Conducting a successful interview can be difficult for many recruiters and hiring managers. Each candidate and interviewee is uniquely different and understanding what questions to ask can help you make a better and more informed decision. Interviews should always be a two-way street, with both the interviewer and the interviewee asking questions and providing sufficient answer. We’re here to help, giving you 136 interview questions to ask interviewee or a candidate for the open position.
Understanding what to ask the interviewee is perhaps the biggest challenge in conducting an interview. While there are lists of basic and common interview questions, many times you will want to dig deeper to get a better understanding of the candidate. In addition, you may want to ask questions specific to the job and role which you are looking to hire for. Doing so will help you to ensure that the candidate has a mastery of the required items.
Remember, when asking any of the below questions during an interview, it is always best to allow the interviewee appropriate time to respond and formulate their answer. For many of these questions, don’t look for a perfect or preconceived answer. Rather, look to see how the interviewee generates their answer and the flow that they utilize to answer the question.
Lastly, don’t forget that the interviewee is most likely nervous for the interview. Try to ask these questions in a conversational tone and in a passive, calming, and reassuring tone. Doing so will help to ease the candidate’s nerves and help them to answer the questions more sufficiently.
What Is An Interviewee?
There are a number of different terms used for an applicant for an open position. The most common one is simply applicant, or someone who has applied to an open position. A candidate, rather, is meant to describe someone who is in the running for an open position and is used less loosely.
Compared to the above two, an interviewee is someone who is being interviewed. Whereas the employer, whether through a recruiter or a hiring manager, is the interviewer, both the applicant and a candidate can be described as an interviewee.
The term interviewee should only be used for an applicant who is coming in for an interview. With no interview to come to, or at the completion of an interview, they would remain either an applicant or a candidate. This distinction is important as to identify which individual you may be speaking of.
Types of Interviewees
While the word interviewee is a catchall, there are different types of interviewees that can be found within the interview process. These interviewees show off different attitudes, behaviors, and personalities. It is best to be able to distinguish the different types to make a better and more informed hiring decision.
The Monied Individual
This candidate has one goal and that is total compensation. They want to get paid the most and are willing to leave a current role for one that will pay more. While compensation is an important aspect of any role, the monied individual makes it their only concern.
The Can’t Stop Talking Individual
It’s always good to have an interviewee who is willing to talk and discuss their qualifications. However, some individuals simply talk too much. This much talking can hurt their chances as they may accidentally state something they otherwise should not have.
The Scripted Individual
These are interviewees who believe they have mastered the interview process. They memorize their answers and provide scripted, rehearsed lines. They appear robotic and don’t offer too much personality.
This interviewee compensates their lack of experience with exaggerated claims. They do so in an attempt to impress the interviewer but come off looking worse and less experienced.
The Looking for Any Job Individual
This interviewee is willing to accept any job, at any compensation, doing nearly anything. They are desperate for a job and let the interviewer know so. They will accept any compensation, even that severely below market. This is a bad look for an interviewee and can hurt their chances of landing the position.
The Vague Responder
The vague responder may be unsure of themselves or their qualification. It’s honestly difficult to be sure. But they don’t want you to know, so they offer vague, one-off replies and sentences. They hope you don’t ask too many in-depth and pointed questions as that may pierce their vagueness and reveal what they really do and don’t know.
This interviewee states one thing on their resume and says another during the interview. The two-facer places exaggerated and false claims on their resume to land the interview but shows their lack of qualifications during it. They place themselves in a difficult situation where their knowledge gap will be determined, either during the interview or during their first few weeks on the job.
This interviewee can’t take anything seriously. Every comment is followed up with a joke and they don’t know when to be serious and when to appropriately joke around. Although they are humorous to be around, their presence in the office can be disruptive.
The Nervous, Sweating Individual
This interviewee wants the position badly. Almost too badly. They’re extremely nervous for the interview and it shows. They have a nervous laugh and nervous mannerisms about them. They try to hide it, but it only makes it worse. It’s best for the interviewer to help calm their nerves and let them know its ok to be nervous, but to try and compose themselves as the interview moves along.
This interviewee believes they can land the position if they charm the interviewer enough. The compliment everything the interviewer does and says and is always trying to be liked by them.
The Right Fit
The right fit interviewee is the candidate you’ve been waiting for. They’re calm, cool, and collected. They answer your questions directly and have some of their own. They understand the industry and can speak to its recent changes. They’re prepared with additional resumes, cover letters, and references if needed. They are dressed professionally and compliment sparingly. This is the perfect candidate.
136 Interview Questions to Ask Interviewee
- Can you tell us about your previous work experience?
- What did you major in, in college?
- Why did you choose your major in college?
- Where do you see yourself in 5-years?
- Where do you see yourself in 10-years?
- What is your ideal career path?
- Why are you looking to leave your current position?
- Why are you looking to leave your current company?
- What is something a previous manager has done that you enjoyed?
- What type of manager are you?
- Do you wish to pursue a management career?
- If you could give your college-self advice, what would it be and why?
