The 10 Best Interview Questions to Ask
The best interview questions give you insight into the person behind the CV, revealing the job candidate’s personality, strengths, weaknesses, knowledge, skills and abilities. The best interview questions also benefit job seekers by giving them an opportunity to speak to details and experiences that don’t fit on a CV.
While a savvy interviewer always includes questions tailored to the position, our list of the 10 best questions for an interview works across a variety of industries and job descriptions:
1. From everything you have learnt about this role, me and our company, tell me how you feel you would make a contribution.
This interview question sorts people into two categories: those who want a job and those who want this job. The candidates who have really prepared will relish this opportunity to stand out and to demonstrate that they have done their homework. This question also helps you identify the candidates who have not prepared and can only respond with generic and unorganized answers.
2. Why should we hire you?
This is amongst the best interview questions because it asks job candidates to define what sets them apart from the intense competition in today’s job market. Faced with a big stack of CVs telling a similar story, this question is what can help you determine the best candidate.
An interviewee who does a great job explaining how their unique experiences, education, industry credentials, and personal interests will power your business will do the same thing for your company once hired.
3. If you could start your career over again, what would you do differently?
While no one likes to dwell on past regrets, this can be an effective interview question. Asking a candidate to explain the major decisions they have made, highlighting the positive and negative, reveals the person’s ability to make calculated decisions based on past professional and personal experiences. It also lets candidates share their vision for the future and their ambitions.
4. When I contact your last supervisor and ask which area of your work needs the most improvement, what will I learn?
This question is geared toward eliciting an honest response from candidates. It will be hard to finesse this answer because when the supervisor is brought into the conversation, the candidate knows the truth may come out anyway during reference checks. It is essentially the same as asking a candidate to explain their biggest weakness, but in a more nuanced way.
5. Describe the best boss you ever reported to.
This is a great interview question because it tells you about past relationships. It also highlights the personality and work types that the applicant meshes with best. This gives an interviewer greater insight into the candidate’s communication skills, work style and ability to fit into your company culture.
Follow up with questions about what made the relationship click – was it personality, performance, or perhaps a cheerleader type of boss? Does the candidate prefer autonomy to hand-holding, or were they inspired by a mutual drive to achieve organisational goals?
6. Tell me about what motivates you.
Ask these questions in sequence to better understand the interviewee’s motivations. If what drives the interviewee matches the position and your corporate culture, you have a winner.
7. What frustrates you?
When the candidate talks about past frustrations, they reveal details about their personality, diplomacy skills, and ability to work on teams.
Does the candidate answer by discussing minor irritations – or ways that they successfully resolved serious conflicts over time, budgets, or priorities? The latter are candidates who have positive intelligence.
8. Tell me about the toughest negotiation you have ever been in.
Every job involves negotiation, and this question yields insight, not only in their direct negotiation skills, but also how the job seeker navigates difficult situations.
The best negotiators answer this question by laying out both sides of the problem and then explaining how they aligned the issues or followed a process to a mutually-agreeable solution.
9. How do you involve your staff when an important company strategy decision needed to be made?
The candidate’s answer tells you whether a manager is secure enough to involve others in strategic decision-making. How the job seeker involves their staff — via written communication, one-on-one or in a group setting — tells you a lot about their management style.
10. Where do you see yourself in five years?
With this question, it is not what the candidate says but how they say it that is important. If someone’s eyes light up at the thought of the future, then you can tell this candidate has ambition and knows where they want to go.
Use your best interview questions on the best candidates
Interviewing is both an art and a science, and with enough preparation, you can reap the rewards in the form of a motivated new hire who is eager to get started. But having the best interview questions only helps if you first have the right applicants. As an industry-leader, Monster has been delivering qualified job seekers to employers for decades — and now it is your turn. As you look to fill your next position, find out how we can help with a free job listing.