When it comes to interview preparation, people tend to focus on anything from researching the company and contacts they’re meeting, to honing their STAR method and finding the perfect outfit. Very few candidates consider the types of questions they’re likely to face. Here’s our guide to the four most common kinds, so you can walk into that room knowing not only what they’re asking, but why they’re asking it.
1. Closed questions
‘Are you?’, ‘is there?’ and ‘do you?’ are good indicators that you’re being asked a closed question. This is a simple but effective way of establishing facts – such as ‘did you find us okay?’ – or making sure you feel comfortable. They might even be as conversational as ‘can I get you a glass of water?’
2. Open questions
Open questions gather information about you, so the interviewer can gauge your thoughts, needs and experiences. The in-depth nature of ‘what?’, ‘where?’, ‘who?’, ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ questions will highlight personality traits, and help to assess your cultural compatibility with the company.
3. Probing questions
These are usually employed as a means of extracting detailed responses from closed-off candidates. Phrases like ‘describe a time’ and ‘explain to me’ are intended to dig deeper into the emotion behind your answers. If these crop-up, the interviewer may feel that you’re holding back in some way.
4. Clarifying questions
This type of question is used to learn specifics about a particular topic. It can also be combined with a probing question to gain the most salient facts from longer responses. Look out for the expressions ‘precisely’, ‘did I hear correctly?’ and ‘exactly what resources’ as evidence of such clarification.
Feeling more confident about your interview? Great! Go in and tackle it head on – we’re all rooting for you.
Further career advice can be found here.