Best Questions to Ask During An Interview | Also An Interview Guide for Job Applicants

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

Part of the recruitment process is a face-to-face interview. It provides a great opportunity for a manager to personally assess the applicant's knowledge, skills, and attitude.

Although it is undeniable that some interviewees are highly intelligent in providing answers to make them appear perfect for the open position, asking more difficult questions can help recruitment managers to screen each applicant rigorously.

Best Questions to Ask During An Interview
Best Questions to Ask During An Interview

Below are the best and sometimes most difficult questions to ask during an interview.

Tell me about yourself.

When recruiters or managers ask this question during an interview, they are not really after your personal profile. So don't tell them about your father, mother, siblings or your favorite color, food, movie, book, etc. Instead, tell them about your academics and experience. Something that gives them a clue that you have the relevant knowledge and skills for the job.

What do you know about our organization?

This is a very common interview question that many applicant fail to prepare for. Before sitting on the hot seat, make sure you took time to research about the company. Know what their goals and objectives are.

How can you help us grow? Why should we hire you?

This type of question is aimed to identify applicants who appear hungriest to the opportunity. Furthermore, the interviewer expects to hear specific knowledge and skills (qualifications) that can immediately benefit the organization. Ask yourself, what sets you apart from the other candidates?

What qualifications do you have that make you feel that you will be successful in your field?

At this point you (the interviewee) need to fully convince the interviewer that you have so much to offer to the organization. They want to see if you have what it takes to grow professionally and personally in your chosen career. Employers definitely want a person who is self-aware of his capabilities and edge to succeed.

What have you learned from your past job experiences?

Hiring someone who has past related experience may mean less training hours for the newly hired and more efficient performance and productivity in the soonest time, thereby reducing the cost associated with hiring new employees.

What are your special skills, and how did you acquire them?

To have a higher chance of getting hired, job applicants must be prepared to demonstrate they stand out from the rest of the candidates by possessing special knowledge and skills. Oftentimes, such expertise can be acquired through continuing formal education and training, or by having a unique set of experience from your previous job.

Can you tell us any special activity or event in the past that you are proud of?

Again, an interviewee's answer must be about his academics or career related to the job he is applying for. You can tell them about:

  • how well you managed an irate customer in the past,

  • how successfully you managed a special project,

  • any special recognition or award from your previous job,

  • how professionally you behaved during a conflict with your colleagues, and others.

Why did you quit your most recent job?

Employers want to make sure that there are good and valid reasons why applicants left their most recent jobs. This will have a significant impact on a job seeker's chance of getting the job.

Your answer as an interviewee will somehow reflect your personal and professional attitudes and behaviors. Of course, employers could be turned off if you'd say you got fired because you had a terrible fight with your supervisor, or because you got pissed off with your co-worker.

Valid and good reasons can be related to unavoidable causes such as marriage, pregnancy, relocation, and family responsibilities. If you have grudges or dissatisfaction issues in your past job, make sure to choose your words properly by avoiding negative and rude remarks.

Instead, be tactful in and focus on using positive organizational cultures that you would want to be at. Let's say you'd want to be in a work environment:

  • that has strong commitment to teamwork

  • where managers listen and consider their staff opinions and suggestions

  • where there is an opportunity for you to move up in a career ladder, and more.

Related Post: You Need to Quit You Job (Perhaps) If You Have Any of These Reasons

Do you have any hobbies or special interests? How do you spend your spare time?

This type of question can leave you baffled because this is something personal in nature. However, recruitment managers might also want to look into your passion outside your work life.

Your special skills or talents can actually be transferred and used in your professional life.

For an instance, if you're good at playing basketball or soccer, you might want to consider mentioning you learned the importance of teamwork to win and succeed in life. If you enjoy baking, you can emphasize the importance of organization, paying attention to details, patience and creativity-- which can all be translated into your work ethics.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

It can be very uncommon that many job applicants, when asked during an interview, don't know what their strengths and weaknesses are.

Hiring decision are greatly influenced by their applicants' competencies. To get prepared for this interview question, you can make a list of your strengths and weaknesses according to your:

  • knowledge and expertise,

  • experience and achievements,

  • skills and abilities, and

  • personal attitude, characteristics, and behavior.

Self-awareness of your own deficiencies or imperfections can help you address how to improve them.

If you could spend a day with someone you have known or known of, who would it be and why?

Remember that you're in a position seeking for a job to get your professional life growing. Hence, it would be better to talk about someone who strongly inspires you professionally.

Think of a person who has unparalleled knowledge and expertise or who has done great contributions in the area related to your career or profession.

Have you had any trouble getting along with others? How do you show your anger? What type of things make you angry?

These types of question are assessing your people skills. particularly your conflict management capabilities. It gives a clue regarding your values and temperament.

Employers definitely want to hire somebody who enjoys working with people and who knows how to pleasantly use both verbal and non-verbal communication in settling matters.

What particular part of your job do you like best?

Employers want to hear how interested you are with the position you're applying for. You must be able to demonstrate your passion and enthusiasm in doing your tasks.

Don't forget to mention how your job is able to present variable experiences which help you grow personally and professionally.

Do you like regular hours and routine work?

Although most clerical and administrative jobs are very routine, many jobs may require employees to go an extra mile-- one of the characteristics of engaged employees.

This type of question gives recruitment managers a clue whether you'd be willing to work extra hours or accept non-routine tasks which are sometimes unavoidable.

With what type of person do you spend the majority of your time?

Personality matters in considering who to hire. Just as they say, "Show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are." Mention what positive work values of others attract you.

In addition, your answer to this question could show if you're a people person who has no trouble in mingling with different types of personalities-- a very important factor in promoting teamwork and in building healthy interpersonal and interprofessional relationships. Never talk negatively about your previous boss or workmates.

Related Post: 20 Effective Communication Techniques For Better Interpersonal & Interprofessional Relationships

What activities have you ever quit?

Resilience, undeniably, is an important factor in success. Employers do not want to hire somebody who easily quits when the going gets tough.

If you ever did quit on something, make sure to say how you first tried your best to manage it.

Avoid ranting too. There is no glory in being too defensive explaining why you quit.

How would you define cooperation?

When asked, the interviewer wants to know how you function as part of a team.

Being a team player means you are able to set aside your personal preferences, but instead work with others to achieve organizational goals and objectives. Emphasize that two or more heads are always better than one. Be prepared to share personal experiences.

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