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16 of the Best Job Interview Questions to Ask Candidates (And What to Look for in Their Answers)

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16 of the Best Job Interview Questions to Ask Candidates (And What to Look for in Their Answers)

When you’re interviewing people to join your team, you have to get creative — after all, there’s only so much that questions like “What’s your biggest weakness?” and “Are you a team player?” reveal about who your candidates truly are.

But what are the best interview questions to ask that will help you uncover your candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests?

To help give you some ideas for the next time you’re meeting with a job candidate, here are some of the best job interview questions to ask, plus good answers to each question.

Questions to Test a Candidate’s Honesty and Sense of Ownership   

1. “What single project or task would you consider your most significant career accomplishment to date?”

Lou Adler, author of The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired and Hire With Your Head, spent 10 years searching for the single best interview question that will reveal whether to hire or not hire a candidate — and this was the one.

A good answer to this question:

Candidates’ answers will tell you about their prior success and sense of ownership. A great answer will show they are confident in their work and professional choices while being humble enough to show they care about the company’s success. For example, if a candidate built a sales or marketing campaign they’re particularly proud of, listen for them to explain how the business benefited from it. Did it help the company sign a major client?

2. “Is it better to be perfect and late, or good and on time?”

If your candidate responds with “It depends,” hear them out — the interview question itself is phrased in such a way that candidates can sense there is a right and wrong answer, and they’ll be looking for signs from you that they’re heading in the right direction.

A good answer to this question:

For most companies, the correct answer is “good and on time.” It’s important to let something be finished when it’s good enough. Let’s face it, every blog post, email, book, video, etc. can always be tweaked and improved. At some point, you’ve just got to ship it. Most managers don’t want someone who can’t hit deadlines because they’re paralyzed by perfection.

Try to remain neutral as they feel out their response, though. They might not be able to relate to work that’s measured purely by quality and deadline, but it’s important that they can express how they prioritize their tasks.

3. “Tell me about a time you screwed up.”

An oldie but goodie. This is a tried-and-true test for self-awareness. (Honestly, well-prepared candidates should see it coming and have an answer ready.) Someone who takes ownership of their mess-up and learns something from it is usually humble and mindful. Candidates who blame others or give a “fake” screw-up (something like “I worked too hard and burned out.”) are red flags.

A good answer to this question:

A good answer to this question will do two things well:

  • Admit to a genuine mistake. Often candidates will dress up a mistake with a self-compliment or excuse to avoid looking weak. For example, “I was so committed to X that I overlooked Y.” On the contrary, good answers will just show that they miscalculated, plain and simple.
  • Explain what they learned from it. It’s one thing to screw up, but it’s another thing to take that screw-up as an opportunity to improve. Great companies learn more from failure than they do from success — candidates who do too are exactly what you need to grow.

Questions to Test a Candidate’s Work Ethic

4. “Tell me about a time you set difficult goals.”

If you’re looking for a candidate who is goal-oriented and results-driven — as most hiring managers are — this question will help you gauge whether they’ll be able to handle the audacious goals you have in store for them. Ask follow-up questions like, “What did you do to achieve them?” Have the candidate walk you through the process and purpose of the goals they set out for themselves.

A good answer to this question:

A good answer to this interview question shows they understand what difficult goals are, and that they put a lot of effort into attaining their goals while maintaining a high standard of work quality. Listen for answers that describe a lofty goal and show why this goal challenged their normal targets. Responses that admit the candidate came up short of this goal can also indicate self-awareness and confidence despite a lack of success.

5. “What have you done professionally that is not an experience you’d want to repeat?”

A candidate’s answer to this question will give you an idea of how they viewed work they weren’t very happy with, which is bound to happen to everyone in every job at one point or another.

