Sometimes it is hard to tell what your candidates will bring to the table just from looking at their resume. Sealing the deal, the interview is one of the most important parts of the recruitment process. Taking skilled applicants and learning more about their personal qualities is essential to hiring “good fits” for your firm. There are a plethora of interview questions and interview styles out there. You always want to pick a the essential questions to focus on so you can dive deep into a candidate’s experience, achievements/goals, personal qualities, and the ability to perform on the job.
While interviewing, it is important for recruiters to ask a series of technical questions and behavioral questions – candidates may be well-trained to solve logical and skill-based problems but not all of them will have a character that is suitable for the job. Technical questions will range depending on the industry. However, there is a set of frequently asked behavioral questions that can be asked in almost any interview.
To get the most out of the interviewing process, interviewers should be able to interpret the answers to these 10 top interview questions.
1. Tell me about yourself / Walk me through your resume
Candidates are expecting this question. It’s the first impression you are going to get from them. Broadly, you will be able to understand how they communicate, what their background is, and how their experiences have shaped them.
· Provide a concise 3-5 minute bio, emphasizing important parts of the resume while telling a story.
· Highlight strengths that will be explained later.
· Involve relevant experiences and accomplishments that build up to an interest in the industry.
· Demonstrate well-roundedness as well as a genuine interest in the industry.
· Display effective ability to communicate confidently and coherently.
2. Why Industry X?
This question will provide some insight into whether a candidate is interested in the field. It becomes easy to sift out candidates that may just be in it for the paycheck. If your candidate has a compelling story and has done their research, they can automatically stand out.
· Explain the root of interest in the industry (where it started).
· Emphasize a strong willingness to learn and gain skills for any future experiences.
· Include something unique about the industry opportunities – exit opportunities and significant responsibilities at a low level are a couple of examples.
· Draw from experiences talking to other people in the industry who have had positive experiences.
· Recognize the drawbacks of the industry while having an optimistic perspective on them.
3. Why Company X over any other company in the industry?
In the recruitment process, the candidate isn’t the only one being interviewed. It is important for a recruiter to understand whether the firm will be a good fit for the candidate’s personality as well. The answer to the “why this firm” question can tell you whether a candidate is interested in your firm’s values and opportunities.
· Have a well-researched explanation of unique qualities that aren’t just statistics on the company website’s home page.
· Show that they will fit well with the company’s culture and values.
· Demonstrate interest in working with specific skills and groups based on what the company is best at – for example, a boutique bank will be good for candidates that want to work in smaller teams.
· Have research done about a few other firms in the industry.
4. What do you think you will be doing on a day-to-day basis?
It is easy to find genuine interest if a candidate has talked to people in the industry or done the research to learn the day-to-day of a company. In addition, the question will help you understand whether your candidate’s expectations will be met by your firm.
· Show that they have done a lot of industry research or talked to people to learn what the day-to-day is like.
· Recognize that they know what they are in for.
· Demonstrate interest in learning fast and adapting to new situations.
5. If you were running this firm, in what direction would you take it?
This is a great way to test your candidate’s creativity while checking to see if they have been updated with the company’s work. It is always a plus when candidates are staying informed of general trends in the news, as this shows initiative and awareness. Asking situational interview questions will help to see how candidates react to certain stress-based scenarios.
· Think about what the company has been doing recently in the news.
· Be careful not to say the company is doing something “wrong”.
· Look at opportunities for growth and focus on how the firm can improve its business to meet those goals.
· Avoid fixing something that the company hasn’t been doing well.
6. What makes you different than other candidates?
This question is the best way to understand why a candidate wants the job more than anyone else.
· Have a 30-second pitch involving an experience that demonstrates certain strengths.
· Avoid bragging.
· Show that they have taken extra effort to learn about the industry by providing concrete examples from their pre-recruiting process.
7. Tell me about your experience at XYZ last summer – what did you like the best and least?
Understanding how your candidates responded to certain situations in past experiences can provide a lot of insight into what they are looking for in a firm and how they have overcome frustrations in the past.
· Show general positivity towards their work performance and organization.
· Have an optimistic take on any bad situations.
· Highlight their qualities by making it clear that they appreciate challenges, opportunities for growth, company culture or flexibility.
· Be specific about why they like/dislike an aspect of the experience.
8. Explain how you use XYZ
This is a chance to test whether your candidate knows how to use a skill that may be listed on their resume. It is important to understand how they implemented a specific skill in a position to see if they will be able to apply themselves.
· Communicate clearly.
· Be specific about how the skill was used without beating around the bush.
· Explain how they have incorporated the skill in past experiences rather than just saying that they used it.
· Provide examples of times they have mentored or trained others in the skill.
9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
No one knows exactly where they will be in 5 years. This question is mainly asked just to see if your candidate is a goal-setter or someone that is actively thinking about pursuing the things they are interested in. If a candidate is open to a few different options, they are flexible and open to change. Most answers are acceptable for this question as long as they have strong reasoning behind them.
· Have a rationale behind their thoughts.
· Display dedication towards the next two/three years they would potentially be working.
10. Tell me about a time where you had to give or receive feedback in a group setting (or other situational question)
There is an endless list of situational questions in a behavioral interview. Interviewers love to ask the questions because they accentuate the connection between a candidate’s experience and what the candidate learned from it. This displays a lot of important qualities such as leadership, adaptability, initiative, etc.
· Tell a story of how they acted in an experience.
· Highlight qualities like open-mindedness, leadership, ability to work in teams.
· Explain what they learned from the experience and how they will apply it in the workplace.
Before interviewing a candidate, make sure that you research more questions that could offer new insight into your next potential hire. Once the interview is over, ask "fine-print" questions to ensure that the candidate is authorized to work and can potentially have a background check done. Make sure to be professional, attentive, and thorough while making sure your candidate is a good fit!