Interview Questions

How to structure your questions and what to ask?

Some people do not know what to ask candidates in an interview, so they Google interview questions print off a list and away they go, without planning what they want to gain from each question or answer.

It is important to only ask a question to which you know the type of answer or information you are looking to get from it, do not get in the habit of asking questions for the sake of asking. We put together this blog together to help clients when it comes to interviewing potential new employees.

Where to start?

The best place to start is having the job spec and the candidates CV in front of you, ask yourself what made me want to interview this person?

The interview should be structured and made up of competency based and personality based questions.

If the position is more senior and technical, then you will probably want to have more competency based questions as well as having test scenarios. These questions need to serve a purpose, it the candidate needs to know about inheritance tax for example, perhaps think of a question that will draw out if they know enough.

If the position is lower lever and competency is not as important, then the questions will need to be more personality based so you can ascertain if the candidate is a good fit for the company and the team.

It is best to try and avoid closed questions – do not ask questions that only require a one word answer.

Make a list of how their CV matches the job spec you are interviewing for and why.

Ask specific questions about the candidates experience in comparison to the job spec, think about the job itself and the team they would be working in, what would the ideal person look like or say?

It’s not our job to decide what questions you should ask, but we are always available to assist with interview question ideas if we can.

Most importantly I mentioned it earlier, only ask a question if the answer you are looking for is relevant and you know what to expect, some people like to throw in curve ball type questions to see how the candidate reacts, but if you want to do this, remember what you are trying to achieve from asking it.

Other types of questions you may consider asking are:

Role play type, these will give you the chance to role play out a regular scenario in the job and see how the candidate reacts.

Test type, these will give you the chance to test the candidates knowledge specifically, these can be paper based tests or verbal.

Psychometric type, (often purchased) these will give you an idea of the type of person you are looking to recruit, often involves a paper based multiple choice questionnaire that will give you an understanding of the individual, such as if they are social, relaxed, independent, task orientated, pressure orientated, restless, reliable, dependable, ambitious etc. These can be good to back up your impressions of candidates, but can also be quite confusing to read and understand.


Asking the right questions specific to what you are recruiting for is key to hiring the right people. Interviews are a 2 way process, so expect the candidate to ask you some questions. It’s very hard getting to know a candidate. 80% of employers said after 6 months of their new hire starting they were surprised by how different they came across in there interview.

Interviews have very much become an acting exercise, where the best “actors” will end up getting the job offer, they may not be the best candidate, but you will think they are.

Asking good questions should help you make sure the candidate you are interviewing is not only a good actor, but be competent in the position you are recruiting for.

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