A good answer to this question:

HubSpot’s VP of Customer Service and Support Michael Redbord says candidates’ answers generally fall into a few categories:

  1. Something menial (e.g. envelope-stuffing). Pay attention to whether they understand the value of this getting done for the business, or whether they just think they’re too good for a job like that.
  2. Something really hard. Why was it hard? Was it because it was poorly planned, poorly executed, or something else? Where do they put the blame on it being such an unpleasant experience?
  3. Something team-related. Follow up with questions about the team, what their role on the team was, and so on.

Even the category of what they consider an experience they wouldn’t want to repeat is interesting, says Redbord. When you talk about extreme experiences that get people emotional, it can be very revealing. Keep in mind, however, that good answers don’t have to fall into any one category — what’s most important is if they extracted value from the experience despite their lack of interest in doing it again.

6. “What is your definition of hard work?”

Some organizations move at very different paces, and this question is an effective way to tell whether your candidate will be able to keep pace with the rest of your team and add value to your team. It also helps you identify someone who is a “hard worker in disguise,” meaning someone who might currently be at a slow-moving organization or in a role that is not well-suited to them, but wants to work somewhere where they can really get their hands dirty.

A good answer to this question:

A good answer doesn’t have to produce evidence of hard work — it should rather reveal if your candidate knows what it takes to get something done and solve the problems it was designed to solve.

Answers that talk about working hard by working smart are great, as well. Always listen for this — putting in the work to find the best way of doing something is often just as important as the task itself.

7. “Who is the smartest person you know personally? Why?”

These questions test what the candidate values and aspires to by forcing them to think of a real person they know, and then articulate what makes that person smart.

A good answer to this question:

Ideal answers vary, but could include specific examples of the person they’ve chosen’s ability to think ahead several steps and execute. They could also touch on the person’s decision-making skills, ability to connect, desire for learning, or application of the things they learned.

8. “What’s the biggest decision you’ve had to make in the past year? Why was it so big?”

Here’s a great way to figure out how a candidate approaches decision-making. Were they quick to make that big decision, or did it take them a long time? Did they spend most of their time reflecting on it by themselves or fleshing it out with others? How did they make a plan?

A good answer to this question:

Candidates’ answers could be work-related or personal. In addition to revealing their thought process, as described above, an effective response to this interview question will also show how the candidate was able to prioritize what was most important when each possible option might have had its own advantages and disadvantages.

If your candidate had hiring power in a previous position, for example, maybe they found it hard to choose between two job candidates of their own. A good answer might show that they saw immediate skill in one candidate but long-term potential in the other. Although both people had usable strengths, your candidate chose the second person because he or she offered he best return on investment.

best interview questions

Questions to Test a Candidate’s Interests, Passions, & Working Style 

9. “Tell me about the relationships you’ve had with the people you’ve worked with. How would you describe the best ones? The worst?”

Each team is different, so this question helps you tease out whether the candidate would be happy, productive, and well liked on your team. Their answer will tell you how they interact with others — and which kinds of interactions they want to happen.

A good answer to this question:

Answers to this question don’t have to focus on just professional elements of a relationship with colleagues — they can also be related to business culture. Maybe the candidate enjoyed their coworker’s positivity or thought their attitude lowered morale. Good responses aren’t one-sided, though. Look for answers that explain how their colleague’s work style thrived (or conflicted) with their own — not simply what their colleague did that benefited or offended them.

Many candidates are hesitant to bad-mouth their coworkers and bosses, so it’ll be interesting for you to hear how they navigate a question about their worst working relationships.

10. “In five minutes, could you explain something to me that is complicated but you know well?”

This is a much better test of intelligence than a college GPA, and it’s also a great gauge of a candidate’s passion and charisma outside of their core job responsibilities. Candidates who are passionate and knowledgeable about something — and can convey that well — are more likely to be enthusiastic and influential at work.

A good answer to this question:

The “something” in this question doesn’t have to be work-related — it can be a hobby, a sports team, something technical … anything, really. Good responses will tell you how well your candidate comprehends complex subjects and that they can articulate that subject to someone who doesn’t know much about it.

