MaRS Library Open-ended and behaviour-based interview questions: Examples
When interviewing candidates for a position, steer away as much as possible from factual, close-ended questions that require a yes or no response. Instead, try to get the candidate talking by using open-ended and behaviour-based questions.
Open-ended questions require the applicant to offer more detail and demonstrate their communication skills (for example, “Tell me about a time…”).
Behaviour-based questions require the applicant to hypothesize what they would do when presented with a realistic workplace scenario. This type of framework showcases their judgment and decision-making skills.
The list below offers some sample open-ended and behaviour-based interview questions.
- Tell me about yourself.
- How would you describe yourself?
- How would your boss/co-workers and/or subordinates describe you?
- What motivates you?
- What do you see as your strengths?
- What accomplishments are you particularly proud of?
- What do you know about our company, industry and/or position?
- Why are you interested in this position?
- How would you define success in this role?
- What things are most important to you in a job, manager and/or company?
- Describe your ideal job.
- Why should we hire you?
- Where do you see yourself in two years?
- What type of management style do you work best under?
- What is your management style?
- How do you motivate people?
- What motivates you to do your best work?
- How do you deal with conflict?
- How do you deal with stress?
- What type of working environment do you excel in?
- Can you explain this gap in your employment history?
- Can you explain why you’ve held so many positions in such a short period of time?
- In your most recent performance review, what areas were highlighted as being your strengths and weaknesses? What steps have you taken to address your weaknesses?
- References are important to us. What will your manager tell us about your strengths and weaknesses?
- Why did you leave your last position? What type of reference will your previous company provide?
- What is your current salary? What are your salary expectations?
- Give me an example of a difficult decision you’ve had to make in your position. What made it difficult and what was the outcome?
- Describe a specific problem you’ve encountered in your position. How did you go about solving it?
- Give me an example of when you’ve had to go above and beyond the call of duty to get the job done.
- Tell me about an occasion where you needed to work with a group of people to get the job done.
- Tell me about a time when you’ve been overloaded with work. How did you go about prioritizing your tasks?
- Give me an example of a high-pressure situation you faced in the last X months. How did you handle it?
- Describe a situation where you needed to get consensus. How did you go about doing so?
- Tell me about a time when people disagreed with your ideas. What did you do?
- Have you ever had to “sell” an idea to your boss, team or co-workers? How did you go about doing this? Did they buy in?
- Give me an example of a time when your work was criticized in front of others. How did you respond? What did you learn from this situation?
- Give me an example of a situation when you’ve had to deal with a very difficult client or boss. How did you go about dealing with the situation? Would you do anything different next time?
- Describe a complex project that you were assigned to. What approach did you take to complete it? What was the outcome?
- Give me an example of a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.