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Do you know how to choose the types of job interview questions?


In the candidate's experience, the interview is one of the most critical moments - and also the champion of complaints. According to the Linkedin Talent Trends report, 83% of applicants say that a negative experience in the first contact with the company can lead to the vacancy. This is because many interviewers make a mistake by extending the process too much, using too many cliche, and throwing ineffective questions.


In order not to lose talent, it is essential to create a good script of questions for the job interview and to know how to conduct the conversation so that it does not seem like an interrogation. Besides, there are appropriate questions for each type of professional and also for the modalities of online and face-to-face interviews. You can also count on technology help to streamline the interview phase and improve candidate assessment.


There are several ways to ask better and more efficient questions, as you will learn from these lessons:


  • Top Types of Job Interview Questions

  • How to choose the right questions for each interview

  • Sample Online Interview Questions

  • Common examples of in-person interview questions

  • Technological solutions to speed up hiring.



Top Types of Job Interview Questions


There are several types of questions that can be asked during a job interview, according to the recruiter's intentions. According to LinkedIn's Global Recruiting Trends 2018 report, traditional in-person interviewing styles still work and your questions are critical to the quality of hires.


In the study, behavioral interviews are 89% efficient, while structured interviews reach 88% approval. Both types can be combined with questions that evaluate candidates' different dimensions, from their practical experiences to behavioral and opinion trends.


Overall, we can classify these questions into 8 categories.


Credential Questions


Questions about credentials are among the most basic types that usually initiate interviews. At this point, the interviewer may ask about the candidate's background, certifications, and titles. While these aspects are becoming less decisive, they are still critical in revealing the candidate's track record and academic background.


Experiment Questions


Questions about experiences focus on candidates' experiences, covering previous workplaces, positions, activities, and general learning. The most classic question in this category is the famous "What were your responsibilities in this position?" However, this assessment is not just about the work environment, it is also important to see what the candidate brings from their classroom experiences, courses, workshops, events, and other training activities. Also, the questions may extend to exchange activities, career highlights, and other relevant experiences to analyze the background of the professional.


Opinion Questions


The opinion questions are those that seek to analyze the critical thinking of the candidate and his positions on the most diverse subjects, related to the profession and the debates of our time. Rather than asking what's your opinion on a particular topic directly, the recruiter may ask questions such as: What would you do in this situation? or what would your reaction be to measure the candidate's tendencies. Asking about upcoming events and issues in the media can also be an interesting resource for analyzing professional values and arguments.


Behavioral Questions


Behavioral questions are among recruiters' favorites because they provide a more objective picture of the candidate's attitudes in real situations. These are the questions that recall a moment of doubt, error or professional challenge and invite the candidate to describe how he reacted and how he felt. Tell me about a situation where you missed a deadline: how did you solve the problem?  Is an example of a behavioral question that can reveal a lot about the personality of the professional. In this case, the questions about difficult times as well as the questions that rescue candidates' successes are worthwhile.


Skills questions


Competency questions tend to be more objective and technical, as they assess candidates' skills at various levels. Starting from the classic KSA (Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes), the recruiter can delvelop deeper into the professional's qualifications through questions such as: Can you give me a practical example of your leadership skills? In terms of hard skills, questions can be directed to specific software, project or technology essential to the job. For software developers, for example, the questions would go down a path like "How familiar are you with a particular programming language?".


Challenging Questions


Challenging questions range from puzzles to math problems to solve immediately. The interviewer is not always waiting for an exact answer because the intention is to evaluate the candidate's logical thinking and ability to get results quickly. Thus, it goes from suggesting a mental calculation to asking for an estimate of how many baseball bats would be needed to make a complete spin on Earth.


Case Questions


Although questions about experiences and competencies already address candidates' accomplishments, questions about cases serve to deepen the conversation in previous projects. At this time, the recruiter can request details about the initial project objective, progress and results, especially for the cases the candidate presents as his or her most outstanding achievements. It is also worth asking about projects that did not have such good results, to evaluate possible weaknesses.


Nonsense Questions


Finally, the meaningless questions that candidates report as the number one nightmare in interviews. After all, who was never puzzled by questions like: What animal would you be?  When recruiters use this feature, they are testing the candidate's ability to devise creative and unusual answers that can be as absurd as the questions. That is, there is no right answer, just an exercise of imagination and abstraction of thought that can reveal interesting traces about the creative process of the professional. This is not the most appropriate question to ask in business and technology positions, but it may still be useful for careers in the arts and culture.



How to choose the types of interview questions


To choose the right types of interview questions, you need to consider some criteria.


Let's go to a simple and objective walkthrough.


1. Start by gathering the desired skills


When you open a vacancy, you determine which skills gaps need to be filled with new talent, and from there you create the ideal candidate profile. If these aspects are still not clear enough, ask yourself: What are the characteristics of the perfect candidate for this position? At this point, it is important to list both hard skills and soft skills to arrive at the optimal combination. Also, it is worth creating a persona for your candidate, that is, a fictional representation that outlines the personality, habits, history, preferences and other important details about the desired professional. 


For example, you might be looking for results-oriented Business Intelligence analysts who know how to work in teams, or project managers with excellent leadership skills and experience in agile methods. According to LinkedIn's The Learning Blog, the soft skills most sought after by companies in 2019 will be creativity, persuasion, and collaboration. On the hard skills side, the focus is on cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and analytical thinking. Once you have listed the skills you want, you can move on to the next step in framing questions.


