Interviews are the standard way of determining if a candidate is a right fit for a company and if they are qualified for the role they are applying for. Of course, to get the best results out of an interview, you need a good set of interview questions.
An interviewer may choose to ask every candidate the same questions, which is easier for comparing candidates equally and saves time, or they may tailor the questions to every individual, which may give you a better idea of each candidate’s skills and personality.
Hiring new employees can be a difficult task, but the right set of interview questions can simplify the process and help you confidently select the right candidate for the job.
But how do you write good interview questions?
Below you’ll find a few handy tips for writing the best interview questions possible.
Table of Contents
- Creating Interview Questions
- Writing Interview Questions
- Reflecting On Your Questions
- Final Thoughts
Creating Interview Questions
There are standard interview questions that get asked at every interview, but more specific questions make sure you’re more confident in your hiring decisions and can help narrow down your search for the perfect candidate to fit that role.
Let’s take a look at how you can write excellent questions that bring the best out in whomever you’re interviewing.
Consider What You Want From An Employee
Each role is different, and every workplace has its own distinct culture.
Being aware of what the role demands and what your organization prioritizes in its employees will help you write effective questions.
Think about the job description, the values of your organization, where your team needs support, and what you would like a new member to bring to your team.
Company culture may never change, but employee roles often change and more may be required from them than what is currently advertised in the job description.
Think about what the role requires and list the tasks the potential employee will need to complete and what qualifications, experiences, and skills are needed to complete these tasks.
For example, good communication, organization and multitasking skills, experience working in customer service, and knowledge of programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel may be needed for the role.
Now you have decided what skills and experience are important for the candidate to have, think about other qualities they would need to possess.
For example, would they need to be outgoing? Would they need to be a team player or be able to work well on their own? Would they need to be a quick learner, and would they need to be able to thrive in a fast-moving environment?
Writing Interview Questions
The interviewer sets the tone for the interview.
So if you’re laid-back then your interviewee will be laid-back, and the opposite is also true. This is why it’s so important to tailor your questions with your company culture in mind, and the field you’re working in.
If you work for a law office, then your candidate’s education, experience, and knowledge will be the focus of the interview. Meanwhile, in public-facing, customer service jobs, attitude, and behavior will be more important.
No matter what the tone of the interview is, it’s best to start small. Ask your candidate to tell you a little about themselves and what drew them to the position.
Ask About Interests
Discovering what drew your candidates to the role or the particular field can illuminate their attitude, goals, and what motivates them. You can find this out with surface-level questions, or more in-depth ones.
If they’ve made a career change, ask them about that. You can also ask them why they are passionate about the field they’re working in.
Ask About Their Qualifications And Experience
Now the candidate is comfortable, and you’ve got to know them a bit better, you can move on to discussing skills, qualifications, and experience.
You should keep these questions related to the job description and the candidate’s background.
You can ask them about their academic qualifications and what their courses were like, what they have taken away from previous roles, what they do now, and how they think these roles have shaped them into the person they are today.
Find Out More About Their Personality
The above is a great segue into finding out more about the candidates as people. Qualifications are great, but so is a good attitude and a good work ethic.
Circumstance-based or situation-based questions give you an idea of what a candidate’s assets are.
You can ask them to talk about experiences in their previous roles where they experienced stress, conflict, or made a mistake, and how they overcame these obstacles.
Ask About Their Goals
Inquiring about a candidate’s future career goals and plans can give you an idea if they’re the right fit for the role.
You can ask them where they see themselves in five years, and if they’re pursuing higher education to work in a certain profession, you can ask them what work they would like to do once they have completed their course.
You can also ask them what they value in an employer, and in what type of work environment they would thrive.
No matter how serious or laid-back the interview is, it’s important to end the interview positively.
You can achieve this by asking them if they have any questions about the organization, and if there are any improvements they would make to the organization if they were to be hired.
Reflecting On Your Questions
Once you have written your interview questions, take some time to read them over, check if they’re relevant, and think about how they may be received by the candidates you interview.
Let’s take a look at some things to consider.
Use Language That Respects Your Candidate’s Intelligence
If this person has been asked to an interview, they are a suitable candidate. Make sure this is reflected in your questions and that no questions come off as patronizing or condescending.
Think About Timing
Most interviews tend to be around 30 minutes long, so make sure you have enough time to ask questions, enough time for the candidates to answer, and enough time to properly record their answers.
Come Well Prepared
Interviewing for a job can be nerve-wracking, and candidates tend to do a lot of research ahead of their interviews to make sure they’re well-prepared and make a good first impression.
Interviewees should also be well-prepared as well, as you want to make a good first impression with potential employees and represent your organization well.
Have Back-Up Questions Prepared
No matter how much preparation you do, sometimes things don’t go as planned on the day. You might be running behind, or your interviewee might provide information that could take the interview in another direction.
Having a backup plan for how you approach the interview will help you stay on track.
Your candidate might have unique, or remarkable qualifications that you would like them to provide more detail on, Or they may have certain qualifications that don’t quite meet the role’s requirements, such as not completing an internship.
They might still be in higher education to earn the degree that is needed for your field.
To get the most out of the candidates you’re interviewing, you need good interview questions.
Asking inquisitive and to the point, questions are sure to yield illuminating answers that will make the selection process for a new role a lot easier!