Why and how employers ask the questions they do

Why and how employers ask the questions they do

“Tell me about yourself”

“Why should we hire you?”

“Why is a manhole cover round?”*

“Tell us about a time you worked on a team that went better than expected and a time that went worse than expected”

“Please use the whiteboard to write the Java code for……”

There are many types of questions employers may ask in an interview and there are reasons for each:

  • Get to know you questions. These are asked with an intent of learning about the candidate, including their goals, education, and past experiences. Interviewers learn more about the candidate’s personality, their credentials, and motivation for interviewing.
  • Behavioral questions. Questions centered around past experiences or hypothetical situations have one goal in mind: past behavior predicts future behavior. If a candidate describes what they’ve done or would do in a situation that doesn’t mesh with the mindset of the company or the goals of the interviewer, there’s a good chance the interview process won’t move forward.
  • Brainteaser questions. You probably don’t know how many gas stations there are in the US (Microsoft interview question) or the annual revenue of the Starbucks in Times Square (Morgan Stanley interview question). Interviewers are less interested in the right answer, but more curious to know your creativity, thought process, and, perhaps most telling, your ability to think under pressure.
  • Technical questions. For candidates applying for technical positions, employers not only want to hear about knowledge, skills, and experiences relevant to the field, they want to see it with their own eyes. Candidates may be asked to code in Java or create something in Photoshop. EasyHire’s in-built code-editor makes it super easy to conduct technical interviews

Integrating the variety of questions in a meaningful and structured manner is important for both employer and candidate. EasyHire’s interview management system is one way to keep interviews on track.

Employers can structure interviews by specifying the skills, knowledge, and abilities required for the job. They formulate the evaluation criteria when compiling interview questions and a rating scale before the interview. Once the interview is in a process, employers ask questions while making notes and rating the candidates’ responses. Keeping questions consistent and structure is also important for employers because discrimination and hiring bias may be reduced, ensuring a more fair hiring process.

Candidates benefit from structured interviews in a number of ways as well. A candidate might feel the process is more professional and consistent when an employer uses EasyHire (don’t forget: interviews are also a time for a candidate to decide whether the employer is a good fit for them!). Additionally, one of the features of EasyHire, the interactive platform that puts the question on the screen, allows a candidate to read the question, reducing the chance of mishearing the question.

Although the interview process can be cumbersome and intimidating for both sides of the conference table, interview questions are a necessary way for employers to get to know a candidate beyond the information in a resume and cover letter. Do we like this person? Are they a good fit? Can they do the job? Pick the best candidate with EasyHire’s easy-to-use interview management platform.

*A manhole cover is round because it cannot fall through its circular opening and is easily moved and rolled.