Interviewing

36 Questions Hiring Managers Can Ask During a Candidate Interview (With Sample Answers)

February 22, 2021

When filling their job openings, hiring managers need to conduct a series of interviews to find the most qualified candidate for the role. Throughout an interview, they ask candidates a series of questions that assess each candidate's experience and qualifications for the role. Prior to an interview, the hiring manager needs to think of smart interview questions that help them learn how a candidate may function in their role. In this article, we share 36 interview questions hiring managers can ask during a candidate interview and provide quality sample answers to a few of them.

General questions

Asking these general questions can help a hiring manager learn more about a candidate's personality and interest in the job opening:

  • Tell me a little bit about yourself.
  • What are your interests outside of work?
  • How did you get into this field?
  • How do you define success in this role?
  • What skills does someone in this role need?
  • Where do you see yourself five years from now?
  • What are your top three strengths?
  • What are your top three weaknesses?
  • Why are you looking for a new role?
  • Are you open to growing in this role?
  • Can you describe your working style?
  • What do you hope to achieve in this position?

Related: Interview Question: "Tell Me About Yourself" (Tips and Example Answers)

Questions about experience and background

These questions help a hiring manager gain a better understanding of a candidate's relevant experience and background:

  • What extracurricular activities did you participate in throughout your education?
  • Tell me about a time you overcame a challenging situation.
  • What is your greatest achievement?
  • How did you offer value in your previous role?
  • Tell me about a time you needed to use your leadership skills.
  • If you could change anything about your past, what would it be?
  • What has been your favorite type of work environment so far?
  • What experiences have helped you prepare for this role?
  • Give me an example of a time you had to use an unconventional solution.
  • Tell me about a time you had to make a difficult decision.

Related: Interview Question: "What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment?"

In-depth questions

Hiring managers can ask these in-depth questions to learn how a candidate would act in their role and what value they would bring to the company:

  • What would you do in the first week, month and year in this role?
  • What techniques do you use to stay motivated?
  • What can you offer us that other candidates can't?
  • How would you manage many deadlines at once?
  • How would you work with a difficult client?
  • What would you do if you didn't agree with a client's feedback?
  • What would you do if you didn't agree with your manager's feedback?
  • What resources would you use if you encountered something you didn't know?
  • How would you provide assistance to junior colleagues?
  • How would you help meet the company's goals and objectives?

Related: How to Deal With Difficult Customers: Steps You Can Take

Interview questions with sample answers

Use these interview questions with sample answers to learn what a quality candidate response looks like:

  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • What makes you a qualified candidate for this role?
  • What strategies do you use to diffuse tense situations?
  • How would you bring value to our team?

Why are you interested in this position?

A hiring manager may ask this question to learn if a candidate is truly passionate about the position. This question can help them tell whether a candidate researched the company and spent time thinking about the role. A quality answer may include specific details about the company, what qualifications a candidate has for this role and personal interests this job could fulfill for the candidate.

Example: "I am interested in this position because I have always wanted to work for a company that gives back to its community. Upon researching your company, I quickly discovered how much you do for your local food pantry. In college, I actually became a head volunteer for my town's food pantry, so I have a lot of experience working in this kind of setting. I could add value to this volunteering initiative by conducting community outreach and helping coordinate food drives during holiday seasons."

What makes you a qualified candidate for this role?

Candidates who feel confident in their abilities and qualifications tend to stand out during interviews. Hiring managers may ask this question to learn why a candidate thinks they are the right person for the job. Solid responses to this question may include specific details and examples of a candidate's previous professional experience and background.

Example: "I am qualified for this position as the art director because of my extensive background in art and design. After graduating with two bachelor's degrees in fine arts and marketing, I entered this profession as a graphic designer. During my three-year career as a graphic designer, I refined my design skills and got promoted to a junior art director. While working in that role for two years, I learned how to work directly with clients to develop their artistic vision. With both of these experiences, I am ready to take on more responsibilities and lead a team of creatives."

What strategies do you use to diffuse tense situations?

Certain work environments can lead to intense situations, which is why it's useful for candidates to have conflict-resolution skills. Hiring managers can ask this question to learn if candidates have the ability to cooperate and compromise with colleagues. Candidates can answer this question by providing an example of a time they successfully found a resolution to a tense scenario and what they learned from it.

Example: "One time when I was working as a lifeguard at a country club, I noticed that one of my coworkers was not keeping her eyes on her station. When I mentioned this to her, she quickly became defensive. Instead of feeding into this behavior, I gave her a few tips on how to keep focus during a long shift. By the end of the conversation, she was thankful for the help and admitted she was tired.

This instance taught me that whenever things become tense, it's better to find a solution than to add to the problem. You can resolve most situations by taking a moment to see the other person's point of view and have a level-headed conversation with them. Most times after hearing their perspective, you learn that many challenging situations stem from an honest mistake or misunderstanding."

How would you bring value to our team?

This question gives candidates the chance to explain specific actions they will take in their role. Hiring managers ask this question to determine if a candidate plans to make positive changes for the company. A quality answer includes examples of what the candidate plans to do in their role. Candidates can share short-term and long-term goals.

Example: "Although this company already has an established social media presence, as the social media manager, my first goal would be making the branding more cohesive. I would make sure both the visuals and copy on all platforms fit the brand's style guide. Later on, I would work toward creating more interactive media for our accounts. I want to experiment with live video, real-time customer support chat features and a brand ambassador program."

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