The interview process can be a nerve-wracking experience for both the candidate and interviewer. A good way to break the ice is by asking some questions that will allow them to feel comfortable with you, their environment, and speak candidly about themselves.
Use this list of common interview questions to break the ice and get an honest read on the candidate. This also helps you to gauge the candidate’s personality and experience.
Most Common Interview Questions To Ask Any Candidate
These frequently asked questions touch on the essential aspects of the candidate’s past, their current job role, and fit with your company culture.
1. Tell Me About Yourself.
This question seems simple, but it’s one of the best to aid in understanding candidates. It allows them to open up about who they are as a person and what their goals may be, while also giving you an idea of how articulate or confident they can be on the spot.
2. How Did You Hear About This Position?
This question will allow you to gauge how they had knowledge of the position. It also helps them put together a timeline and can even lead to more questions about why they are interested in this particular job or company, which is key information that should be obtained throughout the interview process.
3. What Kind Of Projects Do You Enjoy Working On?
This question will give you a sense of the candidate and what they enjoy doing. It can also help to find out how well they will fit into your company culture which is why it’s important for employees in any organization to not only work together but like each other as well.
4. What Are Your Short-term And Long-Term Goals?
This question will give you a sense of the candidate’s ambition and will give you an idea as to what they’re looking for in their next role. It can also help them understand your company culture, which is why it’s important that employees not only work together but like each other as well.
5. What Do You Want To Be Doing In Five Years?
This question will give you an idea of the candidate’s career goals and ambitions. It can also help them to understand your company culture, which is why it’s important that employees not only work together but like each other as well.
6. What Have You Learned From Previous Jobs?
This question will give you a sense of how they react to previous jobs or projects and what they have learned from them.
7. What Would Your Current Manager Say About You?
This question will give you a sense of how the candidate is viewed by their current manager or supervisor, and what they have to offer in terms of skillset, personality, etc. It’s also important for candidates to know that this job isn’t going anywhere; is not a “temp-hire” and is not a contract position.
8. Why Do You Want to Work at This Company?
This question will give you insight into what they are looking for in their next role.
9. How Would You Describe Your Working Relationships With Those Around You?
This question is a good indicator of how the candidate gets along with others and can provide some great insight as to how they will function on your team, which is why it’s important that employees not only work together but like each
10. What’s Your Biggest Career Mistake?
This question can give you a sense of how candid the candidate is, what they think about themselves and their work, or it might reveal some type of regret for them that you have to deal with on an ongoing basis. It also reveals whether they are a person who can learn from their mistakes.
11. What is the Best Advice You’ve Ever Received?
This lets you know what types of words they are drawn to and how often they will be drawn down a path that someone else has already paved for them or if they forge their own way with each decision-making process. It’s also a good insight
12. What Are You Most Proud Of In Your Professional Life?
This question allows you to find out what makes the candidate tick and if they would be a good fit for your company.
13. What Is One Thing That Has Challenged or Frustrated You At Work Recently?
This question allows you to get a glimpse of what the candidate’s past few weeks have been like. You can also use this to see if they are someone who is frustrated and/or discouraged easily or someone with a low tolerance for frustration.
14. What Is Your Dream Job?
This question gives you insight into their personality type, work ethic, and whether or not they have a goal in mind for themselves that can become aligned with your company’s goals. It also reveals which companies are appealing to them in general
15. Why Should We Hire You?
This question shows the candidate that you are interested in them and what they can bring to your company, as well as it allows them to be creative about why they would fit in with your culture.
16. What Can You Bring to the Company?
This question provides insight into the candidate’s work ethic, creativity/innovation, and how they are feeling about themselves. It also allows them to see what is important to you as a company
17. What Do You Like Most About Your Previous Job?
This question gives candidates an opportunity to feel nostalgic and talk about their favorite part of working for one particular employer which may be different than what they like most about their current job.
18. What Do You Like the Least About Your Current Job?
This question allows candidates to speak candidly and express frustrations that they might not otherwise feel comfortable sharing in a professional setting. It also gives you an opportunity to see if there’s anything negative, or something that can’t be resolved, about the company they’re working for.
19. What Do You Want to Be Doing in Five Years?
This question can help you see if a candidate has ambition and goals for themselves. It also gives them an opportunity to share what’s important to them as their career progresses.
20. Can I Ask About Your Personal Life?
This question is primarily targeted towards senior-level candidates. You want to ask this question if you’re not sure how to break the ice with a candidate or feel like they need some encouragement.
