An interview consists of questions and answers. But there are two types of questions: open-ended and close-ended. Some of these questions may be easy to answer, but some can stump you. In any case, knowing how to respond to them can help you land your dream job. An open-ended interview question is where the interviewer gives the candidate an opportunity to talk and give examples. The interviewer will be looking to see how the candidate thinks.
The goal of this post is to help you understand what open-ended questions are and how you can answer them.
Open-ended questions: what are they?
Candidates are asked to give a thorough explanation in response to open-ended questions. Many employers use open-ended questions to learn more about the candidate’s personality and thought process. By asking candidates to describe how they apply their knowledge and skills, these questions can also indicate whether or not they have the necessary training and credentials for a particular position.
Some candidates may find open-ended questions difficult because there are no correct answers to them. The lack of a right or wrong response, however, can be a benefit because it gives people more freedom in how they respond to the question. The ideal response will demonstrate the applicant’s suitability for the open position and highlight their prior work experience in related positions.
Examples of open-ended questions
The following are some typical open-ended questions you might be asked during an interview:
1. What would you say about yourself?
Many employers value self-awareness as an asset. Your ability to assess yourself and highlight some of your strongest abilities may be demonstrated by this question. Describe your most admirable quality and how you use it at work in your response.
Sample Answer – “I am a great team player. When working on projects, I like to contribute as much as I can. When I’ve finished my work and have some free time, I’ll ask my coworkers if they need anything. I always make an effort to find time to address any inquiries, particularly those from new team members. I think cooperation and teamwork produce better, more effective results.”
2. Tell me something about yourself that’s not on your resume.
Employers look for candidates who fit into their workplace culture in addition to those who have the necessary skills and qualifications for the position. Your response to this query may reveal how you would perform well in the open position. Select a response that highlights your qualifications for the position and any relevant personal interests.
Sample Answer – “I discovered that upselling products whenever I could was my favorite aspect of working as a retail associate. I gave myself weekly objectives to upsell at least 50 times per week. It increased sales for the business and gave me a great deal of satisfaction. I want to continue honing my sales abilities, and I’m interested in working as a sales representative for your business because I think it’s the best on the market.”
3. How did you find out about the job?
This inquiry may reveal the reasons behind your job search as well as the number of other positions you’ve applied for. This is a question that hiring managers will occasionally ask to gauge the success of their search efforts. In order to provide an accurate response, keep a list of all the jobs you’ve applied to and the sources you used to find them. It can be helpful to the hiring manager to know why you’re looking for a new position.
Sample Answer – “I’ve been feeling stagnant in my current role for the past few months, so I’m looking for a new challenge. I searched the job market until I discovered this position on your company’s job board, which I believe is the ideal fit for my goals.”
4. What are your motivations?
Maintaining productivity and satisfaction in a job requires staying motivated. An employer may be able to see how you could use your strengths and working style by explaining what drives you to succeed. Select the response that most accurately reflects your goals and how they might apply to the business. If you can, provide an example.
Sample Answer – “My main driving force is the end-user experience. I am acutely aware of the numerous details that can enhance the product in my current position as a front-end developer. Every button needs to be in the best location, drop-down menus need to be accurate, and every page needs to scale. I’m motivated to work hard when I get compliments from clients or customers.”
5. What makes you the right person for this job?
You can identify your own professional qualities and relate them to their expectations using the previous research you’ve done on the skills the company expects from their employees. You can even give an example of a time when you demonstrated those traits and benefited the organization at one of your previous jobs.
Sample Answer – “According to what I could learn about your business, you have excellent work procedures in place and require motivated employees who can handle daily tasks. I’ve had success in the past organizing teams of people and communicating with them, and I hope I can put that experience to good use for this company.”
6. Why are you leaving your current job?
Many employers will be interested to learn the reasons behind your job search. No matter why you left your last or current job, be sure to give a response that is favorable toward your boss and coworkers. You can respond with a straightforward justification for leaving.
Sample Answer – “After a few years of employment there, I believe I have done everything possible within the scope of my position. One of the main reasons I decided to pursue a career in sales management was the ability to manage large teams, and after gaining worthwhile experience in my previous position, I believe the time is right to move forward.”
7. Where do you see yourself in five years?
By outlining your professional aspirations, you can demonstrate that you are a driven worker who can add value to the organization. Examine the company to see if there are any positions you could obtain within the next five years before composing your response, and then spell out your plans for achieving those objectives.
Sample Answer – “I envision myself in middle management at this company in five years, with a clear eye on upper management. If it’s possible, I’d like to advance to a product manager position before perhaps taking on a directing role. I’ve been honing my leadership abilities in order to advance and develop, and this company is the perfect setting for me to do so.”
Additional open-ended questions
There are some frequently asked open-ended questions to anticipate, including the following, even though the open-ended questions asked during an interview can vary depending on each circumstance:
8. What draws you to this job, and why?
9. What caused you to quit your prior job?
10. What do you envision for your future of yourself?
11. Why do you believe you are the best candidate for this job?
12. What did you take away from your prior employment?
13. What do you think your greatest assets and weaknesses are?
14. Why did you decide to specialize in that field in college?
15. Could you explain how you deal with the pressure to meet deadlines at work?
16. Can you provide an example of how you increased productivity at your previous job?
17. Why do you want to work for this particular business?
18. How do you go about avoiding mistakes?
19. What are your main advantages and disadvantages?
20. What was the toughest situation you ever encountered at work?
21. What was the toughest situation you ever encountered at work?
22. Could you explain how you deal with the pressure to meet deadlines at work?
23. What path do you envision your career taking in the next five years?
24. What does your ideal position entail?
25. What could your current business do to improve its performance?
26. What has been your experience in dealing with the poor performance of subordinates? Give me an example.
27. In your current (or most recent) position, what types of decisions do you make without consulting your boss?
28. Can you give me an example of when you came up with a clever way of motivating someone?
29. Think of a day when you had many things to do and describe how you scheduled your time.
30. Tell me about something you’ve done in your current (or most recent) job that is creative.
31. Tell me about a time when you made a quick decision that you were proud of.
32. Tell me about an important goal you have set in the past and how successful you were in accomplishing it.
33. Think of a time when you had to do a task that was particularly uninteresting. How did you deal with it?
34. What experience have you had with a miscommunication with a customer (or fellow employee)? How did you solve the problem?
Using open-ended questions can be a fantastic way to help you learn more about your customers. These questions will uncover pain points and help you to better understand your customer’s needs and wants. In turn, this will help you to create better products and services for them. We hope you enjoyed our blog post about open-ended questions. If you have any questions or concerns, please send us an email anytime!