How To Write Effective Interview Questions

interview questions and answers info graphic

How to write interview questions

You could use the same list of interview questions that everyone uses, or you could create a strategy to ferret out candidates that aren’t a good and specific fit for the role and your company. Having more specific questions will make you more informed in your hiring decisions, and hopefully, more successful in hiring the right candidate. Here are the steps you should take when writing interview questions that promote quality answers:

1. Establish your needs and wants

Each job is different and every company has its own culture. Knowing what your company wants and needs from its employees will help you write more effective questions. Start conceptualizing just this by asking yourself the following questions:

2. Assess the job opening

Though company culture may remain more consistent, employee roles have a more dynamic nature. Take time to assess what the job entails: its needs, functions and goals. A good way to approach this is to list the job tasks and qualifications needed to make this role successful.

*Qualifications: Associate degree or equivalent, communication skills, ability to multitask, organization skills, customer service experience, basic knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel*

3. Consider the potential employee

Now you know what you want, consider who you want. Each position requires a certain level of skill and understanding, so finding an employee who meets or exceeds your expectations is important. It is important to avoid relying solely on an applicant’s qualifications when writing your interview questions. You should also consider the type of employee you want for this position. Ask yourself questions similar to the following:

4. Write your interview questions

As the interviewer, you set the tone for your interview. If you are more laid-back, the interviewee is more likely to be laid-back. The same goes for a more serious tone. With this in mind, structure your questions to mirror your work environment, language and company culture. You may work at a law firm and structure your questions to heavily focus on education and experience. If you work in a customer service call center, you may focus more on attitude and behavior.

Start with the basics

Getting the small things out of the way, in the beginning, helps with introductions between you and your interviewee. Whether you adopt a serious or laid-back position, consider starting with some of the following:

Inquire about interests

Learning why candidates are interested in the job opening, your particular field or the company can help reveal their motives, attitude and intentions. This can either be surface-level or may involve a bit more questioning. Here are good interest-based questions to consider using:

Ask qualifying questions

Once you’ve become acquainted with one another, it’s time to discuss qualifications, skills and experience. These questions should be specific to the job description and the candidate’s background.

Ask questions of character

Again, candidates who meet your qualifications are great, but you also need to know what kind of worker they are. Choosing situation- or circumstance-based questions to transition into can help give you an idea of your candidate’s potential assets or set-backs.

Goal-based questions

Asking questions about your interviewee’s future career plans and goals can help you determine if they will be the right fit for the position. Here are some ways you could ask these questions:

Closing questions

No matter the tone of the interview, it’s important to close things on a positive note. The below example displays just a few ways you can approach this before ending your interview:

5. Reflect on your questions

Once you have written your interview questions, take a moment to analyze each one, the reasoning behind it and the way it may be received by your interviewee. Here are some other things to consider during this process:

Assume your interviewee is an intelligent person

This person has acquired an interview with you, so they are already on the right track. Use language that illustrates you think highly of them and remember to remain interested when it comes time for the actual interview.

Consider your time

Respect your interviewee

It takes courage to interview for a job. From the preparation to the actual meeting, the best candidates put effort into making a good first impression during their interview. With this in mind, do the same and come to your interview prepared. This helps solidify your integrity, as well as the integrity of your organization.

Have a back-up plan

Even with preparation, not all things go as planned. Your interview may be running behind schedule, or perhaps the interviewee reveals relevant information that pushes you to ask a different set of questions. Having more than one plan for how you can approach your interview can help you remain on track and in control of the process.

How to Answer 14 Most Common Interview Questions [+ Sample Answers]

In this section, we’re going to go through 14 of the most common job interview questions and answers. We’re going to explain what the HR manager wants to see in you, as well as give you sample answers you could use.

1) Tell me something about yourself.

However, recruitment managers are not looking for your whole life story, your third-grade achievements, or what you had for dinner last night. Instead, they are looking for a pitch.

This is usually the first question asked in an interview, so it acts as your introduction. Make sure your answer is relevant to the position you are applying for. What you should be aiming for here is to present yourself as the ideal candidate for the job.

For example, at Company X, I led a project for migrating all operations data to a new data warehousing system to cut down on costs. The new solution was a much better fit for our business, which eventually led to savings of up to $200,000 annually.

