One could argue that interviews are the most important stage in the hiring process. Up to that point, you really don’t know much about the candidates you’re considering. You’ve only seen their resume and possibly had a quick phone or video interview with them.
Now you get to sit in the same room with your candidates and talk to them face-to-face. You have the opportunity to really get to know them and learn what they can do. You’ll likely walk out of the room after each interview knowing whether or not the candidate is the person you’re looking for.
The better your interview questions are, the more you’ll learn about your candidates. That may sound obvious but there are many interviewers who expect candidates to just come out and say why they’re great. But it’s the interviewer who needs to take the lead.
Even if you’re new to interviewing candidates, you’ll likely already have a few questions related to the role in mind. You can also mix in some situational and behavioral questions to get to know candidates even better.
The definitions above may sound like different ways to ask the same questions. That’s partly true but situational and behavioral interview questions can each bring out unique answers.
Situational questions can be a curve ball for candidates. They force them to think about how they would handle the challenges associated with the role. Experienced interviewees have go-to answers for common job interview questions. But situational questions force them to go off script and critically think about situations they’ll encounter, if hired.
Asking these questions not only gives you an idea of how candidates will handle the specifics of the role. On a deeper level, you get insight into what they value or what they overlook. Here are some examples of situational interview questions you can ask:
Behavioral questions give you a good idea of what candidates have excelled and struggled with in the past. Situational questions allow them to craft their perfect response to your made up scenario but behavioral questions force them to share real experiences.
Many people who favor behavioral interview questions believe the way a candidate worked in the past signifies how they’ll work in the future. That makes sense but these questions also help you learn what personal problems a candidate is working on improving. For example, a common behavioral interview question is, “Tell me about a mistake you made in the past and what you learned from the experience.” Here are some more you can ask:
Situational and behavioral interview questions are most effective when they directly relate to the role you’re hiring for. Asking the sample interview questions in this guide can’t hurt but we recommend you use them as inspiration when forming your own questions. Know what the role requires so you can ask the candidate about real and hypothetical scenarios that help you learn if they’re the person for the job.
25 Great Job Interview Questions You Might Not Have Considered Asking
4 min read
How to Provide Candidates With a Positive Interview Experience
6 min read
How to Use Social Media to Recruit and Hire
5 min read
How to Write Great Job Descriptions
6 min read
Negotiating the Right Salary with Your New Hire
5 min read