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Questions To Ask Interviewee: Inspiration For A Successful Interview

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Are you new to interviewing and not sure where to start?

Maybe you’re tired of the same old questions that only inspired canned responses.

You’re not the only one desperate for an interview refresh, and we’ve got the solution.

From fun questions that show a candidate’s personality to thought-provoking questions that will tell you if they can think on their feet, these interview questions are sure to help you narrow the pool.

What Are the Top Questions To Ask an Interviewee?

It helps to plan your interview by dividing the questions into several categories.

That way you can pull one or two from each category to make the process more organic and mix things up with each candidate so you don’t get bored.

Fun Questions To Ask in an Interview

Here are some fun questions to ask during an interview.

Don’t worry, they each serve an essential purpose even though they come across as humorous.

  • If you had to be an animal for the rest of your life, which animal would you be, and why? This question allows the interviewer to understand which qualities and capabilities the candidate values most.
  • Which song describes you best? The answer to this question will help the interviewer learn more about key ideas that resonate with the candidate.
  • You inherited $1 million but must use it all within six hours. How do you proceed? This question shows how the candidate can handle situations that require quick thinking and problem-solving.
  • If you never had to worry about money again, how would you live your life? Most people never think of this kind of situation. However, it can tell you a lot about a person’s desire to work and their key motivators.
  • Who is your favorite celebrity, and why? This question allows the interviewer to understand more about the candidate’s true passions and hobbies, as they are unlikely to know much about a celebrity in a niche they don’t care about.

Smart Questions To Ask in an Interview

Here are some intelligent questions to ask your interviewee to get a better understanding of them as an employee.

  • What does success look like for you? Everyone’s idea of success differs, so this provides insight into key motivators and goals to see if they fit with yours.
  • If you had to leave the country and could never return, where would you go and why? This question allows you to learn more about how they would deal with a situation when forced to leave their comfort zone.
  • How would you sell cold iced tea during a blizzard on a winter’s day in New York? This question is a bit bizarre, but it allows you to understand how the interviewee would deal with a random situation, while testing their marketing and problem-solving skills.
  • If you could have one hidden power, what would it be? This question allows you to learn more about the candidate’s values.
  • Any highly technical question: If the job requires extensive knowledge of a topic, don’t be afraid to dig deep to test job-specific skills.

Hard Interview Questions To Ask Candidates

These challenging questions can catch most candidates off guard to give you an idea of how well they think on their feet.

  • Would you lie for the firm if we asked you to? This is a very tough question, and it allows you to test their ethics and morals.
  • If you had to interview yourself, which is the most difficult question you would ask yourself, knowing how much you know about yourself? This question lets you see whether they can recognize their weaknesses and faults.
  • Which skill or talent do you wish you had for this job? This question requires them to admit that they lack a critical skill, but it also allows them to explain how they might develop that skill by signing up for extra training.
  • Tell me about yourself: This question seems so simple, but it’s actually quite challenging for many people. Many candidates have no idea where to start and which things to mention – should they talk about their passion, education, work experience, or viewpoints on life?
  • Why shouldn’t we hire you? Who wants to tell an employer why not to hire them? The answers you hear will reveal a lot about the person.
  • A penguin, a giraffe, and a chicken walk into the room. They’re all wearing top hats. What are they here for? What will they say, and how will you respond? This bizarre scenario sounds like a fun question, but it’s a surprisingly tough way to catch people off guard and test their creativity.

Casual Interview Questions To Ask Candidates

An interview isn’t all about asking hard-hitting questions and trying to confuse the interviewee or make them trip on their words.

Here are some more casual questions that help candidates open up so you can get to know them.

  • What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time? Which activities do you reserve for weekends? This allows you to learn more about their interests and how they manage their time.
  • How about the game last night? It’s a very casual question, but it allows you to see how they react when faced with a situation beyond their control, such as if their team lost. It’s also telling if they ask what game you’re referring to.
  • What’s your favorite meal? What if you had to eat the same meal every day – which one would you choose? Hopefully, they choose a healthy meal, as that shows they have their priorities in place.
  • What’s your favorite book or movie? This allows you to learn more about their interests. It also helps break the ice and gives them a chance to talk about something they are passionate about.
  • If you could have dinner with two famous people from the past or present, who would they be? Gain insight into the candidate’s heroes, which can tell you a lot about their life goals and ethics without asking them to dig too deep.

