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Top 2021 Employment Interview Questions

While it takes time and energy to locate candidates who match your company’s job openings to apply for a position, it also takes asking the right questions to determine which candidate is the best match. After reviewing resumes for matching qualifications such as skills, education, and experience, asking the right questions and knowing what skills are needed to be successful are the next steps in the hiring process.

Instead of starting with the very traditional approach, “tell me a little bit about yourself,” why not start with learning more about their motivation regarding the opportunity?

Here are the top interview questions for 2021 that can be used with just about any type of opening or level of experience.

Why did you apply for this position? This is an open-ended question that should allow the candidate to explain on several levels why they are interested in the company and/or the role and give the interviewer insight as to how much thought and research the candidate may have put into their job search.

What interested you in working for our company?

How the candidate answers this question will tell you a great deal about their ability to research the company and open the door to follow up with questions about your brand.

What did you learn that surprised you about our company?

This is not a yes or no question. It requires the candidate to offer more details. Whether they answer with a positive or negative surprise will tell you how this person reacts to the unexpected.

What motivated you to look for a new job?

This is another open-ended question that will provide insight into the candidate's past and/or present work experiences and relationships with employers, as well as their career aspirations and direction moving forward. You should be able to uncover clues about what is an acceptable job offer, especially if they are seeking an increase in pay, perks, benefits, a new work location, or a flexible schedule. These are all top of mind concerns for candidates and employers.

Tell me about the best manager you ever worked with, why were they the best?

How a candidate answers this question provides more information into past working relationships and requires the candidate to qualify their answer. This will also allow you to see and hear how the candidate communicates, and perhaps their work and management style. Conversely, you can also inquire about an experience in which the candidate may not have felt supported or motivated by their manager.

Can you describe any area(s) in which you have improved in the last year, and what area(s) you want to focus on in the coming year?

How the candidate answers this question will help you determine the candidate’s self-awareness, whether they are a self-starter, and if they are more focused on professional or personal development.

Give me three adjectives or qualities your last or current employer would use to describe you?

How this question is worded requires the candidate to be as honest as possible. There is a good chance that you will likely ask a former employer or a reference of theirs this very same question. While the candidate’s answer does not have to align perfectly with your company’s value system or culture, it should give you a good sense of their true nature.

Tell me about the most interesting projects you have worked on in your most recent position. What were the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

The answers to this question will provide you with the candidate’s skill level and ability to work with a team, lead, delegate, meet goals, and negotiate challenges. It will also add more insight into what the candidate determines to be interesting work.

What haven’t I asked that you want to tell me about?

This question often will glean the most valuable information about the candidate. Don’t forget to wrap the discovery questions with this one.

Do you have any questions for me?

The candidate should have questions they deem important to ask, either about the organization, the job, or the interview process and next steps. If the candidate does not ask questions, that is telling. Always be ready to complete the interview by providing the candidate with the time frame for the hiring process and/or when they should expect to hear about the results of the interview.

Following the interview, you should expect correspondence from the candidate thanking you for the interview. If this step is skipped by the prospective hire, you should determine whether they should still be considered to fill the opportunity.

Skipping important steps in the recruitment and hiring process should not become common practice.

Human Resource professionals now more than ever need tools to improve and enhance their recruiting and hiring efforts. Employing a recruitment software solution, such as LightWork® Recruit and Onboarding, can increase your success in the marketplace. It is a powerful and flexible applicant tracking and recruiting software with quick and easy set-up and implementation.

LightWork Recruit allows HR to post openings to job boards and social media and track applicants through the interview process. It works to improve your online reputation and streamline procedures. Once an applicant is selected for hire, LightWork’s module assists with the administration and compliance concerns of onboarding a new employee. It also covers tax credit processing. Attracting and hiring top-level talent has never been easier or more efficient than with LightWork Recruit and Onboarding. To learn more about the value of a centralized recruit system, click here.


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