20 Questions to Ask the Interviewee and Make the Right Hire

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 20 January 2023

Published 7 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A job interview is an important way to determine if candidates qualify for the job positions and whether they fit well in the organisation. For job interviews to be useful, it involves asking the right questions to candidates. If you're an HR recruitment professional or a hiring manager, it can be helpful to review types of interview questions to ask candidates. In this article, we provide a list of 20 questions to ask the interviewee that may help you uncover their personalities, determine their capabilities, assess their qualifications and predict their work behaviour.

Related: Top 20 Interview Questions (Including Sample Answers)

20 questions to ask the interviewee

There are several types of questions to ask the interviewee to ensure that job interviews expose the best person for the job position. Asking the right questions is essential as the answers can provide useful information about the candidates' ambitions, motives, values and personalities. Understanding the different types of interview questions and knowing how to ask them may help you identify the ideal candidate.

Related: A Guide to Strategic Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

5 questions that uncover personality

Hiring managers may ask these questions to find out more about the candidates' personalities, strengths and weaknesses. Here are some questions you can ask:

1. Tell me more about yourself.

This is a common question to start a job interview. You can discover more about an candidate's work style and character traits by asking this question. This is also a useful way to find out if candidates have the required qualities to perform their job roles.

2. Why are you interested in this position?

Responses to this question may reveal candidates' motivations and whether they understand the job requirements. It may also show their level of commitment to the job. For instance, candidates who give specific answers to this question may fully grasp what the role involves.

3. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Asking this question can be an effective way for you to gain insights into candidates' capabilities. It also shows whether candidates have a good level of self-awareness that's necessary to succeed in the workplace. When answering this question, outstanding candidates may also elaborate on how they intend to overcome their weaknesses.

Related: Interview Question: “What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?”

4. Why do you want to work for this company?

This question allows you to better understand candidates' expectations and motivations. It also tests candidates on how much they know about the company's goals and values. Candidates who researched the company and the job requirements show that they're serious in their job search and may be better hires.

5. Why do you think you qualify for this job?

Asking this question shows whether candidates can match their qualities to what the job description requires. It requires candidates to share how they see themselves contributing to the company's goals. This may be a useful way for you to remove overqualified or underqualified candidates.

Related: 15 Interview Questions to Ask When Hiring a Manager

5 questions that determine capabilities

Interviewers ask these questions to ensure that the candidates' abilities match the job requirements. Such questions usually require candidates to describe their job experience and work achievements. These are some questions you can ask:

1. Tell me about your professional skills and previous work experience.

This question requires candidates to give details of work experience beyond what is in their resume and cover letters. You can then judge if candidates have the relevant skills to perform the job role. Candidates who cite examples and provide supporting evidence also show that they came prepared for the interview.

2. What were your responsibilities in your previous position?

Answers to this question may give you an idea of how candidates contributed to their previous organisations. They may also reveal the candidates' level of responsibility and their leadership style. This is also an opportunity for you to filter candidates with initiative and leadership skills.

3. What was your biggest work accomplishment?

Hiring managers frequently ask this question to allow candidates to highlight their work contributions in their previous roles. Through this question, you can gain insights into candidates' capabilities. You can also gain a deeper understanding of the candidates' skill sets.

4. How did you overcome work challenges in your previous job?

Responses to this question may give you an idea of how candidates handle potential work challenges. From the answers, you may get a sense of their maturity. You can also use this question to identify candidates with strong problem-solving skills.

5. Why are you leaving your current employer?

You may get a wide range of responses to this question as people may quit their jobs for different reasons. There may be a tendency for candidates to frame their answers negatively. Asking this question may allow you to identify candidates who display professionalism and positivity.

Related: Effective Techniques, Qualities and Tips for Interviewers

5 questions that assess qualifications

These questions help to determine if candidates have the right credentials and skills to qualify for the job. They assess if the candidate is a good fit for the job. Here are some questions you can ask:

1. How can your work experience benefit the company?

This question seeks to check candidates' understanding of how they see themselves fitting into the position and the company. You can also gain a better idea of how candidates intend to use their skills to perform their roles. Responses to this question may also reflect the value they can bring to the company.

2. Tell me about your training and certifications.

If you're unsure about the relevance of candidates' training and certifications, this is a question you can use to seek clarifications. For instance, some technical certifications may require further explanation from candidates. Candidates can use this opportunity to describe to you how they achieved their credentials.

3. Explain how you met your work goals in your previous job?

Asking candidates to detail how they achieved their work goals gives you an idea of their work style. It also allows you to judge if candidates are goal-oriented. This question may also test candidates' communication skills when they explain work processes to someone unfamiliar with the company.

4. Tell me about your management style.

Management styles may vary from very relaxed to very strict. Asking about candidates' management styles may allow you to determine if they share the same values as the company. How they respond also provides insights on whether they may fit well with the company's culture.

5. How do you see yourself developing in the next five years?

Many hiring managers seek hires who can commit to the company for the long term. When candidates share how they see themselves in the next few years, it may show their ambitions and motivations. Their responses may also help you plan the training and development for potential hires.

Related: How to Conduct an Interview (With Steps and Guidelines)

5 questions that predict work behaviour

Hiring managers usually ask situational interview questions to predict how candidates handle work challenges or difficult situations. Here are some situational interview questions you can ask:

1. How would you resolve a conflict between subordinates?

Conflict resolution is an important work skill for managers. Understanding how candidates aim to resolve workplace conflict is a useful way for you to decide if candidates can perform managerial roles well. This question may also reveal candidates' management styles.

2. What is your approach to handling risks?

Asking this question provides you with an understanding of how the candidates for a role make decisions to take risks at work. The way candidates respond to this question may give you an idea of their risk management style and how they control risks. This information may help you in the candidate selection process, especially if the job involves tasks with uncertainties.

3. Tell me about how you manage stress at work.

Knowing how candidates manage stress at work may help determine if they can fulfil the demands of the role. This is especially so when it's a senior position with heavy responsibilities. You may use this question to identify candidates who can effectively handle work stress.

4. How do you react to constructive criticism?

Responses to this question may reflect a candidate's ability to receive feedback from others. This is a good way to find out if candidates are receptive to constructive criticism that may help improve their work performance. The way candidates answer this question may also reflect character traits such as humility.

5. How do you handle changing priorities and organisational changes?

Organisational changes and shifting priorities in the workplace means that ideal candidates for the job position have good adaptability skills. Discovering how candidates manage such changes is useful. It may help you determine if they have the necessary skills to handle workplace changes.

Related: How to Create an Onboarding Checklist (With Definition)

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