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The Best Interview Questions to Ask

Jill Wells
For Clients

According to research, a candidate only has 7 seconds to make a good first impression. 71% of employers won’t hire a person if their personal grooming is not to a high enough standard, and 39% of rejections are due to a lack of confidence.

Preparing for your interview is essential! 47% of candidates fail because they didn’t know enough about the company. Having the ability to ask the right questions is just as important as being able to answer them.

So, what are some relevant interview questions to ask a potential employee?

When you’re applying for a job, do you know an impactful question to ask in an interview? And what are some questions you should avoid?

Keep reading to discover the answers to these questions and more!

Questions to Ask if You Are Conducting the Interview

When you’re learning how to interview someone effectively, you want to allow the candidate an opportunity to shine. Every question should be open to avoid yes/no answers. And you should give the candidate enough time to think and respond.

Here are 4 of the best interview questions to ask, along with tips for responding to them.

1. What Do You Know About Our Company?

This might seem like a no brainer; however, this question allows the candidate to demonstrate the level of research they completed before attending the interview. This can indicate how committed and enthusiastic they are about the potential role. Answers should include the following where applicable:

  • The company motto
  • The company values
  • The aim of the company
  • Examples of the company’s successes

Answering this question properly can benefit the interviewer and the candidate!

2. Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?

One of the best interview questions to ask potential employees is why they are wishing to make the shift from one job to another. This question highlights the drives of the individual while allowing you to ascertain if they hold any unrealistic expectations around the new role.

Some answers might include:

  • Lack of career development opportunities
  • Not in line with the candidate’s core values
  • Continual change of management
  • Geographical accessibility

Look for constructive answers rather than those that simply badmouth the previous or current company. You’ll be able to compare how the candidate’s answers compare to their references.

3. Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

When you’re looking for good interview questions to ask, this one has two functions. One, it allows the candidate to demonstrate why a role within your company would benefit their 5-year plan. And two, it allows them to demonstrate they’re making long-term plans.

Many employees will drift from one job to the next with no real direction. Some good answers to this question might include:

  • The goal within 5 years
  • How the 5-year goal sets up more long-term goals
  • Skills that need to be developed
  • Experience that needs to be gained
  • How this new role fits into this plan

This question also allows the candidate to demonstrate a desire to learn as they develop and grow within your company.

4. What Are Some of Your Weaknesses?

One of the best interview questions to ask candidates is around their weaknesses. Nobody is perfect, and this question allows the candidate to demonstrate self-awareness. Do they notice their flaws, and if so, do they know how to work on them?

Answers should include:

  • Genuine traits that are weaknesses
  • An indication of how these weaknesses impact work
  • Strategies for improving upon these weaknesses
  • Ways the new role will help with this process

Answers such as “Honesty” or “I work too hard” can indicate a lack of introspection. Nobody wants an employee who can’t notice their own mistakes or failures.

Questions to Ask if You Are the Candidate

The final part of an interview usually involves the question, “Do you have any questions for me?” On the surface, this may seem solely like an opportunity to learn more about the role or the company. After all, you need to determine whether the role is the right step for you.  

However, this question also allows you to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm for this specific role within the company.

Some of the best questions to ask in an interview include:

  • “Do you promote internally?”
  • “Would I be eligible to receive additional training within this role?”
  • “What potential role do you feel would be the next step for me within your company?”
  • “How would you describe the workplace culture within this company?”
  • “What motivates staff to stay with this company?”
  • “What are the next steps in the hiring process?”
  • “When can I expect to hear back regarding the outcome of this interview?”

Choose a couple of these questions and ask them at the end of the interview. They highlight to the interviewer that you’re taking the process seriously and have a strong desire to work with their company.

Illegal Interview Questions

Finally, it’s important to understand that there are some questions that neither the interviewer nor the candidate should ask. These questions can be illegal, but at the very least, they are inappropriate, can create uncomfortable situations, and won’t benefit either party.

Every question should relate to either the role, the company, or the candidate’s professional experience. If the answer to a question won’t highlight the suitability of a candidate for the role, it shouldn’t be asked.

Anything that seems too personal is unacceptable.

Some examples of interview questions that should NEVER be asked include:

  • “Do you have any plans to get pregnant soon?”
  • “Which political party do you support?”
  • “What is your sexuality?”
  • “What are your religious beliefs?”

If you feel uncomfortable with any questions you’ve been asked, you can ask the interviewer if they could explain how the question relates to the role. They may have asked a genuine question in a poorly worded manner, or they may backtrack to more legitimate questions.

Need More Interview Questions to Ask?

When it comes to the right interview questions to ask, you strive to see each question as an opportunity for the candidate to shine! If you’re the candidate, you must prepare some questions in advance to ask at the end of the interview which demonstrates your initiative and interest.

Need help with the recruitment process? Contact WellsGray today! We assist with the selection of candidates by carrying out pre-interview assessments.

We can save companies time and money by better understanding whether a potential candidate would be a good fit for the organisation.

Speak with our Office Support Recruitment Experts