Friday, October 21, 2005

Interview Questions

As an employer, did you ever face the difficulty of selecting the right candidate?
By preparing a relevant list of interview questions based on the job requirements, you can find out more specific and relevant information about your candidates to help you make your selection decision.
A list of interview questions below to help you in your interview preparation.




Behavioural
This section helps you to assess a candidate’s behavioural traits by posing questions that test the candidate’s ability to interact with superiors, peers and subordinates. You should be looking at traits such as:
· Critical thinking
· Adaptability
· Willingness to learn
· Self-confidence
· Time management
· Professionalism
· Risk taking
· Courteous

- What has given you the greatest sense of achievement at work? Why?
- How will you handle a situation that requires you to do a number of things at the same time?
- Can you describe some examples of work which frustrate you?
- Would you clearly voice your opinion if you disagreed with the views of your boss or supervisor?
- How do you handle conflict?
- How would you describe your leadership style?
- What is the greatest risk that you've taken?
- Describe the biggest challenge you've had in your last job and how did you handle it.
- Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.
- Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.
- Tell me about a difficult decision that you've made in the last year.
- Tell me about a time when you worked effectively under pressure.
- Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in getting a job done.
- Tell me about a team project when you had to take the lead or take charge of the project? What did you do?
- How did you do it? What was the result?


Career Goals
When you set out to employ a person, you would want to know whether the candidate’s goals are in sync with that of the company. These traits should be important:
· Dedication
· Ambition
· Involvement
· Loyalty
· Planning & Strategy
· Interest in self development

- What are the good and worst things you have heard about our company?
- What do you wish to gain from our company?
- Why do you think you would be good at this profession?
- What is your long-term employment or career objective?
- What career options do you have at the moment?
- What would you most like to accomplish if you had this job?
- If you could start your career again, what would you do differently?
- How would you describe the essence of success? How successful have you been so far?
- What kind of books & publications do you read?

Education
A candidate’s present level of education may or may not have a bearing on his/her employability or ability to perform in the assigned position. However, it is important to know how committed is the candidate in developing himself/herself further. You should also get an insight into how well-informed is the candidate on current affairs and development in his/her field of study.
· Capability
· Strengths
· Interest in self development

- Why did you choose your major?
- Describe your academic strengths and weaknesses.
- What classes did you like the most in school? Why?
- What activities did you engage in at school?
- What special aspects of your education or training have prepared you for this job?
- What have you read recently in your field?
- What have you done outside of formal education to improve yourself?


Skills & Abilities
There are various types of skills that you consider in a candidate. The popular ones are listed here, and your knowing how well the candidate possesses them will help you decide his/her fit in your organisation.
· Independence
· Creativity
· Organisational skills
· Decision making and problem solving skills
· Leadership and interpersonal skills
· Oral presentation & written communication skills

- What are your major strengths and weaknesses?
- In which area do you need to make the improvement in?
- What steps have you taken to improve your job skills?
- What is your biggest accomplishment?
- What skills and abilities do you possess that will help make you successful in today's job market?
- What can you contribute to our organisation?
- What steps can be taken to insure quality in any operation?
- What steps do you take when analysing complex problems?
- To perform your duties more efficiently and reduce interruptions, what steps should be taken when given a new assignment?
- Please tell me about your communication skills (or, problem solving skills, leadership style).
- Have you made any individual presentations recently?
- Describe a specific situation that illustrates how you set objectives to reach a goal.
- What approach do you take in getting your people to accept your ideas or department goals?
- How do you deal with difficult people?
- What does "customer service" mean to you?
- How can you keep your existing customers and win back the ones you've lost?

Management/Supervisory
Questions such as these will help you determine whether a candidate possesses the supervisory ability to lead his/her colleagues in achieving a given task. You will want to gauge whether the candidate has the ambition to advance to a higher position within the organisation too. These traits will come into play:
· Leadership
· Stability & maturity
· Decisiveness
· Planning & strategy
· Flexibility
· Work standards
· Confidence

- Would you consider yourself a born leader?
- Do you consider yourself to be thoughtful, analytical or do you usually make up your mind fast?
- What was the most significant change made in your company in the last six months which directly affected you?
- Would you rather write a report or give a verbal report? Why?
- What approach do you take in getting your people to accept your ideas or department goals?
- How can you involve staff in changing and implementing the revised policy and procedure?
- What steps can be taken to insure quality in any operation and to increase employee productivity?
- How can a supervisor establish effective communications with staff?
- What can a supervisor do to enhance an employee’s job and the employee’s motivation?
- Have you hired staff? What qualities did you look for?
- What factors or characteristics are most important to you when judging the performance of your subordinate?
- How can a supervisor establish effective communications with staff?
- What can a supervisor do to enhance an employee’s job and the employee’s motivation?
- What type of problem did you encounter with your staff and how did you handle it?
- How do you deal with an unhappy or frustrated employee?
- What are the guidelines to follow in constructively criticising an employee?
- What are the steps involved in disciplining an employee?
- Have you ever terminated or suspended an employee?
- What will you do if an employee is not performing the assigned tasks correctly?
- What will you do if an employee continues to make careless mistakes?
- What will you do if an employee consistently turns in incomplete assignments?
- What will you do if an employee is continually on the telephone for personal telephone calls?
- What will you do to insure that the service levels are not affected during holiday seasons?

