Interviews can be difficult, to say the least. Oftentimes, there are high stakes for everyone involved. The interviewer wants to find a great employee that will make an immediate impact and stick around for the long haul. The interviewee is looking for a company that will be a great culture fit and ultimately help them reach their career goals. Needless to say, both parties want the interview to go well and the success of any interview lies in the questions that are asked.
At JSG, we spend thousands of hours each year getting to know our clients’ process and prepping candidates for interviews with the goal of finding the best fit possible. Here are some of our favorite interview questions and why we like them.
Tell me about yourself?
This allows you to give your highly practiced ‘elevator speech’ about yourself. They don’t want to know about your personal life. They want to know about your work experience and why you are looking to make a change. This is where you get to shine a light on your strengths. We like this question because it helps them perceive you as an “A” candidate at the beginning of the interview. If you have a strong elevator speech, you can help the hiring manager overlook areas that might be a concern down the road.
If I called your last boss and asked them to tell me about yourself, what would they say?
This question gives you an opportunity to pretty much say whatever you want. Hopefully, you can illustrate how and why you are the best candidate for the role. Plus, it gives the interviewer a good summary of how others see you.
Why are you looking for a new opportunity?
This is the perfect time to showcase your positive attitude. Stick with answers that show you are looking for a challenging environment or wanting to grow in your career. “Bad mouthing” your current or previous employer is NEVER okay in this situation (even if you left or are leaving on bad terms). With the right answer and positive response, your interviewer will be impressed with your professionalism!
What is one thing you couldn’t live without?
I was asked this question once in an interview, and my answer was my smartphone. I explained that it was an extension of me and my life was connected to it in so many ways. The interviewer immediately grinned and explained that he identified with me in that regard. A question like this allows for varying responses and gives a glimpse into the personality of the interviewee.
Where else have you interviewed?
This question allows the interviewer to assess the level of candor and interest in this particular position, as opposed to just getting a job. It will also indicate how they handle being “put on the spot.” Stressful situations occur in every workplace. If you can determine early how they respond and if they get easily rattled, it’s better to find out before they start working for you.
What is one thing that differentiates you from other candidates?
I like this question because it allows a candidate to sell themselves on why the employer should choose them. It also illustrates what the interviewer can expect from them. It gives an idea of what is important to the candidate from the perspective of the individual’s values.
How long have you been with the company?
I love this question because it gives the interviewer a chance to sell the interviewee on the company and the opportunity.
What are the skills and experiences you’re looking for in an ideal candidate?
I like this question because it forces the interviewer to think about the job description’s accuracy and expand on what they want in a new hire. This allows the candidate to highlight their talents (skills and experiences) and relate them to the position.