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Interviewing? Make sure you include all five question types

Allen Associates, News & Blog

Employers often tell us that they find the interview process daunting. While they enjoy meeting prospective candidates, they admit to being unsure whether they are asking the right questions. We’ve come up with a simple questioning framework for first stage interviews which you may find useful, regardless of whether you will be speaking to your shortlisted candidates over the phone, meeting face-to-face or via video link.

Five Types of Interview Questions to include:

  1. Welcoming

Candidates may be feeling nervous so begin by asking them a few friendly questions to put them at ease before you start the interview. Keep things light and chatty – for example, asking about their journey if you are meeting in person, or the weather where they are if it’s a remote interview. Avoid anything personal. You may also want to revert to this type of conversational questioning at the end of the interview, before you say goodbye.

  1. Building rapport

Candidates who feel relaxed and can relate to their interviewer as a person, will be more forthcoming and more likely to reveal their true self. Invite candidates to talk about themselves. Ask them what motivates them; who inspires them; how they like to be managed; what they are looking for in their next role. Give candidates an opportunity to open up about themselves and their aspirations.

  1. Open-ended

Prepare questions that encourage candidates to give explanations rather than one word answers. Don’t be afraid to follow up on their answers by asking them to expand on something they’ve said, provide examples or describe a scenario to illustrate a particular point.

  1. Job-specific

Ask questions relating to the role and your industry sector. This is a great way to get candidates to bring their CV to life and talk about their skills and experiences.  You may also want to gauge how much they know about the sector they will be working in, for example by asking for their views on a particular trend or hot topic.

  1. Behavioural

Don’t forget to include questions that go beyond the candidates’ skills and experience to give you an insight into their attitude, approach and behaviours, for example in relation to teamwork or stressful situations. Find out how they like to be managed – or to manage others. Ask them to tell you about a negative scenario, for example when something went wrong and how they attempted to resolve it.

We’re here to help

These five question types should help you to create a first interview questionnaire that will elicit the breadth and depth of responses you are looking for. If you’d like any more advice on the interview process or help and support with any other aspect of recruitment, please contact us at and one of our consultants will be in touch.

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