Businessman in office,  reviewing a CV whilst interviewing a job applicant

Interview questions

designed to assess suitability for the role; prepare accordingly

Interviewers use several types of questions to extract the information they seek during the hiring process.  Identifying the question type will help you structure your answer.

Below is a list of typical question types:

Open questions
    • These questions invite a general, open answer which cannot be answered with a straight 'yes or 'no'. E.g. "Tell me about..."

    • Keep in mind the selection criteria and accentuate your strengths, qualities and attributes that will appeal to the interviewer.

Closed questions
    • Usually asked when the interviewer wants specific information, often factual or technical in nature.

    • These questions can be answered with a “yes” or “no”, but you are advised to follow this up with clarification and elaboration of past experiences.

    • They may even require you to demonstrate your technical knowledge in a specific area.

Hypothetical questions
    • “What would you do if…”

    • These will assess your ability to think on your feet.

Leading questions
    • “As a leasing expert, you will be required to deliver presentations to... do you have strong communication and presentation skills?”

    • These questions can be answered with a “yes” or “no”, but you are advised to follow this up with examples to support your responses.

Multi-barrelled or layered questions
    • An initial question is asked, followed immediately by one or more additional questions linked to the same topic: “What do you think about our new lease product? Do you think we could improve our customer value proposition and if so, how?

    • When answering such questions, don’t be afraid to ask to have the question repeated if you can’t recall the full question.

    • After that, systematically answer each part, ensuring good structure and flow to your response.

Competency-based questions
    • Such questions use past experiences to predict future behaviours. It’s best to prepare for these types of questions by demonstrating how your past experiences have allowed you to develop specific skills and how these skills could subsequently benefit the prospective employer.

    • For more help, see our in-depth guide to competency-based interviews.

Back: About the interview