I have just graduated with honors in Biochemistry. I know my way around a lab and have had multiple opportunities to put my knowledge into practice as a chemistry research assistant.

The lab felt like home, which is why I’d love to work as a lab assistant. I am passionate, hard-working, and extremely responsible. I am also looking forward to putting to practice all the things I learned during my time at university.

2) How did you hear about this position?

Even if you haven’t been continuously refreshing the company’s website for job listings, make it seem like you have (in a professional way, of course). Show excitement and curiosity.

So, mention his/her name and his/her position inside the company and give their reasoning for inviting or recommending you to apply for the position. Tell the hiring managers what excites you about the job opportunity or what exactly caught your eye.

“I heard from Jim Doe, my old colleague and college friend, that [Company X] was looking for a new sales director. He encouraged me to apply, saying that my experience managing a sales team at [Some Software Company] would be helpful for [Company X].

3) Why did you decide to apply for this position?

What the interviewer is looking for here is to see how passionate you are about the job or the company. After all, job performance is directly linked to job satisfaction. The happier you are about your position at the company, the more productive you’ll be.

When you’re talking to a person that’s passionate about something, you can pretty much feel them glow as they talk. And if you’re an HR manager who’s interviewed hundreds of people, this is a very good sign to hire the candidate.

Keep in mind, though, that if you don’t know much about the company or the position – that’s OK too. Just be honest and show your passion for the job. However, it’s always better to do your homework before going to an interview..

4) What are your biggest strengths?

There are two answers you could go for here: what your actual strengths are, and what you think the hiring manager or HR representative wants to hear. We would most certainly suggest you go with the first answer.

For this question, you would want to narrow your answer down to at most three strengths. Pick 1 or 2 skills that would help you really excel at the job, and 1 or 2 personal (more or less unrelated) skills.

top strengths for different fields

My biggest strength is that I’m good at picking up new skills. I’ve worked a variety of different odd jobs – things like working as a waiter, house-keeper, cook, and a lot more (as you’ve probably seen on my resume).

As an event manager at Company X, we were organizing an IT conference for a client. There were a ton of last-minute hiccups – some speakers canceled and the catering company said they’d be late for the lunch break. On top of that, we were understaffed because 2 of our volunteer organizers got sick and couldn’t show up.

At that point, things looked so bleak that we were considering canceling the event or postponing it. Instead, I took the initiative in my hands and sorted through the problems one by one.

5) What is your biggest weakness?

And NO: fake humble-brag weaknesses don’t count as weaknesses. You can’t just say that your biggest weakness is that you work too hard, or that you’re a perfectionist.

The key here is to mention a weakness that’s real, but not something that would get in the way of you doing your job. You wouldn’t want to say you’re bad at math if you’re applying for an accountant position, would you

What is your experience with social media?

Writing is a form of communicating, and many writers are expected to know the major social media platforms so they can get their work out into the world and make it accessible to different audiences. Highlight all the platforms you know, big and small, and if you have any particular insights to share, go for it.

“I know all the basic platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I’m well versed in writing for a specific platform, ensuring Instagram posts are image-focused, Twitter posts are succinct, and LinkedIn posts are purely professional. At my last internship, I used HootSuite to preschedule my posts to ensure consistency and quality.”

Whether you’re seeking to write the next great American novel or the next viral social media post, getting a writing internship is a key first step in your writing career. If you research the company and have strong answers for these 10 questions—and know your way around an Oxford comma—you’ll be well on your way.


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How to Make a Hard Decision

pros and cons list selection of the optimal solutions, weighing the facts clipboard and pencil flat design

How To Make a Hard Decision in the Workplace

Making decisions in the workplace can sometimes be challenging, but developing the ability to make good decisions in any situation can help you in your career. The greater the impact of your decisions, the harder they can be to make. It’s important to learn how to make decisions, feel confident in your decisions and stand by them. When you do, you can more easily demonstrate your leadership abilities to others on your team. In this article, we explore proactive strategies to help you make hard decisions confidently and efficiently.

