What Are Interview Questionnaires? Definition and Tips for Answering Them
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated October 14, 2022
Published June 21, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
In order to prepare for an interview, it is important that you understand the unique elements employers use to assess your qualifications for the job. Review common elements of interview questionnaires and why they are integral so that you can go into your interview feeling confident and undeterred. In this article, we outline the importance of interview questionnaires, the hiring process, popular questions found on a questionnaire and provide some tips for effectively completing a questionnaire.
What are interview questionnaires?
Companies use interview questionnaires to determine a candidate's interest and qualifications for a position within their organization. Interview questionnaires have a list of pre-prepared questions candidates need to complete before an interview. Interview questionnaires are used to determine if a candidate should be invited for an on-site interview. Some employers may also use questionnaires to determine or guide the face-to-face interview.
Common questions on an interview questionnaire
While the company, industry, team, and work style of the hiring manager will cause variations within the interview process, there is some common ground that you can expect from your questions. Below is a list of the most popular questions that are usually included in interview questionnaires. There are also sample answers included to guide you:
Questions that ask about your background
Here are some background-related questions you might encounter on an interview questionnaire along with a few sample answers:
Would you be willing to commute or move from your city for this position?
Questions about your current residence are included on interview questionnaires to help the employer understand how and if your current home affects your ability to be employed by the company. Make sure your response is truthful while also showcasing your willingness to work there.
Example: "Right now I live in Hamilton, so it's about an hour and a half outside of Toronto. However, if I were to be offered this position, I would have no trouble making the commute or moving closer to the city."
What college or university did you go to and what degree did you receive?
Employers include questions about your educational background to understand how it can translate and relate to the position you are applying to. Your response should include the name of the college or university you attended, general location, years attended and degree you earned.
Example: "I graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa in 2018. In 2021, I also completed a graduate certificate in Social Media Marketing from George Brown College. I am currently getting another post-graduate certificate from the University of Toronto in Digital Marketing Management."
Questions that ask about your skills
Your skill set is the most important thing you can bring to the job, so be ready to discuss it in detail. Here are possible questions that employers might ask you about your skills and qualifications on a job interview questionnaire along with sample answers:
Do you have any technical skills that you could apply to this position?
This question is included in an interview questionnaire so that the employer can learn about how you communicate, solve problems and complete tasks. Your response should describe your written, verbal and interpersonal communication styles. Your answer should also list the tactics you use to communicate effectively in the workplace.
Example: "I have excellent written and verbal communication skills. In my previous positions as a social media manager, I wrote all the content that was published on our channels. I was also responsible for presenting all of our analytic decks to the senior leadership group. One company I worked at held regular lunch-and-learn sessions where I would present and teach about digital marketing basics or social media.
During my time as a social media manager, I have also become well-versed in Adobe suite, Canva and photography. I taught myself these programs and skills to ensure I was creating eye-catching content for our company's followers on social media."
Can you describe your greatest strengths and give examples of how you use them?
This question gives an employer insight into your strengths and gauges how much you understand the position you are applying for. Your response should incorporate strengths that are like candidate preferences set in the job description.
Example: "I would say my greatest strengths are time management, ability to work under pressure and attention to detail. I build out the social media calendars I create for the company a month in advance so that I'm able to move things around and handle last-minute requests. I also look over the posts I'm publishing two or three times to make sure there are no errors."
Questions about your work experience
Here are some common work-related questions you might have to answer on a job interview questionnaire and sample answers to help you craft your own response:
Is there a particular reason you are leaving your current job?
An employer asks this question to understand your reasoning for looking for another job opportunity. Focus on your readiness to take on a new opportunity for skill development, career advancement or another reason related to the role. If you're leaving your previous position for a negative reason, consider discussing the positive elements of that role, such as the skills you developed there that can now help you in this new role.
Example: "I love where I work and my goals very much align with the company I currently work for, but I'm looking for more autonomy and responsibility in my next role. I think this position you are hiring for would be a great fit for what I'm seeking."
Is there a time that you had to overcome a problem at work? How did you handle it?
An employer asks this question to gauge your ability to address and resolve conflict in the workplace. Your answer should provide an example from a previous job and emphasize the communication, conflict resolution and organizational skills you used to manage the situation.
Example: "Because the company I currently work for is so large, we have a fairly big following on social media. Unfortunately, sometimes I have to deal with negative comments from followers. One time, I had a follower who was complaining about us on social, and it was starting to get the attention of the news. I did my best to take the conversation offline and talk to them privately. I then worked with company executives and the public relations team to get the specific follower what they were looking for in a timely manner."
Questions about your availability
Here are some general questions you might have to answer on a questionnaire regarding your current schedule, your interest in the role or company and your job search process with a few sample responses:
If we hire you, how soon can you start?
An employer uses this question to see what your availability is like. Be open and honest when answering this question if you have a notice period for your current employer or any upcoming events you cannot miss. Your answer should name a reasonable start date. You do not have to state your reasoning, but you should acknowledge your willingness to adjust your start date to fit the company's needs.
Example: "I think the earliest start date for me would be July 14th. I want to make sure I give my current employer plenty of notice for them to backfill my role."
What are your salary expectations?
An employer asks this question to understand your salary expectations and how they compare to the salary expectations that the company has allotted for the position. When the questionnaire requires you to input a specific number, do your best to research the company and find any gauge of salaries posted online. If you can't find anything, research the position you are applying to and the city the job will be located in for an idea of salary averages.
Example: "I am flexible with salaries as I'm looking first and foremost for the right fit."
Tips for completing an interview questionnaire
Here are some essential tips to consider if a hiring manager sends you an interview questionnaire ahead of your scheduled company interview:
Give yourself plenty of time: If you receive the questionnaire in advance, make sure to look it over before completing it. Give yourself time but make sure it's completed by the due date. Taking your time and reading through the questionnaire helps give you time to write well-crafted and thought-out responses.
Read directions carefully: Sometimes questionnaires will have specific instructions that you need to follow. These instructions could be the number of words or sentences. Make sure you are reading and following instructions carefully.
Write concise and complete responses: Any responses should be brief and answer the questions asked. Make sure that any answers you give match what you put on your resume.
Proofread answers: It is important that your answers are free of errors. Proofreading your answers showcases your attention to detail and writing capabilities.
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