21. What Do You Know About Our Company?
This is a great way of assessing what does and doesn’t interest them about your company without asking a generic question.
22. What Is Your Favorite Thing to Do Outside Of Work?
This is a great question for getting to know the candidate’s interests. It also helps you understand what they like doing and may be willing to do outside of work hours.
23. If You Were an Animal, Which One Would You Want to Be?
This question is designed to break the ice and give you a sense of what qualities are important to the person. You might learn that they value their independence or creativity–even if these traits aren’t a perfect match for your open position, it’s information you can use during an interview process.
24. What Are Your Greatest Strengths?
This question is also an effective way to get to know the candidate. You want them to be able to express themselves and showcase their strengths in a professional setting, which will ultimately help you make your decision about whether or not they are qualified for the role.
25. What Are Your Greatest Weaknesses?
This question is a popular one, but it is also important to note that you should not be afraid of candidates who will candidly share their weaknesses. It doesn’t always mean they are dishonest or liars; the truth may just be something you need to know about them before making an offer.
26. What Is Your Biggest Pet Peeve?
This question is a great way to gauge the candidate’s level of patience and tolerance. You want someone who can take constructive criticism, not get flustered easily, and stay calm under pressure.
27. What Is Your Greatest Achievement?
This question is more than just finding out what they have done in their life; it also tells you about how confident they are and if they take pride in their work.
28. What Are Some of Your Hobbies?
This question is a great way to find out the candidate’s personality, what motivates them, and how much time they can spend on non-work-related activities. It also gives you an idea about whether or not they will be able to take time off of work to travel for business or volunteer opportunities.
29. Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake.
This question is a great way to see how they react when faced with an obstacle. It also lets you know that they can admit their mistakes and learn from them, which are two traits necessary for succeeding in the workplace.
30. Tell Me About a Time You Failed.
This question can be used in more than one way. For example, you can use this question to see if they take responsibility for their failures and learn from them or if the moment of failure crushed them.
31. Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?
This question is great because it shows you which direction the candidate wants to go in their career. It also lets them know that you are respectful of their current employer and understand they will need a legitimate reason for leaving if they do decide to accept an offer from your company.
32. What Happened Between Your Employment Gaps?
This question is a consideration if you are interviewing candidates who have been unemployed for more than six months or the candidate has gaps in their employment. It can be an indicator of why they left their last job, what is happening with them outside of work (such as caring for family members), and how much experience they really have to offer your company.
33. Can You Explain Why You Changed Career Paths?
This question may be an indicator of how much the candidate is willing to grow and learn, as well as their risk-taking ability.
34. What’s Your Current Salary?
This question works well if you are interviewing for a promotion or the candidate is being considered for more than one position. It also gives an indicator of how underpaid they might be at their current employer, and it provides clues as to what salary they would need in order to consider leaving their job.
35. What Are You Looking for in a New Position?
This is an excellent question because it gives you a sense of what the candidate really wants in his or her next position, whether that’s more responsibility and/or money.
36. What Type of Work Environment Do You Prefer?
This question is a great way to get an idea of what the candidate would prefer. You may find that they want something with more structure and less freedom or vice versa, so you can use this information when considering other positions for them in your company.
37. What is Your Favorite Type of Work?
This question tells you whether the person prefers creative work, such as designing products or art, or if they are more of a numbers person. It gives you an idea of what the candidate is looking for in their next position and allows them to be honest about what it will take to keep them interested in their work.
38. What Motivates You?
This question helps identify whether the candidate prefers intrinsic motivation, such as money, or whether they need more extrinsic motivation. It can be hard to motivate someone who is intrinsically motivated by something other than money and vice versa.
39. How Would Your Boss and Coworkers Describe You?
This question will help you get a sense of whether the candidate is communicative and collaborative or more introverted. It’s important to know what your hiring needs are before considering someone for this position, so asking about how they work will help with decision-making.
40. How Do You Deal With Pressure or Stressful Situations?
This question will be more relevant to people who have difficulty coping with stress and pressure. It will help you assess whether the candidate is introverted or extroverted, as well as how they deal with their emotions when overwhelmed.
41. How Do You Prioritize Your Work?
This question will help you understand how the candidate prioritizes tasks. It will show if they are a high or low-priority worker, and whether they’re willing to take on new challenges such as overcoming obstacles.