There are plenty of choices that you will have to make in the workplace every day but luckily there are also many different methods for making those decisions. Here are some ways you can make hard decisions more easily and be happier with the outcomes:

How to make hard decisions

1. First, set aside time to think

Tough decisions can seem even more difficult when they are time-sensitive. In fact, oftentimes a hard decision can feel urgent, regardless of the presence of time constraints. This can all add up to feeling like you lack the time necessary to truly weigh all of the options. However, making decisions is a task that deserves your dedicated attention.

It can be helpful to schedule a time in your day or week that is devoted to making the hard decision. Depending on the magnitude of the problem, you may need more time. For example, a small decision may only require 30 minutes to an hour of your day, while a larger decision could necessitate a few hours of dedicated time each week for two or three weeks. Regardless of the attention required, block the time off in your calendar and regularly add it to your to-do list.

2. Second, define the issue and the decision

Before you can make a truly informed decision, you’ll first want to view the situation comprehensively. It’s important to take some time to fully grasp the choice that you are making. A helpful way to do this is to list out the key factors that are involved or will be affected by the decision you are making. By detailing all aspects of your choice, you will be equipped with a better understanding of the problem, which could provide you with the clarity that you need to make a decision.

3. Third, consider all of your options

Though there are some decisions that require a simple yes or no answer, there are often alternative options that are possibly less obvious at first. In fact, there are some situations that can resolve themselves without requiring you to make an actual decision. Spend some time brainstorming all of the solutions, including compromises and letting the choice pass, before reaching a final decision.

4. Fourth, rely on your values

When faced with a difficult choice, it can be easy to forget about the values and guidelines that should lead all decisions for yourself and/or your company. Take some time to think about whether a decision will infringe on these predetermined values. It’s possible that your values have already made the choice for you before you could realize it.

5. Fifth, talk through the issue

If you tend to process information verbally, it may be helpful to adopt the strategy of discussion. By talking through the decision and all of the elements involved, you may be able to reach a decision much faster than if you contemplated it silently on your own.

To use this strategy, you just need to find a good listener who will allow you the space and time to hear your monologue. In fact, finding someone who is knowledgeable about the topic is unnecessary. You really just need someone who will listen and occasionally help you reflect on the thoughts you have shared. By the end of the exercise, you will likely come to a conclusion or, at the very least, have a much clearer idea of the issue you have been presented with.

6. Sixth, ask for another perspective

Though having someone who will listen can be helpful, sometimes you need a little more than that. Asking someone for their opinion about a decision can be beneficial if you are contemplating doing something for the first time and you know someone who has relevant experience to the situation you are facing. Asking for wise counsel can help you to make a more informed decision much quicker.

Though getting advice from others can be beneficial, avoid accepting their suggestions without careful consideration. Even if you decide that their proposed plan is undesirable for you, it could help you to realize the decision that you need and want to make.

7. Seventh, view the issue by using cause and effect

Along with considering all of the factors involved in a decision, it can be helpful to view the problem in terms of cause and effect. Take some time going through every solution and weigh the possible outcomes. If there are some decisions that result in more favorable consequences, that will help you eliminate and choose the best possible option.

A helpful way to approach this strategy for decision-making is to use a technique that allows you to think about the situation in if/then terms. For example, ‘If we cut this budget, then we will lose X and gain Y.’ Another strategy for using this technique is to create a pro/con list to consider all of the effects, both positive and negative, that each choice will carry.

8. Finally, use a timer

If you have thought through all of your options, solicited additional opinions, collected data and considered all possible outcomes but are still faced with uncertainty, it may be time to realize that the choice will remain unclear. In these situations, it can be the best practice to just commit and make a decision.

If you are able, you may want to minimize the decision, allowing you to test the choice without significant commitment or investment. However, it will be beneficial to make a decisive choice regardless. The time that you will save by finally reaching a decision will aid your productivity as well as your clarity.

Email a friend.

It’s not a lifeline on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, so yeah, you could text said friend or even meet up in person for a (socially distanced) coffee or walk. But when you’re choosing to, say, end a relationship—or make any decision that involves multiple people—it may be best to utilize human capital for help, Richardson says. Just be sure to ask someone who knows you and the other person well, is someone you trust to be honest, and who is completely neutral about the situation. Not only will that friend be able to think objectively, but they can also give you feedback based solely on the facts. (To really create an unbiased effect, Richardson says you could also email instead of talking face-to-face, as most people are more likely to give honest input that way.)

