Interview Questions to Ask an Employee (With Example Answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated December 1, 2022
Published November 5, 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.
As an interviewer, you can use interview questions to help you evaluate a candidate's competence. The success of an interview may depend on which questions you ask and how you interpret their responses. For interviewers and hiring managers, understanding interview questions to ask employees can help you determine the most appropriate candidate for a role. In this article, we explore interview questions to ask an employee with examples and outline tips to help you better interview candidates.
Interview questions to ask an employee
Here are some interview questions to ask employees with example answers to help you evaluate who would be the best fit for the job:
Why do you want this job?
As a hiring manager, this question can help you gain insight into the candidate's motivation. You can determine if they fit the corporate culture and align with its values. You can note any specific qualities about the company that interests them and pay attention to how confidently they articulate their answer.
Example: "As an entry-level marketing associate, I'm looking for an organization that can help me grow. After speaking to a friend who worked here, I learned about your comprehensive buddy system to help recruits settle into work. I also found out that your company organizes periodic training to ensure its employees remain the best in the industry. I believe working in an organization that takes an interest in the development of its staff is what I need at this stage of my professional development."
What makes you unique?
It may be hard to pick between two or more candidates who seem equally qualified. Asking this question lets the candidates tell you what makes them best for the role. You can expect to hear more details about the candidate's special skills or qualifications. It's important to note any specific examples they give about using their special qualifications. You can also pay attention to the candidate's confidence level, professionalism, and ability to make objective decisions.
Example answer: "I believe what makes me unique is my work rate. As an administrative assistant, I can type at up to 60 words per minute. My previous employer also commended me for my punctuality, as I was always the first to arrive at the office. I can perform long hours of research and compile detailed reports on my findings. If the company goes through an active phase and needs staff to take on more responsibilities, you can rely on me to be up to the task."
Read more: Interview Question: "What Makes You Unique?"
Why are you leaving your current job?
It's important that hiring managers evaluate candidates thoroughly before offering them employment. You can ask about a candidate's reasons for leaving their current job to help evaluate their reliability and teamwork skills. This question can help you determine what the candidate expects from the company. For example, someone who left their last job due to a lack of flexibility may want more flexible work options. Asking this question can also help you assess the candidate's values.
Example answer: "My last job was an experience I found very beneficial. My colleagues were like another family, and the company's management ensured we had all the support and resources we needed. Unfortunately, I felt I'd attained a stage in my career where I needed to challenge myself with more complex tasks. After obtaining my PMP certification, I knew I needed a business with access to bigger projects and a more diverse clientele. I believe I can satisfy those needs by working with your prestigious company."
What are your greatest strengths?
A hiring manager's job is to hire the most qualified candidate for the role. To help you make this decision, you can ask this question that encourages candidates to highlight their most impressive qualifications. It can help you better understand the interviewee's skill set and assess their understanding of the role's requirements. You may also pay attention to specific attributes or qualifications the candidate mentions, noting any impressive examples.
Example answer: "I believe my greatest strengths are leadership skills, strategic thinking, and interpersonal skills. In my last role as branch manager, I implemented a plan that increased our profits by 80% within a year. My performance was so impressive that the owner offered me the role of manager, which I declined because the company didn't align with my career goals. I also used my interpersonal and leadership skills to motivate my employees to dedicate themselves to the plan. As a result, under my leadership, employee turnover was at an all-time low of 2%."
What are your greatest weaknesses?
Your duty as the hiring manager is to learn everything you can about a candidate's professional competence before hiring them. If there are any issues that may affect their performance, it's important for the candidate to correct them. This question can help you assess a candidate's self-awareness.
Example: "I believe my major weakness is a need for perfection. What makes it problematic is that it can affect my ability to make quick decisions because I'm always considering a potentially better option. It also makes me scared to put myself out there for fear of scrutiny or rejection. Fortunately, I'm learning to allow myself to make mistakes and to trust my competence more."
Common interview questions
Other common interview questions include:
What motivates you?
Where do you see your career in ten years?
How did you overcome a challenge you encountered at work?
Have you ever had a serious disagreement with your employer? How did you handle it?
What are your expectations regarding your salary?
What was your favourite thing about your last job?
How do you respond to stressful situations?
What's your greatest accomplishment?
Can you discuss a situation in which you used your leadership skills?
What's the most difficult task you've ever faced at work?
Do you have any questions?
Tips for interviewers
Here are some tips that can help you effectively interview candidates:
Understand the role you want to fill
It's crucial for interviewers to understand what the role may demand so they can choose the ideal candidate. You can review the job description to remind yourself of some of the major qualifications for the role. Speaking to the supervisor or department head may also offer more practical insight into the role. You can also request for the supervisor or department head to be present to support the interview. Once you determine the qualifications you're looking for, you can create a checklist for your interview.
Related: How to Interview Someone
Prepare a list of questions
Preparing questions beforehand can allow you to hold a more organized interview. It can give you more time to think about how to word your questions, allowing you to focus on listening to the candidate's responses. When preparing interview questions, ensure they cover different aspects of the candidate's competence and qualifications. For example, you can ask questions about their technical skills, soft skills, and typical workplace behaviour to give you a comprehensive view of the candidate's qualifications. You can also use open-ended questions to test a candidate's creativity and allow them to provide further details.
An interview can be an intimidating experience for interviewees, so it's typically part of your job as an interviewer to be friendly and help candidates feel comfortable in their interview. You can help accomplish this by behaving cordially and respectfully toward the interviewee. For example, you can greet them with a smile and offer them a seat when they walk into the room. You may also start the interview with a casual conversation to ease the tension. For example, you can ask them about their school or a hobby on their resume.
It's also important to remain objective as an interviewer and avoid making assumptions about the candidate or their qualifications. Being impartial with your assessments of all candidates can help ensure you make the best decision for the company. One effective way to help ensure objectivity is to design a uniform checklist or scorecard for all candidates. You may also ask another colleague to help you choose the best candidate to help ensure fairness.
As an interviewer, you are responsible for accurately evaluating a candidate's qualifications. A good way to do that is by listening attentively. You can limit the number of questions you ask to give interviewees more time to respond. Listening carefully to each answer can help you identify and remember important details. You can show you're listening attentively by maintaining eye contact and nodding when you agree with their answers. Consider ending the interview by encouraging the interviewee to ask their own questions.
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