42. What Are You Passionate About?
This question will give you an idea of the candidate’s passions. It could be their hobbies, lifestyle choices, or ambitions for the future.
43. What Is Your Favorite Vacation Spot?
This is a more light-hearted question that will help break down any awkwardness between interviewer and interviewee. You might learn that they enjoy visiting different countries on an annual basis, or if they’re more of a stay-at-home person.
44. What Do You Like To Read?
This question will help you determine the candidate’s interests and passions. It may also give insight into how well suited they are to different types of tasks based on their reading habits.
45. How Do You Like to Be Managed?
This question will help you determine how the candidate likes to be managed. You might learn that they prefer someone who is hands-off and gives them space, or an interviewer who micromanages every detail of their workday.
46. What’s Your Favorite TV Show?
This question will give insight into a person’s interests and free time management skills. You may learn that they’re a big fan of reality TV, and will need to schedule these types of interviews earlier in the day.
47. What Is Your Favorite Movie?
This question is useful for determining what type of movies or genres are most appealing to them. It also gives insight into their tastes as well as how easily embarrassed they are.
48. Do You Consider Yourself Successful?
This question will tell you how the person values success. You might learn that it is more about making a difference than getting recognition, or that they are primarily concerned with their salary and bonuses.
49. How Do You Plan to Achieve Your Career Goals?
This question will tell you what the person’s plan is for getting from here to there. You might learn that they don’t have any specific plans but are confident in their ability, or that they’ve mapped out a detailed strategy and will be sure to share it with you during the interview.
50. What Other Companies Are You Interviewing With?
This question will tell you what the person values. You might learn that they are looking for a change and want to leave their options open, or that they prefer stability over everything else.
51. What Makes You Unique?
This question will tell you what qualities the person values and considers to be their best. You might learn that they are confident, or motivated, or creative–and even if these traits aren’t a perfect match for your open position, it’s information you can use during an interview process.
52. What Are Your Salary Expectations?
This question will tell you if the person is looking for more money, less money, or an equivalent salary. You might learn that they’re new to the market and just want to make sure they get a fair shake, or that they are happy with their current position and are on high alert for any signs of low compensation in the offer process.
53. Are You Willing to Relocate?
This question will tell you if the person is willing to move for a company, and how far they are willing to go. You might learn that their family lives in another city, or that they don’t mind moving as long as there’s a good rate of pay–or even an offer of equity!
54. Do you prefer to work onsite or remotely?
This question will tell you if the person prefers to be onsite or work remotely. You might learn that they don’t want a commute, and would prefer to stay in their own home office; or that they are seeking some variety by working from different locations around the world.
55. Are you available to work on Weekends?
This question will tell you if the person is available for weekend work. You might learn that they can only work on weekends, which could make a long-term commitment difficult; or that they prefer to have some free time over the weekends and would need more than one weekday off per week in order to feel balanced.
56. What Types of Pets Are You Allergic To?
This question might not seem like a typical interview question, but when they say “yes” or no Not,” all your teams will know whether same there, are but any of these pets questions that can could help be a break in the ice in your workspace and. make you feel more comfortable.
57. Do You Have Any Food Allergies?
This is another off-the-wall type of question. But it doesn’t hurt to ask! You might learn about their dietary restrictions, and whether they have any allergies that would affect collaboration.
58. What’s Your Favorite Food?
Now, this is a question you can’t go wrong with. Unless the candidate doesn’t eat anything… then it might make for an awkward interview! But otherwise, it gives them a chance to talk about themselves and their interests.
59. Where Do You Currently Live?
This is a question that might seem invasive or nosy to some. But it’s important for you to remember how the candidate commutes and where they live, just in case you need them on call at any time of night
60. Is There Anything Else You Want Us to Know?
This is a great question to ask at the end of an interview. The candidate might have any questions or concerns about working with your company that they haven’t addressed yet, and this allows them to get those off their chest before leaving.
We hope these interview questions have been helpful! If you have any other questions make sure to contact us. Remember this: Not all candidates are alike so don’t be afraid of asking different types of questions that may pertain only to those interviewing for one type of role.
Last few reminders:
If the interview is in the office, remember to offer the candidate a drink, food, or anything to break the ice and help them feel more comfortable with you and your company. Also, offer a tour of the office and let them know where the restrooms are and if they need to use one.
If the interview is over a phone, Google Meet, Microsoft Team, Skype, or Zoom call, remember that you are still building rapport and making the candidate feel welcome. Ask about their day or what they’ve been up to lately!