10 Questions To Ask an Interviewee (With Example Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you work in a managerial position, chances are you'll participate in the interview process to support business goals and outcomes. When interviewing, though, it's important to address things like candidates' skills, experience, qualifications and overall fit for the job. As you prepare to meet with job candidates, it can be helpful to have a list of questions to ask to better screen your candidates. In this article, we explore what kinds of questions to ask an interviewee and what to look for when discussing the job with potential employees.

Related: Follow-Up Email Examples for After the Interview

10 questions to ask an interviewee during an interview

Use the following example questions to ask an interviewee so you can assess their fit for the role:

1. What skills qualify you for this position?

Asking this question is important because you can evaluate the candidate's strengths and get an idea of whether they understand what the role entails. Look for key skills that match the requirements of the position, so you know the candidate understands what they are responsible for in the role and how much research they have done to learn about your company.

Example: “I'm certified in SQL solutions and have extensive experience assisting organisations in the improvement of network databases and maintenance of secure business data. With these skills, I'm confident I can help Howland Tech's sales and marketing teams organise and analyse important data and use it to create strategies that lead to growth and profitability.”

Related: Interview Question: "Why Should We Hire You?"

2. How would you describe your work style?

Consider asking interviewees this question to gain insight into how they prefer to complete important projects and tasks. For instance, some candidates may prefer working independently, while others prefer a collaborative setting. Assess the candidate's ability to function with minimal directions, collaborate with others and complete important work independently when it's necessary.

Example: “I am pretty flexible with different arrangements, depending on what my company needs. When my managers initiate large and complex projects, though, I prefer collaborating with my team and gaining insight from the diverse skills and expertise they bring to the project. However, some tasks I can complete more quickly on my own, and I sometimes take on work like this when I know my teammates are busy with urgent matters or my managers are away and need my support in these areas.”

3. What is one professional achievement of which you are most proud?

Asking the interviewee about a recent achievement they are most proud of can give you more details about their talents and capabilities, whether the achievement is an extensive project, award, certification, diploma or special accolade. This question can also help boost an interviewee's confidence and help them feel more at ease during your conversation.

Example: “I recently completed my master's degree, which is something I'm extremely proud of since I didn't think I would ever go back to school. I graduated with my degree in business analysis because I have a passion for meeting entrepreneurs and helping them establish goals and achieve success within their business ventures.”

4. Can you describe a time when you overcame a challenge at work?

Behavioural questions during an interview can help you evaluate the interviewee's ethics and conflict-resolution skills. Look for evidence of how the candidate collaborated with others to find solutions or compromise and how they apply strategies to help solve problems in the workplace.

Example: “In my last position, I worked in a very fast-paced financial firm, where one of my teammates and I disagreed about how to handle a large investment contract. While I was still preparing a sample portfolio, my teammate had already implemented some strategies that ended up costing the client more money, resulting in a profit loss.

After collaborating on what went wrong and coming to a compromise with my teammate on my original strategies, we completed the sample portfolio together and presented the new strategies to the client. Because I was able to communicate with my teammate openly and collaborate on the next steps forward, we were able to secure a large client account that led to major revenue increases for the firm.”

5. How do you respond to stressful situations in the workplace?

You can ask this question to get an idea of an interviewee's analytical and critical thinking skills. This type of question can also help you get an idea of their work ethics and leadership skills. Candidates who are successful at resolving issues often show patience, perseverance and compassion. Look for traits like teamwork and collaboration, communication and creativity when interviewees answer a behavioural question like this one.

Example: “I like to integrate stress management techniques, as I have a few years of experience working in an extremely fast-paced environment. One technique that helps me calm my nerves and refocus my attention on a current situation or event is to breathe deeply for seven to 10 seconds, holding each breath long enough to let my body relax. Then, I'll stretch my arms high over my head for a few seconds before brainstorming solutions, communicating strategies with my team and integrating approaches to overcome challenges.”

6. Why are you leaving your current job?

This question gives you an understanding of why a candidate wants to find a new job and what factors contribute to their career move. Consider factors like terminations, unbalanced job fit and other indicators that can tell you about the interviewee's work ethics. Oftentimes, candidates may be relocating to a different area or switching career fields to pursue their passions.

Example: “I am getting ready to move across the country, and I know that I want to keep working in the field that I am most passionate about. In the future, I'd really like to go back for my bachelor's in nursing, and I feel that relocating to an area with a better job market can help me develop my skills further and support my continuing education in the nursing field.”

Related: How To Explain Your Reason for Resignation (With Examples)

7. If you were behind schedule on your work and an employee or customer needs your assistance, how would you handle it?

Gain understanding into how the interviewee prioritises and manages their time and workflow. For instance, consider factors that the interviewee uses to stay on track, like scheduling software, to-do lists and other organisational techniques that help them manage their workload.

Example: “I typically organise my workload daily and weekly so I know what I'm to work on and complete on time. However, in the event I am behind my schedule, I try to work through the tasks in my workload I can complete the fastest. This helps me ensure that if my teammates, manager or customers need my help with something, I can dedicate my time to assisting them and still have time to complete my workload and organise the remaining tasks to meet deadlines.”

8. Why are you interested in this position?

If a candidate is genuinely excited for a particular role, their excitement and motivation to succeed are evident in their response. Additionally, candidates with a deep interest and passion for the role often demonstrate their excitement by detailing what they know about the company, the job requirements and how their skills can contribute.

Example: “After researching your firm a little more and talking with some of the staff who work here, I've become even more interested in contributing to the improvement of your marketing department. I have extensive experience with branding strategies that I feel can be a great addition to many of the campaigns your organisation initiates, and I love to incorporate creative design and techniques to engage with customer markets and increase sales.”

Related: Interview Question: "What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?"

9. Can you tell me about an interest or hobby you have outside of work?

Asking candidates about their interests outside of work can help you get to know interviewees' personalities, core traits and personal interests, which can give you an idea of how motivated new employees will be after starting the job. Consider interests that challenge the interviewee's intellect, skills and knowledge about diverse topics.

Example: “I am an avid skier and have been skiing since I was eight years old. However, I recently started competing in cross-country events, which challenge a lot of my physical endurance capabilities. Even though this is a new venture for me, I love the challenge I get from clocking my times and making improvements to speed, breathing techniques and energy conservation methods when skiing long distances. I truly believe that my experience and constant development with this sport has supported my ability to set goals and action plans for meeting my objectives and accomplishing success.”

10. Do you have any questions about the role?

You can ask this question at the end of the interview to get an idea of additional insight the interviewee may be looking for about the job and your organisation. Look for in-depth questions that show the interviewee considers their career prospects and goals closely, along with questions that demonstrate the interviewee's motivation to learn, develop and grow with your company.

Example: “I do have some questions about the team I'll be working with. Firstly, how does the team approach collaboration on large projects? Do they prefer delegating specific tasks to support diverse talents? Secondly, what kinds of resources will I be able to use to perform my work and contribute to the team?”

Explore more articles