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Devising Interview Questions

An interview gives you a chance to determine if the candidate has the required skills for the role.  They should be conducted in a fair and equitable manner to allow all candidates the best opportunity to demonstrate to you their skills and abilities. Keep in mind that not all candidates will have had a lot of work experiences yet, and assess their skills holistically by looking at other experiences that they might have, such as from volunteering and positions of responsibility at university.

Suggested Interview questions  

When devising interview questions, focus on employability skills e.g. communication, motivation, and initiative, as indicators of applicants’ basic skills and only ask technical questions if these are critical for the job role. The questions you ask should correlate with the skills and experience that was on the vacancy advertisement and person specification, and should allow you to assess a candidate’s suitability to this specific role. You may want to ask hypothetical questions covering situations which they are likely to encounter in the workplace, to gauge their problem-solving abilities and thought processes.


Below are some suggested questions that you can ask your candidate.

Introductory questions

Lighter introductory questions help you understand their motivation for the role and puts the candidate at ease  

  • Why have you applied to this role? Or, what motivated you to apply for this role? 
  • What impact do you hope to achieve in this role? 
  • How will your experience and skills to date support you in this role? 
  • What knowledge or experience do you have of the sector of work that our company engages in? 
  • What skills do you think you could bring to the role? 

Competency questions  

Give an insight into the occasions where a candidate has previously used a specific skill, doing so will allow you to understand the approach they may take if that skill is required for the role.  This should match skills specifically mentioned in the person specification.

  • Can you tell me about a time when you have used your initiative to solve a problem or improve something?  
  • In this role you may have to balance a range of competing priorities, can you tell us how you organise your time and prioritise tasks  
  • Could you tell us about a time when you have demonstrated initiative to manage a project or activity? 
  • Tell us about a time when something didn’t go as well as you hoped, talk about what went wrong and how you managed the set-back. 

Strength based questions 

Strength based interview questions interviews are more personal and allow recruiters to gain a genuine insight into the personalities of candidates to see whether they'd be a good fit. 

  • What energises you?
  • What are you good at?
  • When did you achieve something you're really proud of?

Role based questions  

Role specific questions to ensure the candidate has a good understanding of the job role. 

  • Who do you think are our key stakeholders and how would you engage them?  
  • How would you promote (insert project/activity) to our stakeholders?  
  • Talk us through a time that you did (insert role specific requirement) and how you went about this.  
  • What do you think success would look like in this role? 

At the end of the interview, you may wish to: 

  • Allow the opportunity also for the candidate to ask any questions that they may have 
  • Check with the candidate regarding their availability to work, should they be offered the opportunity  
  • Let the candidates know when and how they can expect to hear the outcome of the interview