Types of job interview questions

Interview questions have their genesis in the job analysis. The questions are based upon the specific job requirements and upon job behaviors that are essential for high performance. That is the reason each interview is different. The questions are designed to evaluate candidates on performing specific jobs, their challenges, their goals, and on handling complex situations. There are many types of questions, some common interview questions can be categorized as below:

‘About yourself’ interview questions

These questions are about the basic information of the candidates such as minimum required education, work experience, certifications, extra-curricular, additional education, etc. Although these are already available on the resume many a time the interviewer prefers to hear all these from the interviewee and asks ‘Tell me about yourself question.

‘Functional knowledge’ questions

These are directly related to the tasks to be performed. The interviewer asks these questions to assess the candidate on functional knowledge and may go deep into the subject to test if the candidate knows all functional aspects required for the job. The functional knowledge is also tested by written or other types of tests.

Situational interview questions

Situational questions are based on the assumption that behaviors are backed by attitudes and intentions. The interviewer asks the candidate about hypothetical situations that may arise in the real-life job situation, the candidate’s response is evaluated based upon the assumption that the candidate will most likely behave as he or she is explaining. But there is a word of caution; candidates may not give answers which are in synch with their actual behavior.

Behavioral interview questions

It is assumed in many situations past behavior may be the predictor of future behavior. Based on this assumption, the interviewer asks questions related to the past behavior of candidates in real-life situations. The answers help the interviewer predict the candidate’s response in real-life situations. The interviewer also evaluates the candidate’s structure of the  response  through this question

Close-ended questions

Closed-ended questions are asked to have a definitive answer; yes or no. These may be asked to clarify basic eligibility requirements. For example, Can you work on advance excel? Do you know the R language? Do you have advanced certification in the language? Do you have Driver’s license? Will you relocate to another city?

Open-ended questions

These questions are asked to prompt the candidate to reveal more about him/her. Examples are; what motivates you? Open-ended questions are asked to see if a candidate has an organizational fit. These may also be asked to assess skills, knowledge, experiences, etc.


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