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Examples of Open-Ended Interview Questions

by Ralph Heibutzki, studioD

Open-ended interview questions are a good way of forcing applicants to go beyond standard responses. Instead of giving a simple yes or no answer, the candidate has to give specifics about the issue that you're probing, which sheds light about how he thinks. In the process, hiring managers are able to determine if an applicant is a really good fit for the company, or is better off applying somewhere else.

Can You Solve This Problem?

Asking scenario-based questions is one way for hiring managers to measure an applicant's ability to think on his feet, and solve problems. The interviewer chooses a problem that the company is experiencing, and asks the candidate to outline a strategy for addressing it, "Inc." magazine says. After hearing a few sentences, the recruiter can size up the job seeker's analytical skills. Good candidates won't feel intimidated by this approach, even if they're describing a problem that they haven't encountered.

How Would You Describe Your Current Supervisor?

Past performance is a natural inquiry area for any interviewer to explore. Probing attitudes toward co-workers and supervisors is one way of getting at the truth, "Entrepreneur" magazine states. The recruiter then asks follow-up questions to determine how the candidate's attitudes affected his performance. For example, an interviewer might ask an applicant to describe how he handled criticism at work. A good-humored, knowledgeable response will boost the candidate's stock, while overly evasive or critical answers are causes for concern.

What Excites You About This Position?

Applicants naturally claim excitement about applying for a particular company. By pursuing this line of questioning, however, a hiring manager can determine if the candidate has really done his homework about the company, and the kind of role that he envisions playing there, according to "Inc." magazine. An interviewee who's only interested in escaping his current job, on the other hand, will trot out stock responses that show little awareness of what the position entails.

What Interests You About Our Company?

If you're the interviewee, know that preparation is a major issue for employers, who don't have the time and resources for getting new hires up to speed. You can count on an interviewer to probe how much you know about the company where you've applied, says "Forbes" magazine. This won't be hard if you've studied the company's website, and researched its products and philosophy. Strong candidates can intelligently discuss all these things, while ill-prepared ones will offer vague or terse answers, at best.

Where Would You Really Like To Work?

Candidates who get this question may think that the interviewer wants details of their dream job. According to "Forbes" magazine, the real purpose is to determine your commitment to the position you're seeking. An ideal answer should focus on why you're the best match for this particular job. Mentioning other companies or positions is a potential deal breaker for the interviewer, who wants assurances that you're not applying for multiple openings.

About the Author

Ralph Heibutzki's articles have appeared in the "All Music Guide," "Goldmine," "Guitar Player" and "Vintage Guitar." He is also the author of "Unfinished Business: The Life & Times Of Danny Gatton," and holds a journalism degree from Michigan State University.

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