How to Ask the Right Questions in a Job Interview

Working in the human resources department of any business – particularly when it is your job to find the ideal candidate for a given position – it is essential that you are able to ask the right job interview questions. While you are going to want to focus primarily on making sure that the candidate is qualified for the position in terms of education, experience, commitment and potential to excel in the position, it is imperative that you also ask those job interview questions that will help you to determine whether or not the candidate is a great match for the company.

In other words, when you interview a candidate, you are going to focus on more than just his or her experience and qualifications for the position. You are going to want to focus on the individual’s work habits, whether or not he or she has what it takes to become a great leader within your company and whether or not the candidate is someone who will be a great fit within the environment of your company.

In order to determine whether or not the candidates that you are considering for the position are going to be a great fit for the company, some of the job interview questions that you ask should be focused on the way that the candidate performed in the past. You will want to ask questions such as:

  • What were your responsibilities in your last position?
  • How did you approach challenges on the job in your last position?
  • What policies on the job did you agree with and which were a challenge for you?
  • If you had the opportunity to work on a team in your past positions, how did it go?

Those job interview questions are going to help you to get a sense of more than just the applicant’s experience. You will be able to get a feel for what he or she finds challenging on the job, how the applicant responds to the expectations of a workplace environment and how he or she feels about working as a member of a team.

These basic questions will help you to determine the candidate’s experience, their level of confidence and, to some extent, what challenges they have faced and how they have dealt with them. The more that you are able to get a feel for how the applicant responds to different situations, the better the position you will be in to explore their work habits and their responses to various situations.

That information will also give you a sense of whether or not the candidate for the job is someone who feels comfortable taking on leadership roles – particularly when you follow with job interview questions that address leadership characteristics:

  • When asked to take the lead on a project, were you comfortable with it?
  • Were all of the project deadlines met by the team?
  • How was communication throughout the process?

Not only will these job interview questions help you to get a sense of how others at the candidate’s previous position felt about working with him or her. Addressing these questions will give you perspective. You will be able to focus on the answers given, and to move into questions about how the candidate would perform in various situations within your company.

You will have the opportunity to bring up scenarios that have taken place within the company. You’ll have the chance to ask questions about the way in which the candidate would handle particular tasks that he or she would be faced with and about the way that they would respond to examples of the politics of the office.

What you will find is that, by bringing up day-to-day challenges that may be faced within the office, is a sense of how a given applicant would respond. You will be able to see whether his or her answers are in line with those given about past circumstances – in other words, you are going to find yourself in a position to look at the previous answers given as well.

Unless you are able to ask the right questions during the interview and are able to interpret the answers, it is going to be difficult to determine whether or not a candidate is qualified – however, you are going to want to be sure that you are asking job interview questions that will help you to look at more than just the basics. In other words, you are going to want to be sure that the candidate you choose for the position will not only be qualified but will also prove to be a valuable addition to the team.

Focusing on job interview questions that will help you to build a solid team will help you to ensure that the company continues to succeed and that new leaders continue to emerge.

Copyright 2009, Cecile Peterkin. All rights reserved.

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