Two Better Questions for Interviews

Gina Deveney
Posted by

As a human resources professional, you have a wide range of responsibilities, so you can’t spend hours interviewing every candidate that applies for a job. Because your time is limited, it’s critical that you learn how to ask the right interview questions. Certain interview questions are used by many different companies. While the questions are effective, there are typically two better interview questions for each common question that will help you determine whether or not the applicant has the right work ethic, skills, and personality for your company.

Most interview tips suggest that human resources professionals ask applicants what interests them about open positions. The answer to this question gives you insight into how a candidate feels about the position and your company in general. However, if you ask the applicant, “Where does this job fit into your career path?” instead, you still get a good understanding of how the applicant feels about the position, but you also know whether or not the applicant will be a good long-term employee. Alternatively, you could ask potential employees what they would say if they were trying to convince a friend to apply for a job or what motivated them to apply. In addition to telling you how the applicant feels about your company, these questions can show whether or not an applicant really loves working in the relevant field.

According to a recent article on, Marriot Hotels and Southwest Airlines have very little employee turnover because the companies take care of their employees emotional needs and give more consideration to an applicant's personality than to his or her technical skills during the hiring process. Many companies use questions such as, “Why did you get into this line of work?” to measure the fit between each candidate's values and the culture of the company. However, by asking two different questions, you can get a good idea of a candidate’s personality. To get an idea of what applicants are passionate about, ask, “Besides the paycheck, what keeps you coming to work every day?” Follow up that question with a fun question that catches applicants off guard, such as, “How do they get the cream filling inside the Twinkie?” Candidates’ reactions, along with whether or not they play along, say a lot about their personalities.

Keep in mind the way you ask interview questions is just as important as the questions you ask. You should always avoid using questions that can be answered with short responses. When you ask open-ended questions, the job applicant is forced to answer with more than a simple yes or no, which keeps the conversation going and gives you the opportunity to learn as much as possible.

Common interview questions that are suggested in most interview tips are successful. However, by using variations of these interview questions, it allows you to get to know the applicant on a more personal level and helps you create a relaxed atmosphere during the interview. So, the next time you’re conducting interviews, try different variations of common interview questions to see which questions yield the best results.


(Photo courtesy of


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch