Answering interview questions is one of the most important aspects of preparing for an interview.: The most difficult interviews to conduct are the ones where you feel like you’re still in college and interviewing potential intern candidates. Or, if you’re a new manager hiring an assistant for the first time– how can you get over that fear of imposter syndrome? We all need help sometimes, even those of us who seem to be sitting on the other side.
[Related: 10 Intelligent Questions to Ask on an Informational Interview]
We consulted Quora for some tips from others who have been in our shoes before. If you need help next time figuring out what sorts of questions to ask prospective employees, here are seven snippets of advice:
- “What’s your preferred working style?” —Joel Hynoski, Senior Engineering Manager at Twitter
Getting to know a bit about a job candidate’s personality can tell you whether they will be a good fit for your company. For example, do they prefer working independently with music playing or do they work better in a collaborative environment? Their answer will give you some real insight into the culture of your company and how well the candidate would fit in.
[Related: The 8 Most Impressive Questions You Can Ask in a Job Interview]
- “How would your last boss describe you?” —Daria Beknazariants
This is the perfect question to test a candidate’s credibility. And lucky for you, their former boss can easily verify if they’re telling the truth. Just be warned, it’s not going to be easy. But hey, that’s what interviewing is all about!
- “List some of your accomplishments during your last job.” —Russ Conte
By asking the candidate what they valued most at their last job, you will get a sense of their strengths and what skills they can bring to the position.
- “How many golf balls fit in a 747?” —Quora User
In some professions, you have to ask a difficult question unexpectedly, just to observe how the person reacts. For instance, will they laugh? Will they try and calculate the answer in their head using a math equation? With these types of questions, it’s not about getting the right response but rather observing how they think and solve problems.
- “Tell me about a time in your life when you actually failed at something.” —James Hritz
If somebody has never failed, it likely means they stick to the basics and don’t challenge themselves. You want someone who can recognize when they made an error, understand what caused said mistake, and know how to amend it for future reference. A follow-up question could be along the lines of: “What did you do once you realized this failure?”
[Related: How To Avoid These 9 Major Job Interview Mistakes]
- “What motivates you to do your best on the job?” —Irfan Ahmad, Blogger, Social Media Marketer, Infographic Designer
By asking this question, you’ll gain insight into what drives a candidate’s work ethic. Is it extrinsic (e.g., awards or recognition) or intrinsic (satisfaction in the job itself)? If they are hired, you will be able to better manage them according to their motivating factors.#Bonus
- “What can you teach us?” —Divya Prabhakar, UPenn CS and Design
By hiring a candidate, you’re boosts the chance that they’ll bring new skills and perspectives to your workplace. Here’s an opportunity for them to disclose what those abilities may be.