Top 25 General Interview Questions to Ask

Below is a list of the most common interview questions asked by Hiring Managers or HR Professionals at an interview.  These can be very helpful when you are new to interviewing or if you want to ask a range of questions that will ensure you gain an excellent understanding of the candidate’s ability to succeed in your business.
Additionally, we believe that if you score the candidates out of 10 for each question you ask, it means that at the end of the process you can add up all the scores to see which of the candidates came out on top.  This can be a helpful guide when making a hiring decision and means you are not having to rely on just your memory.

Tell me about yourself?
Advice:-This is usually the first question an interviewer will ask a candidate This question is sometimes used to put a candidate at ease but also to get an overall feeling about the candidate.  This same question can also lead the interviewer to ask other relevant questions regarding the candidate that they may not have previously thought of further enabling the interviewer to assess the suitability of the candidate for the role.

What are you passionate about?
Advice:-The answer the candidate gives the interviewer allows the interviewer to know if the candidate has interests that could this enable the candidate to perform the role well or could have an adverse effect in their performance. i.e. commitments that would not allow them to do overtime if required or physical sports that could result in injury that could keep them off work for weeks/months.

Tell me about something that’s not on your CV/Resume?
Advice:-This is a good question for the interviewer to ask the candidate to uncover a more comprehensive picture of the candidate’s background. The candidates CV/Resume states the facts, but the interviewer should want to know about the person behind the work history to determine whether they are a good match for the job and the organization.

What were your responsibilities?
Advice:-This will allow the interviewer to find out if the candidate has the knowledge, understanding and experience necessary to do their job well.

Describe a difficult work situation / project and how you overcame it?
Advice:-By getting a candidate to give an example and explain how they handled a difficult situation at work allows the interviewer to know if the candidate has the tactical and diplomatic skills to perform the job role well.

What is your greatest strength?
Advice:-This allows the interviewer to gauge if the candidate has the attributes that will qualify them for the specific job.

What is your greatest weakness?
Advice:-This question can sometimes catch a candidate off guard and can allow the interviewer to find a shortage of skills in the candidate that may hinder them from doing the job properly and help them decide on future training for the candidate if they got the job.  This is also a great question to see how a candidate reacts under the pressure of an interview.

How do you handle stress and pressure?
Advice:-Stress is a common situation at work and people can react negatively under stress and pressure. Asking this question and other questions such as “what was the most stressful situation you have encountered at work and how did you handle it?”.  This will help you understand whether or not the candidate could cope with the pressure and /or stress associated with your role.

What was your biggest failure in this position?
Advice:-Interviewers asking this question can not only find out what strengths a candidate has but also the level of expectations the candidate has in themselves and the role.

What was your biggest accomplishment in this position?
Advice:-Interviewers asking this question can not only find out what strengths a candidate has but also the level of expectations the candidate has in themselves and the role.

How do you evaluate success?
Advice:-This gives the interviewer a sense of the candidate’s work ethic, goals, and overall personality.

What did you like or dislike about your previous job?
Advice:-The interviewer will be able to gain insight into the candidate’s mind-set, which may provide information about the candidate’s ability to fit into their company culture and help the interviewer decide if this candidate is likely to succeed in their organisation.

Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?
Advice:-From this question an interviewer is trying to understand from the candidate if they are a team player or someone that prefers to work on their own or if the candidate is more flexible and would do either depending upon the task at hand.  If your job requires a team player then someone who prefers to operate independently may not be ideal for your position.

How do you relate to your supervisors and co-workers?
Advice:-This question asked by the interviewer can determine if the candidate can successfully work as part of a team especially when working to deadlines or is able to successfully overcome any issue that require solving.

Who was your best boss and who was the worst?
Advice:-This is a great question to ask if you are considering the candidate for a leadership position, The answer to the “great boss” question is likely to show you the values the candidate would be likely to portray, and this can be used to help you make a decision about the candidates management style.

What strategies would you use to motivate your team?
Advice:-This is a question that is asked by the interviewer to understand how well the candidate will perform on a daily basis managing his new team and if they understand that different approaches work for different personality types.   It’s always a good idea to ask the candidate to give some examples of ways they have successfully motivated staff in their previous roles and the outcomes it achieved.

Describe how you managed a problem employee?
Advice:-The interviewer is asking this question to find out if the candidate is able to demonstrate that they are capable of bringing out the best in marginal performers.

Why are you leaving or have left your job?
Advice:-This can allow the interviewer to recognise if the candidate was successful and has the cultural fit to join their company.

What are your goals for the future?
Advice:-Interviewers asking this question should be able to assess if the candidate being interviewed is worth the investment or if the candidate is likely to move on to another job the moment another job comes up that fits their stated goals and aspirations.

What do you know about this company?
Advice:-An interviewer is asking this question of the candidate to find out if the candidate has prepared themselves by carrying out the necessary research of their company and this answer will give them a good insight into how much preparation they made before the interview and therefore how committed they may be to actually joining your company.

How would you adjust to working for a new company?
Advice:-Interviewers asking this question and discussing this scenario will be using the candidates answer to assess their adaptability to adjust to new situations and the demands that working in a new job and for a different company can bring.

Why do you want this job?
Advice:-This question demonstrates if the candidate has taken the time to research the job and the company giving a guide to how serious they are about working for your organisation. Crucially it will help you understand the candidate’s motivations and access whether your organisation can match the candidates hopes and expectations.

Why should we hire you?
Advice:-This will help you understand if the candidate has all the right attributes to make them the best fit for the position.

What were your starting and final levels of compensation?
Advice:-Apart from allowing the interviewer to know what package may be acceptable by the candidate if offered the job (compensation packages can vary with similar jobs within the same sector i.e. basic and OTE).  This also allows the interviewer to find out if there are any discrepancies on the CV and if the candidate is truthful.

What are your salary/remuneration requirements?
Advice:-This provides you with the details as to what package is required so that if you wish to make an offer to the candidate, you can structure it to ensure that it will be accepted.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information about our Sales Consultancy Practice, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Posted in Interview Information for Management, Selecting the Right Staff

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