That said, keep your convos to just one or two confidantes, as Seide says too many opinions can add to your confusion. “When random people are weighing in on your deliberations—like your cousin, Uber driver, and the neighbor you never talked to before—you may be speaking to people who don’t truly know the inner workings of your life but won’t hesitate to offer an opinion anyway,” she explains. “These people just might be putting their fears and limiting beliefs onto you,” and could ultimately cause you to make a decision that isn’t necessarily the best.

Throw a dress rehearsal.

For more visual learners, Seide says it may be helpful to take a day to inhabit the results of a choice you’re thinking about making. Visualize how you would spend your day, considering who you would be interacting with, what you would wear, and where you would go. If you can, it may even be helpful to actually do all of those things.

“Try that life on as much as you possibly can and see what feelings come up,” she says. “Then, spend the next day in the other option, and tune into the emotions associated with that.” Doing so can reveal how you feel about your decision, which is just as important as the tangible details. Capitalizing on the opportunity to re-enact and sit with those feelings can help make your choice more clear.


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How to Educate Yourself and Be an Effective Self-Learner

How To Get To Know Yourself Better! 7 Steps To Self Awareness

How to Educate Yourself and Be an Effective Self-Learner

How to Educate Yourself and Be an Effective Self-Learner

Innovation and automation are everywhere in the many industries of the world. It’s a wonder watching it but, with it stems some problems with more and more people being replaced with robots and having to re-train or enter another field.

In order for people to do those things, most people often turn to go back to school rather than considering other options. While going back to school could be helpful, you can always consider learning how to educate yourself instead.

Maybe a long time ago that option wasn’t a reality, but with good quality information and other factors, educating yourself now is well worth considering. Even if you’re not in the market for a new job.

Can You Self-Educate without Going to College?

1. Stay Current on Industry News

The only thing to keep in mind with this is there are many ways to stay caught up in the industry. You don’t need to pay for subscriptions to several papers or magazines to stay caught up. Turn to social media and search for relevant hashtags or keywords, or sign up to news outlets mailing lists. There are plenty of free options.

2. Sign Up for Online Courses

Information has become so abundant that there are all kinds of courses available. Online learning is also a really effective way to learn these days. Some options you can turn to are sites like Udemy or Skillshare which have thousands of courses available. Here’re more sites for self-learning: 25 Killer Sites For Online Education

Some universities have even opened up courses online for free. One example of a site providing that is edX which has courses from MIT, Harvard, Berkeley University and others. And at Lifehack, we offer some free classes too.

3. Get a Mentor

Every industry has skilled individuals who are willing to teach others. Backed by years of experience in the field, they can pass down valuable lessons that no other classroom could teach you.

This is another strong method because a mentor is likely to stay ahead of the curve. Their years of experience and understanding of the industry can lead to more specific advice. After all, traditional colleges and universities tend to focus on widespread information rather than what you really need to know.

4. Take Up an Arts Class

  • You can do this solo. Done by yourself and taught by yourself has perks to it.
  • It is cheap to do. Want to be a better writer? Open up a document on your computer and start typing. You can do the same with any other device as well. Even if you’re looking to draw or paint art supplies aren’t that costly and you can pace yourself as much as you’d like.
  • You could meet other people. There are other writers, artists, singers and more in your town. It’s a matter of looking around for them.
  • You will learn new skills. All of these mediums provide various skills when you look at them. Not only that but you can also learn about yourself through this medium too.

5. Start Journalling

This doesn’t mean you have to journal about your day, but rather focus on the information that you learned that day — personal or otherwise. This is important because information only stays as relevant to us as long as we recall it and retain that information.

With this in mind, you can use the journal to jot down big lessons that day, quotes, or other little tidbits of information you want to remember. After that, be sure to check that journal once a week to go over what you’ve learned.

6. Always Be Looking Stuff Up

One other alternative to look at is bringing a dictionary or encyclopedia with you. The idea with this is to look up a new word and try to make a reference of it over the course of the day.

The Importance Of Self Awareness

As noted at the outset, increased self-awareness has wide-ranging positive ramifications. However, one of its most important consequences is increased emotional intelligence. When you’re more emotionally intelligent, you’re better able to identify and manage your feelings as they come up, neither repressing them nor being lost in them.

