February 3rd, 2022

5 Interview Questions Every Employer Should Ask

There are literally hundreds of interview questions you could ask candidates. And honestly, which questions you choose will depend on a variety of factors. The type of role, industry, and step in the hiring process all determine what interview questions you may choose. 

Regardless, interview questions are important because you’re not going to properly qualify someone for a job if you’re not asking the right things. Unfortunately, interviews have become predictable. Candidates can easily prepare and make the process less genuine by telling you what they think you want to hear—resulting in a bad hiring decision. 

As a result, here are some questions that are more likely to get genuine answers from candidates but still provide you with the valuable information you need to make a hiring decision. And even better, they can be asked at any stage of the hiring process.  

1. Why do you want to work here? 

Asking why a candidate wants to work at your company is useful for two reasons. The first reason is this question can tell you how much the candidate knows about your company. If someone is serious about getting a job somewhere, they will learn more about the business. If the candidate doesn’t mention a single thing about the company’s industry, product, or service that might signify they didn’t do their research. 

The second reason to ask this question is to see how much the candidate talks about the role and its job duties. What specific aspects they gravitate towards in the job—and how well that aligns with your needs—lets you know whether the role will be a good fit. 

2. Tell me about a mistake you made and how you handled it. 

This is often a dreaded question among candidates, but it can really say a lot about a person depending on how they answer. When asking this question, it’s most important that the candidate has a reasonable mistake in mind that they share. 

Pay special attention to candidates who: 

  • Walk through their mistake
  • Own up to why it was made
  • Share how they resolved it
  • What they learned from it

You’ll be able to understand candidates’ behaviors and how they approach problem-solving when asking this question. It also sheds light on critical thinking and analytical skills depending on how they resolved their mistake. 

3. How would your coworkers or boss describe you? 

How you think others describe you is a good assessment of your self-awareness, how well you get along with others, and your strengths. So this interview question can be useful for an employer to understand a variety of personal qualities in a candidate. 

Whatever words a candidate uses to describe themself should be qualities that fit with you and your team. 

4. Tell me about your favorite professional accomplishment. 

Who doesn’t want to share their greatest success? Having candidates tell you about their favorite accomplishment is a positive and fun way to learn more about them. How excited and animated they get about sharing can also help you determine how passionate they are. 

The type of project or outcome they choose to share is also very insightful. For example, someone who shares how they handled a conflict resolution between coworkers will likely be a strong communicator and team player. On the other hand, a candidate who chooses to share how they improved an existing process may be an efficient and innovative asset to your team. 

However, if the candidate doesn’t readily have an accomplishment in mind to share, be wary of them. This may mean they haven’t taken the initiative to improve or aren’t very passionate about their work. 

5. What interests you most about this position? 

Similar to the first question about why do you want to work here—this question gets more at the role rather than the company. At the end of the day, you’re hiring a person for a specific position. They won’t be a good fit if their interests don’t align with the role and what you’ll need from them. 

And depending on what interests them most will determine how likely they are to stick around. If something they’re interested in learning is a big component of the day-to-day job, then it will be something they’re happy doing for a while. And vice versa if that’s not the case. 

Don’t Forget to Let Them Ask Questions

Employers can get carried away trying to ask all of their interview questions. But it’s important to let the candidate ask some things too. In fact, how many questions and what type of questions a candidate asks can tell you a lot. 

When a candidate has questions prepared, it’s an indicator that they’ve done their research and are taking the process seriously. Inquisitive candidates are also clearly thinking about themselves in the role and the company and aren’t afraid to find out what they need to know to make a decision. 

With all the options out there, deciding which interview questions to ask can be overwhelming. But think through each question on your list and whether there is a purpose to them—and maybe use the ones we shared to get started. But if you’re still stressed about the hiring process and interviews, download our guide below. It’ll walk you through an approach to the interview process that makes it easier to make better hiring decisions. 

Download Our Guide: Best Practices for Interviewing

Download this guide to learn best practices for interviewing and seven simple steps to improve your hiring process.

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