A quick overview of application questions
Here are some common examples of questions on a job application for managerial candidates:
- How well do you know this industry?
- Provide an example of a time when you demonstrated leadership abilities.
- What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
- What are your IT/language capabilities?
- Do you have experience mentoring others?
- What are your hobbies and interests outside of the office?
How well do you know this industry?
Including a question in your job application that asks how well a potential hire knows your particular industry is essential for management positions. The applicant’s answer will help you determine their overall working knowledge and past experience in similar positions. This will provide insight on how they may troubleshoot potential issues as a manager.
Provide an example of a time when you demonstrated leadership abilities
Asking for examples of leadership abilities is a good application question for managerial candidates. This question and subsequent answers will help employers determine if the applicant’s methods of delegating responsibilities, handling conflicts and other leadership tasks are on par with company procedures and policies.
What are your IT/language capabilities?
In today’s world, most businesses rely on internet technology in one way or another, and various companies communicate with clients overseas. Asking an applicant to detail both their IT and language capabilities helps employers determine the best potential fits for managerial positions based on their skill sets.
Do you have experience mentoring others?
Inquiring about mentoring experience is a helpful application question when hiring managers. It can give an employer insight into how the candidate would oversee and provide guidance to team members as a manager.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of the office?
While asking about hobbies and interests on a job application isn’t necessary, it’s a casual way to learn more about potential candidates on a personal level. This question also gives employers ideas for tailoring team-building exercises and company outings to meet the interests of employees they end up hiring.
Five good job application questions to ask managerial candidates
Here are five good application questions examples to ask managerial candidates on both job applications and during the interview process:
- Why do you want to work for our company?
- What are your greatest achievements?
- What have you learned from your previous work experience?
- Give an example of a time you resolved team conflict.
- Why are you the best candidate for the job?
Why do you want to work for our company?
This is a great question on a job application because it helps you assess the candidate’s passion for both the job they’re applying for and their overall knowledge of what your company does and how it operates. Candidates should be able to prove that they are focused and excited about the company and the role they’re applying for.
What are your greatest achievements?
By asking candidates about their strengths or achievements directly in their application, you can effectively gauge their abilities and determine exactly what they can bring to your company as a manager. Look for candidates who are especially creative or who share innovative ideas. A new manager can bring a fresh perspective and have a positive impact on your company’s performance.
What have you learned from your previous work experience?
This question helps you assess the skills that candidates have acquired in previous positions they’ve held. You can then align their proven experiences with the qualifications required for the position and assess whether they’re capable of meeting the requirements for the role. As candidates describe their previous work experience, you’ll also have the chance to better understand their management style and determine whether it fits your organization’s needs.
Even if a candidate is less experienced, don’t immediately reject them. Test them to see if they understand the basic procedures and terms, and try to gauge how interested they are in growing and learning new things. If a managerial candidate has innovative ideas and is eager to learn and grow, they may be well-suited for the role.
Give an example of a time you resolved team conflict
When multiple people with unique personalities work together as part of a team, conflicts can occur. However, strong managers can use these experiences to improve communication and promote camaraderie within the team.
By asking the managerial candidate to provide a specific example of conflict resolution, you can assess the approach they took, what they learned from the experience and what they would do differently. From this, you can gauge how successfully they would manage teams within your company.
Why are you the best candidate for the job?
With this question, you can gauge why a candidate believes they would be the best candidate and what they can bring to the role. A strong candidate will back up statements with examples and tailor their responses to the requirements for the position.
You should also encourage them to talk about their long-term career goals. Determine whether their career goals align with the future plans of the company and whether they share the same values. If the position involves hiring new team members, a strong candidate should be familiar with recruiting and training processes.
How will this position fit in with your long-term career goals?
Inquiring about goals and career aspirations in a job application is a good way for employers to determine whether or not an applicant envisions a lasting future with the company. This question is especially important for businesses that tend to promote from within and those that require employees to commit to a specified amount of time before raises or certain benefits are offered.
FAQs about application questions
Here are some of the most common questions employers ask about job applications:
Why is it important to have candidates complete a job application?
Job applications give you consistent information about each person who’s interested in applying for a position. With a job application, you can perform a side-by-side comparison of all the applicants and decide which ones you want to bring into your office for an interview.
If you use an applicant tracking system (ATS), the application automates the process of collecting a candidate’s information, automatically filters for the top candidates and ensures consistency throughout the hiring process. This is especially important in large corporations where hundreds of applicants may apply for a single position.
What information should be included in a job application?
While the information required can vary per position and the specifics of your business, the following list details common questions and information often found on job applications:
- Contact information, including name, phone number and email address
- The role they’re applying for
- Previous positions, including titles, primary responsibilities and achievements, employers, location and dates of employment
- Salary history
- Names of previous managers
- Permission to contact the candidate’s current employer
- Reasons for leaving prior jobs
- Educational background, including the school they attended, degrees they’ve earned, dates of graduation, GPA and honors programs
- Extracurricular activities and hobbies
- Military experience
- Specific skills related to the job
- Volunteer experience
- Essays on topics related to the position
- How the candidate learned about the job
- Certifications and licenses
- Access to reliable transportation
- Driving record
- Authorization to work in the United States
- Times and dates of availability
- Start and end dates for availability if the position is temporary
- Social security number
- If the candidate has been convicted of a crime
- Whether the information in the application is accurate
What additional information should be included in an application package?
In addition to employment history and other information required to complete an application, you may want to also have candidates provide supplemental information. This can include references, writing samples, links to online portfolios, transcripts or copies of certifications. Applicants should be prepared to provide this supplemental information along with their applications.
What questions cannot be asked on a job application?
While certain questions that pertain to an applicant’s identity and background can be included in job applications, there are other identifying questions that are considered a violation of civil rights and cannot be asked. Some application questions examples that cannot be included in a job application are:
- Age: If an employer asks an adult applicant their date of birth, it can be considered age discrimination. However, employers can ask the applicant if they are over 18 if that’s a legal requirement for the job. They can also inquire about age when hiring minors to ensure they are of the minimum age required to work, per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
- Children: An employer is not allowed to ask an applicant whether they have children. In some cases, an employer may ask this question to gauge an applicant’s availability. It’s always best to inquire directly about an individual’s schedule, instead of hinting around and asking about children or spouses, as this can also be considered as discrimination.
Are online job applications better than paper applications?
Online applications offer a more streamlined process for both employers and potential candidates. In today’s digital world, many job seekers are actively looking for employment opportunities via online job boards and social media. Providing an online application option allows employers to receive multiple submissions and screen candidates in short periods of time.
For job seekers, online applications are a more convenient alternative to traveling to physical locations to obtain and fill out paper applications. In some instances, an employer may require potential hires to fill out a paper application once hired or during the interview process to ensure they have a hard copy on file.