The Top 14 Interview Questions You MUST Ask Candidates

When you interview an applicant, you have to gather as much information as possible in a short period. Gleaning enough about a candidate to determine whether they’re the best fit for a role is challenging — but by asking good interview questions, you’ll not only get a clearer idea of their skills and experience, but also get a sense for their conversational skills, problem-solving skills and ability to think quickly.

The best way to adequately assess a candidate for both skill fit and culture fit is to ask questions that are specific to the company or role as well as broader questions that give the applicant an opportunity to show their personality and ability to think critically under pressure.

Here is a list of interview questions you must ask candidates during your interviews:

1. Tell me something about yourself that isn’t on your resume.

Job seekers carefully craft their resumes to provide the best summary of their professional experience, but you can’t learn everything about a candidate from what they put down on paper. This question is purposefully vague and allows the interviewee to decide whether they want to share something job-related or not. They may choose to tell you about their volunteer work, the sabbatical they took to travel the world or another defining experience.

The way they choose to respond to this question, and the story they share, can tell you a lot about the type of employee they will be.

Behavioral Questions Interviewers Should Ask

2. Describe a time when you had to work with someone whose personality or work style was very different from yours.

Being able to work well with others is an important part of nearly every job. This question gives the candidate a chance to show off their teamwork, interpersonal and problem-solving skills, including how they compromise, communicate and collaborate to achieve a goal or task. It can also give you deeper insight into their personality and work style.

Career Development Interview Questions

3. What are your long-term career goals?

By asking the candidate to discuss their long-term career goals, you can get a feel for how ambitious, goal-oriented and hardworking they are. Look for career goals that align with your company’s values, mission and/or goals. This question can also reveal how long the candidate plans on staying at your company. For example, if their long-term career goals can’t be accomplished by working at your company, it may not be the best fit.

Brainteaser Questions Interviewers Should Ask

4. How many jelly beans can fit in a suitcase?

This is a guesstimate interview question that doesn’t require an accurate answer. Instead, it gives candidates the chance to demonstrate their thought process. Pay attention to how a candidate attempts to solve the problem. Do they ask you additional clarifying questions? Do they break the problem down into smaller pieces? Ask them to think out loud to see their problem-solving skills in action.

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