Motivation
Motivation is a powerful force that accomplishes task. Has the candidate the hunger for the job? You will want a person who is motivated beyond his/her normal call. Traits such as these will be useful:
· Finding a fit between the individual and the job
· Initiative
· Tolerance for stress
· Achievement of personal satisfaction
· Ability to learn
· Range of interests

- What motivates you?
- What is your career goal?
- How do you motivate yourself to complete unpleasant assignments?
- What can a supervisor do to enhance an employee’s job and the employee’s motivation?
- Describe a time when you motivated an unmotivated person to do something you wanted them to do.
- Can you give some examples of job experience that you felt were satisfying?
- How do you keep up with what's going on in your company, your industry and your profession??

Salary & Benefits
Probing questions such as this will reveal how a candidate expects to be compensated for investing his/her time and future in your company.
· Expectations
- What kind of salary do you think you are worth?
- When comparing one company offer to another, what factors will be important to you besides salary?
- If you were offered this job, what factors will dictate whether you accept it or not?
- When would you expect your next promotion?
- What do you think it takes to be successful in an organisation like this?
- What challenges do you think you'll face in this job?

Self Assessment
Critical self assessment is difficult. Questions such as these will help you reveal more about the candidate and how the candidate works to solve problems within and without.
· Range of interests
· Motivation
· Decisiveness
· Team style
· Intelligence
· Stress tolerance
· Learning style
· Work standards
· Flexibility

- What do you like to do best and least?
- How would you describe yourself?
- Do you feel pressure in your job?
- How do you handle stress?
- What kind of things do you feel most confident in doing?
- What are your standards of success in your job? How successful have you been so far?
- What was the most significant change made in your company in the last six months which directly affected you?
- Give me an example of how you have effectively solved an unexpected problem in a previous job.
- How did you handle situation when mistake was made and what was the resolution?
- What did your supervisor suggest that you needed improvement in your last review? And what have you done about it?
- How do you keep up with what's going on in your company, your industry and your profession?

Team Work
No man is an island. You will need to work with people around you. What better way is there to gauge whether a candidate is a team worker or not than to ask how he/she deals with team work.
· Delegation
· Confidence
· Integrity
· Problem solving
· Leadership
· Motivation
· Interpersonal skills

- What things make a good team member?
- Do you work better by yourself or as part of a team?
- How do you maintain an effective working relationship with your coworkers?
- What actions can a supervisor take to establish teamwork in the organization?
- Describe a situation in which your work was criticized and how did you respond to the criticism.
- What would you do if one of your team members was affecting the performance of the team and would you work overtime to complete a team project?
- How do you handle disagreement with coworker?


Work History & Experience
Don’t get caught out by unknown skeletons in a candidate’s cupboard. Knowing his/her work history and experience can reveal the candidate’s habits, bad and good, and enable you to decide whether he/she has the ability to fit into your organisation.
· Knowledgeable
· Accomplishments
· Responsibilities
· Job performance
· Decision-making

- Why do you want to change jobs?
- How are you qualified for this job?
- What makes you more qualified than the other candidates?
- What type of decisions do you make in your current position?
- What were your greatest accomplishments on your last job?
- What is the most difficult assignment you have had?
- What are some things you particularly liked about your last job?
- What are the areas that you need improvement on?
- What steps have you taken to improve your job skills?
- Describe a challenging work issue you had to face, and how you dealt with it?
- What kind of people do you find it most difficult to work with? Why?

Reference Check
QuestionsReference checks enable supervisors to verify the truthfulness of the information provided on a Resume or during a job interview and to collect first-hand information about the past performance of candidates.
- How long and well have you known the candidate?
- How would you describe him/her as a person?
- Why did the individual leave your company?
- Why might the candidate be considering a career move now?
- How would you describe the candidate's overall performance?
- What are the candidate’s major strength and weakness?
- Does the candidate communicate well orally and in writing?
- Did the candidate get along well with management, subordinates and peers?
- What is your assessment for the candidate’s suitability for the position?
- If given the opportunity, would you rehire the candidate again? Why and why not?
- Are there any additional comments you can share with me?

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