Explanations that use analogies also make good answers, especially if it’s a topic that is filled with industry jargon. This shows that the candidate can solve problems by drawing comparisons to things that are more universally understood.

11. “If I were to poll everyone you’ve worked with, what percentage would not be a fan of yours?”

At work, you can’t please everyone all the time. The answer to this question will help you find out if your candidate has enough drive and conviction in their own work to have ever conflicted with one or more of their colleagues.

Obviously you don’t want the candidate to be an unlikable person, though, so consider asking follow-up questions to find out why they might have alienated these coworkers: “If I were to interview these people, what words would they most frequently use to describe you?”

A good answer to this question:

The follow-up question about word choice is more important than the percentage they give in the initial question. In their answers, you should be encouraged by words like “passionate” and concerned by words like “lazy.”

Of course, not all negative words are red flags — while words that indicate a lack of work ethic might be a bad sign, words like “stubborn” could show a candidate’s self-awareness — and commitment to things their coworkers would rather move on from.

12. “What is something you’d be happy doing every single day for the rest of your career?”

While it’s important to hire for skill, it’s also important to hire someone who’s likely to be happy in the job for which you’re hiring. A question like this one will help uncover what makes each candidate happy at work — which is a great way to gauge whether they’d enjoy their role and stay at the company for a long time.

A good answer to this question:

There’s no right answer to this question — it’s more of a learning opportunity for you to see what your employees most enjoy in the industry. Nonetheless, a candidate’s answer to this question should align with the core responsibilities of the job for which they’re applying.

A sales candidate who says they could lead client kickoff meetings every day, for example, is a much better fit than a sales candidate who prefers to create lead-generating campaigns (a task that shows a bigger interest in the marketing side of things).

13. “If you had $40,000 to build your own business, what would you do?”

This question is a favorite of HubSpot Marketing Team Development Manager Emily MacIntyre. First, the type of business they choose to talk about can reveal a lot about their interests, values, and how creative they are. Second, it’ll give you insight into how business-savvy they are. By giving them a specific amount to work with (in this case, $40,000), they have the opportunity to parse out how they’d spend that money.

A good answer to this question:

The best answers to this question will get specific: They’ll offer an overview of the business and get into the logistics of where that money would go, whom they’d hire first, and so on.

Questions to Test a Candidate’s Knowledge or Interest in Your Specific Company

14. “Pitch our company to me as if I were buying our product/service.”

This is a unique and more challenging approach to the generic “What does our company do?” question. It forces candidates to not only drum up the research they’ve done to prepare for the interview, but also show they can use this research to craft a persuasive message that would be valuable in a business situation.

A good answer to this question:

This will come more naturally to some candidates than others. Above all, good answers to this interview question are able to combine an accurate definition of your company with what it offers to your core customer that they need or can’t get anywhere else.

Keep in mind that someone interviewing for a sales or marketing position might find it easier than someone interviewing for a non-client facing role — and that’s okay. You aren’t necessarily assessing their delivery. But it’ll be interesting to see how each candidate thinks through and gives their response.

15. “What has surprised you about this interview process so far?”

This is a question no candidate can really prepare for, and it’ll give you some indication of how candidates are feeling about the whole thing. Plus, you can see how they think on their feet.

A good answer to this question:

You’re looking for specifics here — something about the office space; the personality of the team; an assignment they were given to complete.

Honest answers are good answers, and answers that are directed at you are even better, as they show the candidate is confident speaking their mind in front of decision-makers. For instance, maybe the candidate was surprised you asked them about something on their resume that they don’t personally pay much attention to.

16. “Do you have any questions for me?”

This is another classic interview question, and like the one above, you’re seeing how candidates think on their feet. The answer to this question also reveals what’s important to the candidate. Are they wondering about company culture, or compensation? Are they curious about growth potential, or learning opportunities?

A good answer to this question:

There are no right or wrong answers, but personality and communication style are important factors when considering hiring someone to join your team, and you can get a sense of these factors with their answer.

