Industry Standard Job Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

Deciding which job interview questions to ask candidates can be its own challenge. We’ve compiled the most popular job interview questions to ask candidates, their variations, and explanations for each. So join us as we walk through strategic interview questions to ask candidates.
Red bird holding a pen asks a blue bird an interview question.
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There is an art to coming up with the right interview questions. A good set of questions will give candidates an opportunity to shine, but a bad selection will turn off job seekers from the interview and your company. It may be tempting to try to come up with unique, funny or tough interview questions. But most professionals would advise against this strategy. Your goal as the employer is to use interview questions find out as much about a candidate as you can in a short period of time. The questions must be concise, straightforward and honest. But how do you know which ones to pick?

Find.Jobs wants to get you quality candidates, and give you the tools to get the most out of them. We’ve compiled a list of the top interview questions, and why we think they’re particularly useful. Walk through these strategic interview questions with us — you may come out of it with the perfect set of questions to use in your next interview!

What Is The Job Candidate’s Proudest Career Accomplishment

In our research, this was the most recommended question above all. This is because this question immediately gets to the heart of a number of things and employer wants to know. For example, answers to this question can tell you about a candidate’s work history, their strengths and what values are important to them. It also gives candidates an opportunity to showcase themselves! This is a great question to ask your job candidate right out of the gate.

  • What is your proudest career accomplishment?

Why Does The Job Candidate Want To Work Here

This is another question that serves a dual purpose. For one, it gets the candidate to tell you directly what they find appealing about the job they are applying for. The second purpose of this question is to help you ascertain how much the candidate knows about your company. Have they done their homework? Do they have good rationale for why they might be a good fit? It is important to if the person applying to this job is invested in your company. Ask a question similar to one of these:

  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What interested you most about this position?
  • What do you know about us?

Why Is The Job Candidate Leaving Their Current Job Situation

This is a question that tends to put candidates on the spot. But don’t let potential discomfort discourage you from asking it. It’s an important question to cover. It is a strategic question to ask, since it can be an indicator of an employee’s priorities. For example, if they’re switching jobs, ask them what they find appealing about this position over their prior one. Are they at risk for switching to a different job quickly from yours? If they aren’t working, maybe ask (tactfully) why they aren’t employed. Questions of this nature are a good way to catch red flags:

  • Why are you leaving your current job?
  • Tell me about your current work situation.
  • How did you get into your previous role?

What Are The Job Candidate’s Strengths

This is a question that follows up the above one well. It gives candidates an opportunity to bounce back from their prior answer and sell themselves. This question gives you a glimpse into how a candidate views themselves, which can offer a point of comparison to your opinion of them. Use a variation of this interview question strategically to get exactly the kind of answer you think will be most valuable for learning about the candidate.

  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What are your strongest skills?
  • Describe a time you overcame a challenge using your greatest strengths.
  • Have you done similar work to this in the past?

What Are The Job Candidate’s Weaknesses

This is obviously a similar question to the one above, but typically elicits a very different response. These two job interview questions to ask candidates also pair well for obvious reasons. This is a strategic interview question with a focus on identifying red flags and eliciting introspection. While most candidates will take it well, it can read as negative in certain situations. This is a useful question, but tread with caution.

  • If you could improve one of your work weaknesses, what would it be?
  • What are the primary gaps in your skillset?
  • Describe a time you overcame a challenge caused by your weaknesses as an employee.

What Is A Difficult Situation The Candidate Overcame

This is another great question to ask if you want to learn more about how the candidate views themself. It’s a question that you can work into others, (like we did above) or you can present it by itself. Answers to this question can tell you about how a candidate problem solves, how they work well with others, and how they deal with conflict and adversity in the workplace.

  • Tell us about the most difficult work situation you’ve overcome.

