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Effective Interview Questions

For effective interview questions, maintain a laser-like focus on your job requirements. Questions should unearth useful information about candidates' relevant experience—and how they would use that experience to help you achieve your goals.

Develop effective questions

  • Start with the job description. Focus your questions on the essential job functions and required knowledge and skills listed.
  • Check the candidate’s resume for projects similar to work you need done. Note any questions you have for the candidate.
  • To draw out the candidate, prepare mostly open-ended questions (those that require more than a yes or no or simple factual answer).
  • Limit the number of questions you prepare. That will give you time to ask follow-up questions when you need more information.

Sample interview questions

Below are sample interview questions, along with a brief explanation of the purpose they serve. Note that all questions, except for the last, are open-ended.

Question: “I see that you reorganized the SharePoint system at company X. Tell me more about that experience, including challenges you faced and how you overcame them.”

Purpose: You want a creative problem-solver who can help you streamline project files on your intranet. By having them explain how they handled a similar project, you get a better sense of how well they would handle your project.

Question: “The person we hire will need strong writing skills. Tell me about some projects you’ve worked on that required writing skills and how you contributed.”

Purpose: This question should not only yield examples of projects that used writing, but also give a sense of how the candidate would put these skills to work on your projects, how much editing they require, etc.

Question: “We need a team player who can also assume a leadership role from time to time. Talk a bit about roles you’ve assumed. When do you think you’re at your best?”

Purpose: This question should yield information about a candidate’s confidence and initiative, comfort level in taking the lead on projects, and ideas on how they feel their strengths could best be put to use.

Question: “If we were to offer you the position, when would you be available to start?”

Purpose: A straightforward factual question that gives you needed information on the candidate’s availability. It can also help you gauge their level of interest.

For help with interviewing or other workforce issues, contact your local American Job Center to connect with a Business Services Representative.

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