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

One of the most important parts of having a website is making sure your audience can find your site (and find what they’re looking for).

The good news is that Google Search Essentials, formerly called Google Webmaster Guidelines, simplifies the process of optimizing your site for search performance.

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Salesforce rolls out new edition of Marketing Cloud for small businesses

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Salesforce summer 2023 release: The business executive's guide

Today Salesforce announced Marketing Cloud Growth, an edition of Marketing Cloud designed specifically for small businesses.

With help from AI, this edition makes it easy for marketers to segment audiences, create and execute email campaigns from text to image, optimize campaign performance and create unified customer profiles. It also has a prompt builder that can store and manage known reliable prompts for organizations.

Dig deeper: 70% of SMB marketers willing to pay more for tools with AI or automation

Salesforce developed the new edition by looking at the most common use cases for which small businesses frequenty don’t have the people or resources. This includes things like personalizing campaigns and advanced testing.

The company is also letting small businesses (those with fewer than 200 employees) that have Sales or Service Enterprise Edition “get started with Data Cloud at no cost.” Marketing Cloud Growth will initially be available in the U.S. and Canada and is expected to roll out to Europe, the Middle East and Asia by the end of the year.

Why we care. First of all, small businesses need all the help they can get. This creates an opportunity to start using AI within a centralized marketing workflow rather than importing content from independent generative AI tools. Perhaps it’s also a sign of Salesforce moving to compete with platforms (can we say HubSpot?) that more overtly court SMB clients.

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Elevate Your YouTube Channel: Top 4 Video Editing Tools

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Elevate Your YouTube Channel: Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Launched in 2005, YouTube now stands as the second largest search engine after Google.

Almost 2.7 billion people use YouTube worldwide every month and 87.7% of those users access it on their mobile phones.

Owing to the large number of video content available on the platform, you want to ensure that yours stands out.

To make it happen, you need to master effective content creation tips, use fantastic lighting, and invest in powerful video editing software.

There are tons of editing tools on the market that promise amazing results. 

To help you cut through the noise, I’ve curated a list of the 4 best YouTube video editing software.

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, there’s something for you. Keep reading.

1. Movavi Video Editor

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Top on the list is the Movavi Video Editor, one of the best YouTube video editing software for beginners.

It enables you to create compelling videos using advanced tools like audio correction, motion tracking, and chroma key without requiring any technical knowledge.

Additionally, you’ll find several ready-made YouTube intro videos and a large library of background music and audio clips.

Although the user interface is easy to navigate, Movavi still provides video tutorials to make you feel confident while editing.

Movavi runs on Windows (versions 7 to 11) and Mac OS X (10.15 or higher).

Key Features

  • AI background remover: Replaces backgrounds without a green screen
  • AI motion tracker: Sticks effects and images on moving objects
  • Precise frame cuts: Makes cuts with precision and attention-grabbing montages in one click
  • Color correction: Boosts colors so viewers can stay glued to your YouTube channel
  • Overlay effect: Offers 13 blending modes to create professional-looking videos
  • 4k resolution: Saves videos in ultra-high quality form
  • YouTube Integration: Saves you time by sharing videos directly to YouTube

Pricing

Movavi offers a generous free plan and three paid plans with different sets of features. Here are the prices for various plans it offers:

  • Free
  • Video Editor: $49.95/year
  • Video Editor + Effect Packs: $155.95/year
  • Video Suite + Effect Packs: $94.95/year
1708399564 966 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399564 966 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Usability

Easy to use

Tool Level

Beginner/Intermediate

2. Adobe Premiere Pro

1708399565 365 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399565 365 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

If you’re looking for the best YouTube video editing software that can transform a basic clip into a ready-to-upload video, Adobe Premiere Pro is your best bet. 

It integrates with all the apps in Adobe Creative Cloud to help you streamline your workflow.

Adobe Premiere Pro boasts an extensive range of features, from color correction tools and visual effects to collaboration tools for teams. 

Also, you can optimize the export settings to preserve the quality of your YouTube videos when you share them online. 

