10 (More) Must Ask Interview Questions
Knowing what to ask during an interview isn’t always easy, so we created a set of 10 must-ask interview questions to help recruiters assess an interviewee’s approach to decision making, working habits, and cultural fit. But 10 questions don’t leave a lot of room—they may not be applicable for all candidates, and recruiter want more to experiment with.
With that in mind, we’ve decided to go Hollywood, bank on our success, and pen a sequel. Here are 10 more must-ask interview questions.
1. Tell Me A Little About Yourself
Sure, people hate this one, and it can sometimes lead to uncomfortable situations where an interviewee ums and ahs his way toward a tangle of words that may…almost…qualify as an answer.
But asking an interviewee to tell you about himself is an excellent way to kick things off. It helps ease him into the conversation and provides him an opportunity to lay the groundwork for why he’s a great fit for the position—which will clue you in to whether he’s a top-tier candidate right away.
2. How Do You Schedule Time To Accomplish Tasks?
Recruiters can focus too much on what an interviewee can accomplish, not how they accomplish it. This question will help divulge the interviewee’s planning skills. Is he the type of person who schedules tasks piece by piece, or does he try to devour the elephant in one gulp? The former will meet his deadlines with aplomb, while the latter may meet the deadline but will scramble his way there, in turn creating stress for himself and his coworkers.
3. Tell Me About A Time You Were Overwhelmed At Work. How Did You Handle It?
Speaking of pressure, there will come a time when the job overwhelms. Getting an idea for how the interviewee handles such a situation is a good idea. This question will help you determine if he can properly manage his emotions and whether his work habits will calm coworkers who may also be overwhelmed.
It’s also an excellent prompt for a STAR method response that will clue you into his decision-making process.
4. Tell Me About A Time You Had To Work With A Coworker You Didn’t Get Along With. How Did You Manage The Situation?
Your company is a community. At the best of times, employees will perfectly connect like gears in a clock, all moving in rhythm toward a common goal. At the worst of times, well, broken clock.
The interviewee’s answer will show you how he manages when personality types hinder cooperative interactions. He should outline a process that alleviates disagreements from clashing personality quirks to keep everyone focused and productive.
You can’t guarantee he’ll get along with everyone, but a good answer here will tell you he won’t make matters worse.
5. Tell Me About A Time You Helped Solve A Problem Between Fellow Coworkers
Another question showing how the interviewee interacts with others. While the previous question focused on the interviewee, the goal of this question is to see how he handles the emotions and personalities of others to bring about productive solutions.
6. Tell Me About A Time You Had To Change Your Mind At Work. How Did You Manage The Situation?
People are designed to look for facts that fit their beliefs and ignore others. Because we’re all occasionally wrong, our opinions can slow progress if we refuse to evaluate them.
This question will help you assess the interviewee’s self-awareness and his willingness to revise his thinking. Be careful of interviewees who can’t think of a time they were wrong or who show an all-or-nothing approach. You may have a high-conflict personality on your hand.
7. Tell Me About A Time At Work You Had To Develop A Creative Approach To Solve A Problem. How Did It Work Out?
The unexpected will happen. When it does, you want someone who can evaluate the situation and find creative solutions to accomplish the required goals. A creative mind can also devise potentially better or quicker ways to perform typical tasks. This question provides the interviewee the opportunity to display such creative thinking.
8. Tell Me About Someone You Admire. What Impresses You About Them?
We admire the people we do because they have qualities we find valuable and wish to replicate. As such, this question tells you more about the interviewee than the person they choose. An interviewee who admires a political leader will likely bring leadership qualities to his role. On the other hand, someone who admires an intellectual will try to be thoughtful and creative.
9. What Accomplishment Do You Think Best Defines You As A Person?
This question will inform you about the interviewee’s values. A work-related accomplishment can clue you into the interviewee’s skills. But an extracurricular accomplishment can still inform you about his values—for example, self-publishing a novel shows follow-through and commitment.
It can also be revised on the fly to steer the interviewee toward a particular conversation—for example, by focusing specifically on work or academic accomplishments.
10. How Do You Enjoy Spending Your Free Time?
This question is incredibly useful for assessing whether an interviewee will be a good fit for the company culture. It also changes the tenor of the interview from serious, work-related topics to something more lighthearted. This change may bring out a side of the interviewee that was previously hidden.
Remember, failure will happen, and there is no perfect way to ensure you’ll find the right candidate all the time. Learning to improvise and revise questions on the fly is an invaluable skill. But combining this list of 10 must ask-questions with the previous 10 will give you an advantage in separating the great candidates from the good ones.