Job Interview Tips for the Interviewer (+11 Must-Ask Questions)
Manager asks important candidate questions, following job interview tips.

Hiring the right employees for your organization is both vitally important and a highly challenging. It’s key that you identify candidates with the right skills and qualities to not only perform their duties effectively, but also fit into the culture your company is trying to foster.

Of course, the only way to accomplish this goal is to conduct comprehensive interviews with qualified applicants. To achieve the best results, your interviews must be set up to be consistent across the board. That’s why first on our list of job interview tips is to curate a list of effective questions and ask each candidate the same set of questions. This makes it easier to perform an “apples to apples” comparison of potential employees. Developing and maintaining a standardized scoring system for ranking each candidate is also essential.

What questions should you be asking? Let’s review 11 key questions you’ll want to start using during your interviews. Our job interview tips will also help you identify what to look for in candidate responses.

Effective Job Interview Tips Start With Top Questions To Ask

  1. What do you know about our company?
  2. Why are you interested in this position?
  3. Why do you feel you are qualified for this role?  (Ask the candidate to provide specifics.)
  4. Based on the role, what would you want to accomplish in your first 30, 60, and 90 days if you join the team? 
  5. How do you stay organized? Do you use any specific tools or software?
  6. What type of environment are you most successful in (e.g., fast-paced, self-motivated, etc.)?
  7. Tell me about a time when you had to lead a project. What was the project? What was your role on the team? What were the outcomes/successes?
  8. What are the three most important things you feel you’ve learned throughout your career?
  9. Have you ever received feedback from a peer or supervisor on how you can improve? And what did you learn from it?
  10. What goals do you have for yourself in the next year? In the next three years? five years?
  11. With X years of experience in the industry, what do you feel you bring to the table that sets you apart from your peers?

What To Look For in Candidate Responses

Several features and nuances of a candidate’s response to each question listed above will indicate, at least to some degree, how suitable they are for the job. Here are some key job interview tips to keep in mind when evaluating candidate responses:

Can they provide specific examples of success?

This is perhaps the simplest factor in assessing a candidate’s answer to a question. A candidate that can present a track record of success in previous jobs, along with specific examples of how they added value to other organizations, should usually be put on the “short list” of finalists for your open position.

Does the candidate have a growth mindset? 

Skills, experience, and even past success aren’t the only indicators of an ideal candidate. In fact, perhaps the most important factor of all is whether the candidate has a growth mindset. In other words, are they willing to grow in their career, learn new skills, and adapt to changing circumstances? Candidates with a growth mindset will demonstrate by their responses that they can turn mistakes into lessons and failures into opportunities. It’s easy to see how such a candidate could become an invaluable asset to your team.

Are they authentic?

An authentic candidate doesn’t try to pretend they are someone they’re not. They’re transparent about both the successes they’ve enjoyed and the mistakes they’ve made. They are self-aware regarding their strengths and weaknesses, and are willing to explain how their personal and professional characteristics relate to the job.

Does the candidate’s “professional personality” align with your company’s culture and values? 

Each candidate has a different “professional personality.” For instance, some candidates tend to be arrogant regarding their skills and qualifications. Others, though equally experienced, are humble and don’t need to brag over past accomplishments. Some candidates may answer questions quickly without thinking too deeply about their meaning. Others are very thoughtful and deliberate in how they respond. It’s important to determine each candidate’s personality and whether it fits neatly with your team and organizational culture.

Do they use “I” or “we” statements? 

This factor requires some discernment on the interviewer’s part. To illustrate: if a candidate primarily uses “I” statements in their response, this often indicates that they played a key role in a past project’s success. However, if they use “we” statements, this could indicate that they were legitimately a “team player” with previous employers… or perhaps that they had less of an impact on successful projects than their colleagues did.

How do they like to be managed? 

Along with cultural fit, this is a vital factor to evaluate for each candidate. For instance, some candidates respond well to a highly structured management style in which they’re given a very specific scope of work. Others thrive in a more flexible environment that allows them to explore creative solutions to key project needs. Some candidates need regular feedback from their manager, while others only require the occasional check-in. The point is, it’s good to understand which management style each candidate prefers. You may want to compare those styles to the framework currently in place in your organization to see which candidate would be an “easy fit.”

Get More Job Interview Tips

If you pose the 11 questions listed in the previous section to your candidates, and then evaluate their responses according to the above guidelines, you’ll be in a prime position to make the best hire for your open role. For more helpful tips and techniques on how to conduct an effective candidate search, including interview best practices, explore our resources at The Doyle Group today.

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