Although Premiere Pro is popular among professional video editors, follow the video steps for beginners provided on the platform to learn how to use it. All you need is a powerful computer and willingness to study the available tutorials.

The app is compatible with Windows (10 or later) and macOS Monterey (version 12 or later).

Key Features

  • Text-based editing: Removes pauses with ease
  • Project templates: Retains assets, colors, and branding across multiple projects
  • Speech-to-text conversion: Automatically creates captions and transcripts in over 18 languages
  • Auto reframe: Automatically detects and adjusts aspect ratios to easily upload videos to YouTube
  • Adobe stock library: Offers access to stock video footage, photos, and over 75,000 audio tracks and remix the length to fit your video

Pricing

Adobe Premier Pro offers two paid plans. Here are the details:

  • Premiere Pro: $29.99/month
  • Creative Cloud All Apps: $59.99/month
1708399565 222 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399565 222 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Usability

Has a steep learning curve

Tool Level

Intermediate/Advanced

3. Shotcut

1708399565 295 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399565 295 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Available on Linux, Windows, and macOS, Shotcut is a comprehensive YouTube video editing software solution. 

It supports various video and audio files, including AVI, WAV, and MP4.

The video editing software is great for complex projects as it allows you to combine several audio, image, and video files into one video. 

Also, editing on the platform doesn’t follow a chronological order; you can make changes at any point.

Shotcut may not be the best editing tool for new content creators because of the learning curve. 

However, the platform has a video editing guide, including a community of Shotcut users who are willing to assist you.

Key Features

  • Native timeline editing: Supports all video and audio formats, including 4k and 8k resolutions
  • Cross-platform editing: Gives you the option to start a project on macOS and switch to Windows without hassles
  • Video effects: Offers built-in effects like auto-rotate, white balancing, timeline fader, and 360° video filters, without installing any plugins
  • Display and monitoring: Ability to preview videos in low resolution to improve the speed of real-time effects
  • Keyframing: Option to define the start and finish points of effects along the video timeline such as transition, sound, and brightness or contrast

Pricing

 Shotcut is completely free to use as it’s an open-source software solution

Usability

It has a steep learning curve

Tool Level

Intermediate

4. Lightworks

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If you’re looking to create the best videos in a short time, Lightworks is the way to go. 

It’s the best YouTube video editing software for beginners who are willing to learn video editing as they grow their YouTube channels.

Similar to Shotcut, the platform is loaded with all the tools you need to go from a beginner to a pro.

You can edit, color correct, add titles, and more using the drag-and-drop interface. 

Also, it’s compatible with YouTube video format and resolution for ease of uploading content.

All versions of Lightworks can work on Windows (8 and later), macOS (10.14 and later), and Linux.

Key Features

  • Universal timeline: Accommodates video footage of any quality, size, or frame rate
  • Flawless audio editing: Offers various audio effects and the option to sync with video for an immersive experience
  • Visual effects: Offers a simplified suite of over 700 customizable motion graphics and titles for easy to advanced editing
  • Easy export and share: Allows you to share videos on YouTube directly from the platform

Pricing

Here are the pricing plans offered by Lightworks.

  • Free
  • Create: $9.99/month
  • Pro: $23.99/month
1708399565 484 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399565 484 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Usability

Easy to use

Tool Level

Beginners/Intermediate/Advanced

Pro Tip: According to Attrock guide, the best video maker can offer training resources for non-technical users. This is particularly designed for video marketers who have no high skills in video creation and editing.

Choosing the Best YouTube Video Editing Software

Getting the best YouTube video editing software shouldn’t cost a fortune. 

Platforms like Shotcut and Lightworks offer free tools for both beginners and expert editors.

However, if your YouTube channel is already monetized and you’re willing to spend money on a super-advanced tool, Premiere Pro will be ideal.

Lastly, if you’re ready to level up your video editing game, try Movavi today. You’ll save money while accessing advanced editing features.


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