How to Interview: Sample Interview Questions
Finding out if a candidate can do the job is easier to determine than whether the candidate will be the right fit for the job. The questions you ask in the interview process have to determine both, which is why it is so important to make sure you have a solid interview plan before you sit down in the interviewer chair.
You want to appear prepared and confident in your ability to represent your company, the position, and your ability to elicit the information you need about a candidate. The following best practices and sample interview questions will help you get started.
Break Down the Skills
As you formulate your interview questions, your objective should be to first find out about a candidate’s “Can-Do” skills. These focus more on “hard skills” that the candidate brings with them. You want to identify the candidate’s skills and experience as soon as possible to get a clear impression of their viability. You do not want to waste your time or the candidate’s time if these do not align.
After that, you want to spend the bulk of the interview process focusing on a candidate’s “Will-Do” skills. These are those crucial “soft skills,” and where you focus on their values, culture, and temperament to determine whether they are a good fit for the position and the company.
As interviewer, you play an important role in the recruitment and hiring processes in your company. If you set the wrong tone, you could jeopardise your ability to assess candidates. Setting the right tone, though, and asking the right questions lets you get to know the candidates beyond their CV.
Before we get to the sample interview questions, consider these important factors as you prepare for the interview:
Be polite and professional: Remember that you are representing your company’s brand and image. Also keep in mind that the candidate is evaluating you, too. You only get one chance to make a good impression, so you want to be sure that you get it right in the first interview.
Be objective: Be friendly but do not get too chummy. Keep all your questions job-related so that your hiring decision is based on qualifications, not just personality. Great personality does not always translate into skill and ability to perform a job, so staying professional and objective helps you get to the information you need.
Avoid talking too much: Allow candidates enough time to describe their skills and qualifications during the interview while you make sure you have covered all your questions and have not missed anything. Truly listen to what they are saying. This allows you to ask good follow-up questions, gather more information, and dig deeper for insight.
Watch non-verbal signals: Watch for eye contact. Pay attention to gestures, body position, and facial expressions. Does the candidate’s body language communicate confidence? Do they seem genuinely interested in what you are saying? Are there any concerns that might become an issue if they are hired?
Avoid personal questions: How can you keep the interview legal? It is illegal to ask questions that reference age, height or weight, marital status, disabilities, citizenship, arrest record, military service, etc. Again, lean on being objective in the interview, and be aware of how unconscious bias can influence the questions you are asking.
Sample Interview Questions to Ask
Here is a breakdown of the types of questions you can ask to get to a candidate’s “Can-Do” skills:
- Tell me about your skills and strengths.
- Talk about your related job experience.
- What makes you interested in this position?
Once you understand if a candidate can do the job, now you want to home in on their willingness to do the job well. These “Will-Do” questions provide insight into who the candidate is, how they would react or handle situations, and lean on behavioural questions to help you get to those responses. To dig deeper, ask questions such as:
- How would you solve this problem…[ask about a specific scenario related to the job opening].
- Tell me how you managed a work-related problem that you created?
- What motivates you?
- What new skills have you learnt in the past year?
- What skills have been most useful in your professional life?
- How would you describe a great work environment?
Put Your Sample Interview Questions to Work Today
When it comes to interviews, it pays to be as prepared as possible. Not only will this put you at ease, it will also make the interview go more smoothly for you and the job candidate. A great interview plan helps you feel more prepared. Beyond preparing your questions, what else should you do? This is where it helps to have expert interview tips and recruiting insights. Post your job listing for free at Monster and make hiring the best talent possible regardless of the job market.