Types of Questions to Ask During an Interview

types of questions to ask during an interview

types of questions to ask during an interviewWhen interviewing potential employees, deciding which questions to ask can be just as difficult as choosing which candidate to hire. If you were to do a quick search for “questions to ask during an interview,” you would find a mile long list of hypothetical scenarios, detailed “what if” inquiries and plenty of off-the-wall questions. Typically, the types of questions to ask during an interview should vary. It’s important to learn as much as possible about the candidate’s personality and qualifications as possible.

Types of Questions to Ask During an Interview

Open Ended

Open ended questions are popular for a reason. One word answers don’t always cut it. In order to learn a little more about a candidate’s personality, ask questions that require them to go into a little more detail about pivotal topics.


Tell me about yourself.

Why should we hire you?

What are your future goals?



Behavioral questions are designed to find out how a potential employee dealt with past situations. This gives the employer an idea of how the potential employee thinks, what their work ethics might be and how they will likely handle certain situations at your company.


Tell me about a time when you were facing multiple deadlines and how you handled the situation.

Describe a situation in which you were given constructive criticism. How did you handle it and did you learn anything from it?

Give me an example of time when you tried to attain a goal but failed.



These kinds of questions present a hypothetical situation and ask the potential employee how they would handle it. These are similar to behavioral questions, only in this case you are asking about scenarios that may never happen versus ones that have already happened. Again, the answers will be telling of the employee’s personality and coping skills.


What would you do if you found out a coworker was stealing?

How would you resolve a conflict with a colleague?

If you were leading a team and one of the members was not pulling their own weight, what would you do?



Qualification questions simply ask about a candidate’s skills. Sometimes these are asked when the interviewee is overqualified. These kinds of questions will also give you an idea of how often a candidate uses his or her skills inside and outside of work.


You seem to be overqualified for this job. Why should I hire you?

What makes you qualified for this job?

When did you last use __ skill?


Closed Ended

Closed ended questions are simply used to find out key information. Unlike open ended questions, the goal is to find out whether or not a candidate has a certain qualification or how much experience they have.


Do you like working in a team?

How many years experience do you have working as a __?

Are you skilled in __?



Sometimes referred to as “oddball,” case questions are designed to make the interviewee think on their feet. The answer they give will demonstrate their creativity and/or problem solving skills.


How many gas stations are in America?

If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be?

Approximately how many tires are sold in Canada each year?

When deciding what questions to ask during an interview, it’s important to think about what it is you are looking for in an employee. Formulate your questions around those qualities and qualifications to ensure that you find a candidate that fits in with your company and will perform as expected.