5 Types of Job Interview Questions

Beth Dean 01.24.23

How to Ask the Right Things, Plus 25 Sample Job Interview Questions

When searching for the right employee to join your team, job interview questions are essential in narrowing down an employer’s candidate pool and allowing top candidates to showcase their innovation, ideas, and goals. 

But sometimes, it’s even more important to consider how you ask those questions. Approaching a job interview with various methods can help you get a complete picture.

Job posting site Indeed.com identifies five types of interview questions you can ask your candidates to find the right fit:

1. Behavior

These questions focus on a candidate’s past behaviors, helping you know how a candidate would act in several scenarios.

Sample questions:

  • Tell me about a job experience in which you had to speak up.
  • Tell me about a time you had to work hard to achieve a goal.
  • How do you stay motivated at work?
  • How do you deal with change?
  • Do you work better alone or in a team?


2. Personality

Personality-based interview questions help see the candidate’s personality and whether it aligns with the company’s culture and standards. 

Sample questions:

  • What makes you interested in working for this company?
  • How would your coworkers describe you?
  • What are your strengths at work?
  • What challenges would you like to take on in this position?
  • What are you passionate about?


3. Qualifications

These questions will help you assess whether the candidate is qualified.

Sample questions:

  • Tell me about your previous experience.
  • Tell me about your education/training/certifications related to this position.
  • Tell me about a time you found a creative solution to a problem.
  • How are you qualified for this job?
  • What steps do you take to avoid or fix errors?


4. Industry Knowledge

Questions about industry knowledge help assess how much the candidate knows about the industry. This info may not always be necessary for hiring and can be trained later, but it’s good to get a baseline.

Sample questions:

  • What do you think are some challenges our industry faces today?
  • If you had a generous budget, how do you allocate funds?
  • What do you think our industry will look like in five years?
  • If you could start a company like ours, what are the first steps you would take?
  • What do you love about this industry?


5. Abilities

Similar to questions assessing qualifications, abilities-based questions look at the candidate’s ability to do the job.

Sample questions:

  • Describe your responsibilities in your previous job.
  • Name three skills you can use to contribute to this company.
  • Recall your proudest work accomplishment.
  • Explain a time you overcame a challenge in the workplace.
  • How do you tailor your communication style to the people you’re speaking with?


The key to choosing the right interview questions lies in the job position and which attributes will help the candidate succeed. In HR, we refer to attributes as “competencies” and aim to learn about the candidate’s business acumen, ethical conduct, leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving. 

Nextep’s HR experts have access to many interview questions, ranging from general in scope to questions broken down based on competencies. Contact your HR business partner at Nextep for guidance!


Nextep Weekly Tip Signup

Also on Nextep

Your Guide to DOL’s Latest Guidance on Telework, Lactation Breaks, and FMLA Eligibility for Remote Employees Are you an employer of employees who telework, or employees who needs breaks for lactation? Then you’ll want to read this update! The US Department of Labor (DOL) recently released Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) No. 2023-1, which covers several […]
Read more
Find the Best Candidates You may be recruiting new employees to ensure full staffing for the months ahead. Here are 3 ways to find and recruit top talent for your company. 1. Use technology Start with the most straightforward recruiting solution: post an ad online. Today’s online job posting tools go beyond the average resume […]
Read more
Rest Up! For Illinois Workers, ODRISA is Now Law Beginning in 2023, The One Day Rest In Seven Act (ODRISA) allows Illinois employees the right to take one day off in seven, plus breaks during a long workday.  Here’s a breakdown of the basics: Employees must get a minimum of 24 hours of rest every […]
Read more
Starting in 2023, Illinois workers have expanded job-protected bereavement leave under the Family Bereavement Leave Act (FBLA). Let’s dig into the details. FBLA allows eligible employees to take up to 10 work days of unpaid leave following the death of a family member. Specifically, they are allowed time for any of the events covered by […]
Read more
Asking about criminal history is risky business. Here’s what to do instead. You may be breaking the law if your job application includes a checkbox asking the candidate if they’ve ever been convicted of a crime. Banning this question during the application process, sometimes referred to as “ban the box,” gives people with criminal histories […]
Read more
Your medical leave could qualify for paid time off if you work in Colorado.  We’re familiar with the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), allowing qualified employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to care for themselves or a family member during certain medical or family events. But the FAMLI program takes this coverage […]
Read more
Asking about salary history may be banned in your state. “So, tell me about your salary history at your current job.” It’s a typical job interview question, often used by recruiters to help gauge whether the candidate would be satisfied with the salary offered at their company. Sometimes, though, the question can help them determine […]
Read more
If you don’t have transparent pay, you may be legally obliged to do it soon.   California is the latest of several states to mandate transparent pay in job postings.  When advertising a job vacancy, California businesses with 15 or more employees must now show a salary range that the employee may expect to earn […]
Read more
Regardless of the turnover rate, every company at some point has faced the struggle of employee recruitment. Selecting the right candidate for your workforce is tough, and there are many factors to consider.  The action items below can provide your company with tactics to minimize risk and help ensure you hire the right person to […]
Read more
The new year brings both new resolutions and state minimum wage and tax changes. We’ve compiled what employers need to know to stay compliant and prepare your 2023 budget! Minimum Wage Several states are increasing their minimum wage. As a reminder, when federal and state or local payroll laws differ, the employer must adhere to […]
Read more
How do you handle employee promotions? When promoting one of your star employees to a management or supervisory position, companies should take the time to train and help the manager adjust to their new role.  An employee’s relationship with their immediate supervisor is one of the top five factors in job satisfaction, so a new […]
Read more
It should be no surprise that your employees post on social media or even blog throughout the day ─ maybe even on company time or equipment. And while they may not post on the clock, it’s unlikely that after hours they think their social media or blog posts could have consequences at work. While employers […]
Read more

Download Our App