How Would The Job Candidate’s Coworker’s Describe Them

When it comes to strategic interview questions, this one is is particularly useful. You’ll learn a couple things with this one: How does the job candidate think they’re perceived? What do they think of their coworkers? And how do they get along with management? This can also give you insight into how they’d get along in your workplace. Try out one of these variations:

  • How do you think your coworkers would describe you?
  • What do you think your previous supervisors would say about you?

How Has The Candidate Resolved A Disagreement With A Coworker

This question is similar to the prior two questions, but more direct and specific. Answers to this can demonstrate problem solving ability as well as capacity for teamwork and cooperation. Listen to answers to this question carefully: they will tell you a lot about an individual’s personality and conflict resolution style.

  • Describe an important disagreement you’ve had with a coworker, and how it was resolved.

What Is The Job Candidate’s Ideal Work Environment

This particular question can be framed in many ways, depending on what kind of answer you are looking for. A few variations on this question include; What is your dream work? Preferred management style? Ideal workflow? Answers to these questions can help you determine if the work dynamics of your company will mesh well with a candidate’s hopes and expectations. There are many more variants of this question, including:

  • What is your ideal work environment?
  • Do you prefer to work alone or in a team?
  • How much oversight do you think benefits your work?
  • How do you handle creating a timeline to meet a deadline?
  • Describe your preferred workstyle. What helps you to be most successful?

What Are The Candidate’s Goals

Learning about a candidate’s career goals can help you project what their role might be at your company down the line. If your vision and their vision for career growth align, this could be a good reason to choose them for the job. This type of question can also help you determine a candidate’s dedication to their job. A person with clear directives and ambitions will likely be a more valuable asset to your team than someone who is just there to collect a paycheck. To ascertain a candidate’s short-term and long-term planning, ask a question similar to one of these:

  • What are you trying to accomplish in your first week or so with this job?
  • What goals would you try to meet in this job in the next year?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What are your career goals?

What Isn’t On The Job Candidate’s Resume

It’s important to get to know a candidate in ways that go beyond their work history and goals. Asking a question like this can make a job applicant feel valued as an individual. It’s always a good idea to give people a chance to talk about an individual’s pursuits and passions – it gives them a chance to steer the conversation and let them shine. You might learn some fun and fascinating facts about your interviewee that would enhance their value as an employee. Of all of the job interview questions to ask, this one is the absolute best to have towards the end of the interview process.

  • Tell us something that isn’t on your resume.

Does The Job Candidate Have Any Questions For The Interviewer

This is the most open ended of the standard job interview questions to ask candidates. It’s an excellent way to wrap up any interview. The first function of this question is that it lets the job candidate explore anything important to them that hasn’t been covered. Second, it hands the reigns to the job candidate. This lets you get some final information about them. What’s important to them? How do they explore opportunities to learn more? How confident are they? And how do they handle being put on the spot?

  • Do you have any questions for us?

Come Up With Your Own Job Interview Questions To Ask Candidates, And Find Those Job Candidates With Find.Jobs!

All of the questions we’ve outlined are essential, standard questions. But don’t feel limited to using only these! In order to stand out to a job candidate, you should pepper in your own job interview questions to ask candidates! Don’t worry as much about asking the world’s best interview questions, or creating unique interview questions to ask candidates. Instead, ask questions specific to the job opening and company. Or ask something that requires some creative thinking from the job candidate. Whatever the case, don’t rely on a guide to tell you how to ask a question that stands out.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, you have plenty of time to develop your own questions and interview style. With all the necessities out of the way, focus on getting to know the candidate in a more fun way! But before you interview a job candidate, you have to find the right job candidate. The Find.Jobs network of sites makes that easier and more affordable than ever! When you choose to post your job ads with us, we advertise your openings across tens of thousands of targeted job search sites. As an example, US based jobs will appear on the high-ranking US.Jobs, as well as plenty of other relevant sites. With our industry low rates and easy process, you can do this fast, cheap, and well. Get in touch with us to discover how Find.Jobs can help you find those interview-worthy job candidates!

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