potential hires.
Typical interview questions are vital to ask because they allow you to review candidates by criteria that you can easily understand and communicate back to hiring managers. Job seekers who answer these Qs are are also more likely to be a better fit for your business.
While these questions are great for recruiters to assess applicants on initial screenings, they can also be used by hiring managers to gauge a person’s fit for the role and their team as well as learn about their long-term career goals (i.e., dream job down the line).
Typical interview questions to ask all candidates
Below are different subsets of typical interview questions to ask each job candidate.
Typical interview questions to assess motivation techniques and commitment level
- Are you currently looking at other jobs besides ours? What about those roles motivated you to apply?
- What motivates you to come to work everyday?
- What about our position interests you the most?
- What do you consider the most important factor in deciding where you work next?
- What about our product/company excites you the most?
- How does this position help you get closer to a long-term goal you have?
- What do you hope to learn/gain by taking this position?
- What is missing from your current job that you’re hoping to find here?
- What could your current company change about your job, your team or their culture to retain you?
- How would you define a ‘healthy’ work-life balance?
- What would motivate you to stay at our company for the next 5 years?
- If you find yourself stuck doing repetitive work, how do you motivate yourself to complete it?
- Have you ever worked in a toxic setting? How did you motivate yourself to stay engaged/productive?
Popular interview questions on creative thinking and stressful situations
- Describe a time when there was a work issue and you had to craft a creative solution to resolve it.
- Tell me about a time where you came up with a new way to solve a problem.
- What’s something ‘cool’ or ‘innovative’ you implemented at any of your previous companies?
- What is one of the ideas you’ve come up with and implemented that you’re most proud of?
- Describe a time when you had to analyze information and make a recommendation.
- Describe a time when you had to think “outside the box” to solve a problem.
- When someone brings up new ideas, how do you typically respond?
- Describe a situation where you faced a work challenge. What was it? Dow did you overcome it?
- How do you know when to solve a problem on your own or to ask for help?
Questions job interviewers should ask to gauge good fits for company culture
- What type of work environment do prefer and find motivating?
- What qualities do you think are most important in your leaders?
- How would your previous boss and co-workers describe you?
- How do you handle stress/pressure?
- If you could create your dream work environment, then what would it be?
- What is one team-bonding activity or out-of-work experience that you greatly enjoyed? Do you think these types of activities are necessary for a company to be successful?
- What’s one idea you think we could implement today that would make employees more excited to come to work tomorrow?
- Tell me about the worst work environment that you were ever a part of. What made it a difficult and demotivating place to work? How did that affect your day-to-day work?
Behavioral interview questions to evaluate a candidate’s communication skills
- Tell me about a time where you were an SME and had to explain something intricate to someone else. What was the subject and how did you explain it to your colleague(s)?
- Do you think face-to-face meetings are necessary for teams to be productive? Why or why not?
- Describe a time when you had to rely on written communication to initiate a project. How did you communicate to ensure your ideas came across to your team and they understood all deliverables?
- Describe a time when you worked as part of a team spanning multiple departments. What forms of communication did you use to ensure the project ran smoothly? What challenges did you encounter regarding communication and deliverables? How did your team overcome those?
- Give me an example of a successful presentation you gave. How did you prepare and explain everything to ensure it was successful?
- Tell me about a time you had to make a good impression on a client. How did you ensure you made a significant, positive impression?
- Give me an example of when you had to interact with a difficult client/customer. What were the circumstances of the interaction? How did you handle this difficulty? Were you able to change the experience from negative to positive?
- Tell me about a time you had to persuade a co-worker or manager. What did you do to persuade them to see things your way?
- Describe a time where you had to deal with a conflict with another person at work. How did you handle it and what was the outcome?
- What advice would give a future coworker to ensure they communicate with you as best as possible?
- Tell me about a time where you didn’t communicate properly with someone and a mistake happened as a result. What went wrong? What would you do differently?
Commonly asked interview questions to ask around collaboration and teamwork
- Do you prefer to work as part of a team that is primarily autonomous? Why or why not?
- Have you ever worked remotely? What did you like? Dislike?
- Can you describe one of your favorite teams that you’ve been a part of? What made this team your favorite? How would you replicate or improve this type of team at our company?
- Describe the most difficult team you’ve been a part of. What made the experience challenging? What would you do differently to make this team function better and/or be more enjoyable to work with?
- What is your ideal role on a team?
- What do you think is more important for a team: technical skills or communication? Why?
- If you notice a member of your team is struggling, what would you do?
- Tell me about a time where a team you were a part of experienced some sort of conflict. What did you do to help resolve the issues?
- Tell me about a time when you had to collaborate with a member of your team who was not responsive. How did you handle that situation? Were you able to fulfill your responsibilities?
- Have you ever felt like being part of a team has held you back from being effective? Why?
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