June 17, 2022

What to ask an interviewee during a job interview?

Ok, you have received and endless number of resumes, you have checked all of them and you have talked to the most promising ones to schedule an interview. Now comes the interview phase. This is undoubtedly one of the most important stages of the whole recruitment process. What will you ask the interviewees? If you are new in the world of recruitment and selection, you need a general ideal of the kind of questions you can ask, as well as the purpose of each one. 

At T2W we have an extensive experience in recruitment and Human Resources, so we can help you with such an important task. In this article we will show you what to ask an interviewee in a job interview. We will divide the questions into groups according to their purpose and we’ll offer some examples. 

1. Hard skills questions 

The first group of questions to ask during an interview as an interviewer is focused on getting to know better the knowledge the candidate has regarding the position, the profession and the specialty level. For that reason, we have to divide them into questions about professional experience and academic background. 

Questions about professional experience 

First, we have questions that delve into the professional experience. Keep in mind that most of the information about experience and education is already in the resumes candidates sent. Therefore, the questions you ask must focus on getting to know specific details that could be relevant for the position. Some of the most useful questions are: 

  • What previous experience do you think that prepares you for this position? 
  • What were your responsibilities in your previous job? 
  • How did you feel when you were working on similar positions? 
  • What was the most difficult task you had to complete in your previous job? 

Keep always in mind that just asking questions might not be enough for positions that require a high level of technical knowledge. Something similar happens with positions that don’t have yet academic certifications that can attest the knowledge, such as IT professionals. In those cases, it’s necessary to conduct tests and examinations that can help you verify if the applicant really has the necessary knowledge for the position. 

Questions about academic background 

Additionally, we have questions about the academic background. These are mainly focused on candidates that don’t have much professional experience yet. In most cases, these questions are necessary when you have to evaluate applicants for junior positions. Some of the most useful questions are: 

  • Why did you choose your career? 
  • What courses did you take that can be useful for this position? 
  • In what professional area will you specialize? 
  • Will you pursue a postgraduate degree? 

2. Soft skills questions 

Soft skills questions

Soft skills are related to personality traits, attitudes and interpersonal skills. Soft skills are increasingly important in the modern working style. Making questions aimed at these skills will help you know the way some professionals would behave if they would get in the position. We divide soft skills questions into behavioral questions and situational questions. 

Behavioral questions 

Behavioral questions aim to know if the personality traits of the candidate will fit the responsibilities of the position. In general, these questions delve into past situations: applicants’ successes, failures and the way they dealt with those events. The objective here is to know the way they faced those situations in the past to get an idea of the way they would act in the position. Some common examples are: 

  • Have you ever had disagreements with your boss of coworkers? How did you deal with it? 
  • Tell us about an occasion when you made a mistake in your job. How did you deal with it? 
  • Tell us about a situation when you had to work under pressure. How did you deal with it? 
  • What was your best achievement in your previous job? 

Situational questions 

The next group of questions to ask in an interview as an interviewer is comprised of situational questions. These put the candidate in a hypothetical situation. At first glance, these might look very similar to the behavioral questions, but their objective is different. Situational questions are the best tool to know the way candidates would act in a specific situation if they get the position. 

These usually are unexpected questions for applicants since they can’t use previous experiences to answer them. Here, candidates will show their critical thinking and how fast they can react in an unforeseen situation. There is a myriad of situational questions you can ask. These will chance according to the nature and characteristics of the position. These are some of the most common: 

  • You have many urgent tasks (be specific), how would you prioritize them? 
  • How would you deal with an employee who is not offering the expected results? 
  • How would you deal with an upset client? 
  • What would you do if the management rejects a project in which you put a lot of effort? 

Questions about the candidate 

Finally, to have a better understanding of the soft skill each candidate has, you can ask questions about their skills and aptitudes. These questions are good to evaluate the self-knowledge level of the applicant. Some frequent questions you can use are: 

  • What are your strengths? 
  • What are your weaknesses? 
  • What do you think you should improve in yourself? 
  • What is your greatest achievement? 

3. Cultural fit questions 

Cultural fit is an aspect of recruitment that is gaining relevance nowadays. This is a variable that helps identifying if people would fit in the organization. Keep in mind that each company has a different organizational culture. Therefore, these questions aim to know if the applicant would successfully adapt to the way of working in the organization and its values. 

  • Why did you leave your last job? 
  • What did you like the most about your last job? 
  • What did you like the least about your last job? 
  • How was your relationship with your coworkers? 

Now you know what to ask a candidate in an interview. Keep in mind that each question must focus in getting to know more about a specific aspect of each candidate. Identify the priorities for each position and you will identify the questions you should ask. 

At Talent2Win, we strive to align your company’s business objectives with the best Talent Acquisition strategies available. If you want to learn more about the services we offer, do not hesitate to contact us.  

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