2. Develop questions for each competency


With the desired skills list in hand, you can now create questions that can identify each of the required skills. Often a single question will serve to evaluate more than one competency, which makes the interview even more complete. 


For example, if one of the core competencies is artificial intelligence, you need technical questions that assess a candidate's knowledge of machine learning, neural networks, algorithms, and related topics. Now, if the focus is on communication, it is worth asking questions that demonstrate the candidate's emotional intelligence and reveal more personality traits and ways of dealing with people.


3. Evaluate candidate resumes and profiles


Once you have created as many questions as possible, you can now cross-check the information with the profile of selected interview candidates. At this time, it is important to customize the interview according to the background, experience, and skills of each professional, ordering and directing the questions according to their background.


For example, if you lack core competency in the candidate's information, you can focus on assessing that aspect and learning potential. On the other hand, if the candidate reinforces an experience that is very close to the desired profile, it is worth deepening the questions on this subject.


4. Prepare your script


Finally, after defining the question types and selecting the questions, you can now structure the interview scripts. It is very important to record the questions in writing and have a basis for conducting the meeting while always focusing on the issues. However, care must also be taken not to leave the mechanical interview too much, leaving room for open-ended questions and a natural course of conversation.



Online Job Interview Question Examples


Some types of job interview questions are best suited to the increasingly popular online processes. The LinkedIn report shows that video interviews are among the top innovation trends in recruitment and selection, which streamline the process and offer more reliable methods for analyzing soft skills. Since the idea of the online interview is to be shorter, especially in the early stages of the selection process, it is best to use the most important questions. This allows you to assess the suitability of the candidate within minutes for a successful screening.


Check out examples of such questions.


What motivates you to apply for this position?


For starters, you can evaluate the most exciting points for the candidate in the advertised position. This question already gives a general idea of the professional's interests, expectations, and impressions about the company and position offered.


What are the three most important things we should know about you?


To give you an overview of the candidate, this question is much better than "tell more about yourself" and generic questions like that. Spontaneously, the candidate will describe the three main forces that qualify him for the vacancy.


What would you do if (put in a challenging job situation here)?


Asking the candidate about a real job situation is the best way to gauge his ability to solve problems, think strategically, and deliver maximum performance. With just one question, you analyze the candidate's technical skills, behavioral skills, and attitudes. Besides, with a video interview, it is possible to analyze the candidate's body language and get a more accurate idea of his reactions to adverse situations.


Examples of In-Person Job Interview Question


Even with the advancement of digital interviews, face-to-face conversation is irreplaceable and should occur in the final stages of the process. Still, to improve the candidate's experience, it is best to shorten the interview with objective questions and leave the technical details for practical tests and other types of assessments.


Check out some essential questions to choose the ideal candidate.


Which project are you most proud of?


When asking this question, ask the candidate to describe in detail their performance on the project in question. The responsibility for describing the greatest career achievement should be sufficient to reveal the candidate's main strengths as well as the complexity of the work he has done.


How would you describe an ideal day at work?


This question is great for assessing how the candidate structures their work routines and prefers to manage their time, as well as revealing the level of suitability for the company culture. It is also possible to identify if the professional has a more communicative profile or if he has difficulty with integration in the workplace. Finally, it serves to imagine the type of environment that provides the most satisfaction and, consequently, the best performance for the candidate.


What competencies do you consider important to this position?


Although the skills required are already listed in the vacancy, this question leads the candidate to rethink the requirements according to their knowledge and experience of the position. As the practitioner cites skills, you can explore the level of proficiency and interest in the topics. If a competency is not the candidate's strength, it is worth asking about the willingness to learn to better adapt to the position.


How do you keep up-to-date in the area?


This question is crucial for technology and business professionals, as it reveals what steps the candidate has taken to stay current in a rapidly evolving area. The answer need not necessarily involve the most up-to-date courses or the latest trending workshops, as it often takes the habit of frequenting some forums and content platforms to stay tuned. The important thing here is to see if the candidate cares about recycling and seeks to continually improve his or her knowledge, as the applied learner that every company wants to have on their team.


Technology for the job interview


The types of job interview questions are evolving along with new HR technologies. In the Linkedin study, the main flaws in the classic face-to-face interviews were identified:


  • Difficulty in assessing skills

  • Failure to understand candidate weaknesses

  • The biased approach of recruiters

  • Processes too long

  • Difficulty choosing the best types of questions.


Fortunately, technological innovations have come to enhance all of these points, helping recruiters streamline their selection processes and get hiring right. The most obvious advance is the adoption of Skype and Hangout interviews, in addition to traditional telephone interviews. To further advance the process, it is possible to request candidates' video CVs, which show the profile more accurately even before the first contact. Another useful technology is virtual reality, which has been used by many companies to test candidates in 3D simulation environments, where professionals can meet online challenges to prove their skills. Also, online technical testing is the new promise to revolutionize skills assessment, especially hard skills.


On the Fischer & Partners platform, for example, business and technology professionals undergo rigorous testing and analysis, using artificial intelligence and machine learning to select the best. So you can save on questions and focus on what matters by dealing with candidates who have already proven their technical skills. The result is a more agile selection process, happier candidates and a much better chance of finding the dream talent for the job.