- How did you hear about our company?
- What do you know about our company?
- What do you know about our team?
- What do you know about the role?
- What systems and tools are you proficient with?
- What is a recent accomplishment that you’re proud of?
- Can you tell us a time you were frustrated at work? What did you do?
- Can you tell us a time you had to deal with a frustrated or angry customer? How did you handle the customer?
- Why did you choose your previous employer? What attracted you to apply there?
- What are your short-term goals?
- What are your long-term goals?
- What are your skills and qualifications that make you the best candidate for this role?
- Are you happy in your role or this industry?
- What would you change in the industry?
- What would you change in your current role?
- What areas would you like to develop in further?
- How do you go about learning a new skill?
- What would you like to see at a new company that you go to?
- Why should we hire you?
- If position required, would you be available to travel?
- If you were offered the position, when would you be available to start?
- If you were offered the position, would you be willing to relocate?
- If you were offered the position, would you want work from home opportunities?
- How do you feel about working from home or remotely from the office?
- What tools do you use to stay in touch with your colleagues and manager?
- What tools do you use to remain productive?
- How do you prioritize your tasks?
- How do you organize your inbox?
- Are you available after-hours or on weekends?
- What skills do you bring to this position?
- How well do you think you would be able to handle the needs of this role?
- Can you tell me something that would help me make a better and more informed decision on who to hire for this role?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Tell me about a challenge you’ve faced at work and how you dealt with it
- What’s your dream job?
- Which other companies are you interviewing with?
- Why were you fired?
- What type of work environment do you prefer?
- Can you let us know a time you exercised management or leadership skills?
- How would you handle a disagreement at work?
- What would you do if you didn’t agree with a decision made by your manager?
- How would your manager describe you?
- How would your peers and colleagues describe you?
- Why was there a gap in your employment history?
- What can you tell us about yourself that your resume cannot?
- What would your ideal first 30, 60, and 90 days look like at this company?
- What do you enjoy outside of work?
- What are your hobbies?
- If you had to give a spontaneous TED Talk, what would you discuss?
- What do you think we can do differently?
- What motivates you?
- Do you have experience with (industry software)?
- How would you change (industry software)?
- Do you feel like you are a quick learner?
- What classes did you struggle with at college?
- What gets you excited in the morning?
- If you didn’t have to work, what would you do?
- What is the last book you read?
- How would you fire someone?
- What was the most difficult thing you had to do at a previous company?
- How would you handle a task that you felt wasn’t ethical at work?
- What are some of your leadership skills?
- When was a time you had to spearhead a project?
- How do you get colleagues to work together?
- How do you incentivize employees?
- When was a time that you had to reprimand a direct report?
- Would you go to your manager if you were having problems with an employee?
- Have you ever conducted a skip level meeting?
- Would your manager write you a letter of recommendation?
- Have you ever been asked to write a letter of recommendation for someone?
- What is the last book you read?
- Where do you like to get your news from?
- What’s your favorite website?
- What is the name of our CEO?
- Describe a time your manager was wrong; how did you handle it?
- Would you feel comfortable reporting to someone younger than you?
- How long do you expect to work for this company?
- Have you ever been written up at work?
- How did you improve after a poor performance review?
- Describe a time you had to give someone difficult news
- Which is more important, creativity or efficiency?
- Are you well versed in Microsoft Office Suite?
- Would you be willing to train your peers on what you know?
- What areas or subjects do you consider yourself to be a subject matter expert (SME)?
- Who are our competitors?
- What are our competitors doing better than us on?
- What are our competitors doing worse than us on?
- What is your greatest personal achievement?
- What is the perfect company size?
- Do you prefer working for small, medium, or large companies?
- Describe your top three technical skills
- Do you have reliable transportation?
- Do you prefer an Apple or a Windows computer?
- Would you be ok with having work emails on your phone?
- Is it better to be good and on-time or late but excellent?
- How would you let your manager know you were going to be late for the day?
- Do you believe our field is robot-proof?
- How would you sell me this pen?
- Would you consider yourself to be a professional?
- What is your greatest fear?
- What was your best vacation?
- If you could have a vacation home anywhere in the world, where would it be?
- Who are your heroes?
- Do you feel you are adequately compensated for you position?
- Do you prefer to work with a team or alone?
- What qualities make a good leader?
- What mistake did you make at a company that you learnt the most from?
- What questions haven’t I asked you?
- Do you have a personal mission statement?
- Describe a time you went above-and-beyond at work
- How would you handle a coworker who wasn’t carrying their weight?
- How would you handle a coworker who was bossy?
- Do you consider yourself an organized person?
- Who was your favorite manager and why?
- How would you handle a deadline given at the end of the day?
- How would you handle a work emergency on the weekend?
- How would you handle an emergency while you were on vacation?
- Do you feel that our interview process at this company is efficient? Would you make any changes to it?
- Have you ever been disrespected at work? How did you handle it?
- Are you active on LinkedIn?
- Are you active on social media?
- Do you feel we are addicted to our phones and technology?
- Do you have any questions for me?