Strategic Interview Questions To Ask Candidates

At some point, you have to dig deep to learn about your candidates and find the best fit for your position.

  • A long-term and loyal customer wants a service or product that you don’t and never have offered. How do you proceed? This tells you how the candidate approaches difficult situations and how they can come up with solutions to make the customer happy.
  • Tell us about a time you led a project. This strategic question aims to see how the candidate approaches a leadership position.
  • What do you like most about yourself? This question asks the candidate to pinpoint their strengths without sounding full of themselves or egotistical.
  • Tell us about a time you made a mistake and how you fixed it. How will you avoid this mistake in the future? This question requires a lot of honesty and self-reflection. If a candidate stumbles on this one, it can be a sign that they struggle with honesty.
  • If you had to develop a new product or service for your company, which would it be? This requires not only excellent thinking skills but also requires the candidate to have researched the brand and understand the target audience.

What Are the Best Interview Questions To Ask a Candidate?

If you can only ask a few questions due to limited time, here are the best questions to ask.

  • Why would you be a good fit for this role? This is one of the most common questions that interviewers usually ask, and it requires the candidate to reflect upon the strengths and skills and what they can bring to the table.
  • Where do you see yourself in five years? This question helps reveal the candidate’s long-term goals and life plan.
  • How good are your communication skills? The candidate should be able to give examples of how they worked together with others to successfully achieve a result.
  • Why did you apply for this position? Hopefully, the candidate has done their research and has a good reason they chose this career or your particular company to work with.
  • Do you have any questions for us? This allows the candidate to ask about what has been on their mind and demonstrates their interest in the position.

It takes time to learn how to be an interviewer who gets results, so you might want to try a few different approaches until you find a system of questions that works.

What is the STAR Method in Interviews?

The STAR method is a great way to approach questions as an interviewee, and it works well for many of the above questions.

This simple, four-step approach involves open-ended questions that address a Situation, Task, Action, and Result (STAR).

  • Situation: Provide examples of a relevant situation beginning with the description of a problem and including the challenges that the situation presented.
  • Task: Describe the job you had to complete and the responsibilities you faced.
  • Action: Discuss the specific steps you took to solve the problem or complete the task.
  • Result: Describe the result you achieved. Try to show a tangible result, such as a 10 percent increase in sales over the next few months.

How To Use the STAR Method in Interviews

Using the STAR method is relatively straightforward, provided you prepare in advance.

Create a list of different questions an interviewer might ask and think of examples you can use.

Write out your answers following the STAR method’s four steps. Be sure to review your notes before the interview.

What Are Unique Questions to Ask the Employer?

Your interviewer may ask if you have any questions for them.

Even if they don’t, it’s a good idea to ask them if you can ask a few questions yourself, as it shows your willingness to learn more about the company.

  • What Would Success Look Like in This Role? This question shows a desire for success but also demonstrates that you recognize how the definition of success can vary.
  • How Can I Help the Company Reach Its Business Goals? Asking this question demonstrates that you are ready to align yourself with the company’s goals and will be contributing to its success and growth.
  • What is Company Culture Like? This question demonstrates a willingness to conform to company culture and an ability to get along with coworkers. It shows that you value teamwork and aren’t stubborn.
  • How Long Has the Job Been Open? This question is a bit interesting, but its purpose is to allow you to learn more about the position and the hiring process. If the position was open for a long time, why is that the case? Are there specific qualities that are hard to find in candidates?
  • What Stage in the Hiring Process Are You At? Your interviewer might not always be clear about this, but it can help you get an idea of how soon they will get back to you.
  • How Would You Describe Your Management Style? This question allows you to learn more about whether the job is a good fit for you. Will the manager give you room for creativity, or will they micromanage you every step of the way?
  • How Often Do You Promote Internally? Don’t make this the first question you ask, but it’s an acceptable question to ask at the end. After all, you deserve to know whether there are promotional opportunities going forward.
  • What Has Been Your Best Experience Work? This question allows the interviewer to describe their job experience at the firm and what they like most about working there.

Wrapping Up

All of these questions to ask interviewees are helpful, and you might not have time to ask all of them.

Pick the ones you think will help you filter for the best candidates, and feel free to switch up your questions from one interview to another.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

Don’t forget interview etiquette! Dress appropriately, maintain eye contact, and speak loudly and clearly.

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