Emotionally intelligent people are also more at peace with who they really are, focusing more on meeting their own standards than the standards set by others. Self-awareness and high emotional intelligence are also correlated with greater levels of success. For example, recent psychological studies indicate that many top business leaders have both of these traits, and that plays a key role in their continued achievements.

So, whether you want to excel in your job, are looking to improve the most important relationships in your life or just want to feel more at peace with your own company, you have a lot to gain from working on self-awareness.

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About This Article

This article was co-authored by Alan Fang, a trusted member of wikiHow’s volunteer community. Alan Fang swam competitively for over 7 years, through high school and into college. He specialized in breaststroke events, and participated in events such as the Speedo Championship Series, the IHSA (Illinois High School Association) state championships, and Illinois Senior and Age Group state championships. This article has been viewed 4,957,466 times.

To learn to swim, first understand safety before you get in the water. You should never try to learn to swim on your own. Always make sure an adult, instructor or lifeguard is watching you or helping you learn. Next, get comfortable by learning how to hold your breath. To hold your breath, take a long inhale and wait to exhale. Once you learn to hold your breath, you can try to float. Start by making your body parallel with the surface of the water while lying on your back. Ask an adult to spot you as you find your balance in the water. Try to maintain your parallel posture on your back for a few moments unassisted without submerging your face. Always practice in the shallow end, so you can stand up when you need to. When you’re comfortable floating, grab onto the edge of the pool and practice gently kicking your legs up and down in the water. Try keeping your head face-down in the water for a few seconds while holding your breath, but always come up for air when you feel that you need it. To learn how to swim the freestyle, breast, butterfly, and back strokes, try working with a qualified instructor.


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15 Fun Jobs that Pay Well Without a Degree (Online and In Person)

Instacart driver

15+ Fun Jobs that Pay Well Without a Degree (Online and In Person)

Finding a job is an essential part of making a living. Without one, there is no means to survive in a world that requires money for the necessities. So why not find fun jobs that pay well and make your work life as fulfilling as your free time?

The average person will spend approximately one-third of their life working. Putting in hundreds of thousands of hours to make money is pretty substantial. It’s only logical to think of ways to make work fun since you’ll spend a huge part of your life doing it.

The question most people ask often is whether they can find these fun jobs without a degree. As a current work-from-home mom, I can tell you first hand there are many opportunities to land enjoyable jobs without a degree.

2. LEGO model builder

If you’ve ever been to LEGOLAND then you will bear witness to how impressive the models are. There’s no bachelor’s degree specific for being a LEGO model builder, but a degree in a design-related field will make things easy for you.

LEGO model builders invent, model, and create the different characters you see in a LEGOLAND. A master model builder will not only clean, repair, and maintain existing LEGO installations, but also take part in marketing and PR, which include participating in media interviews, creating instructional videos for social media, and leading virtual building classes.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for LEGO designers in the U.S. is $50,751. The highest-paid can earn as high as $105,000 a year, making this one of the best fun jobs that pay well without a degree.

5. Choreographers

The mean annual wage of choreographers in the U.S. is $52,000 while the highest earners enjoy salaries of more than $101,250 a year, making it one of the best fun jobs that pay well without a degree.

Did you know that the first commercially available gum hit the market in 1848? Since then, the chewing gum industry has blossomed into a multi-billion dollar industry. This means there are many gum-related jobs you can do, some needing a bachelor’s degree and others not.

One such job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree is being a gum taster. Gum tasters work alongside gum scientists, called gumologists, where they spend countless hours trying to perfect the taste of every single flavor before they are released into the market.

Gum tasters earn between $67,000 and $103,500 a year. Such wages mean it’s one of the best fun jobs that pay well without a degree. The best-paying companies include the likes of Cadbury’s, Wrigley’s, Trident, and Dentyne.

Apply for and get jobs that pay well without a degree

Have the right mindset

First, have a healthy mindset. If you’re looking for a job to replace your current one, be patient in your search. On the other hand, if you need a new job immediately, know that it’s alright to take a job that pays the bills while you search for the job of your dreams.

Also, be open to furthering your education through courses and certifications. Even if you don’t want to get a degree, the job you want may require or recommend that you know some new information. Get ready to learn!

Where to find jobs that pay well without a degree

Where should you look for new jobs? Start off with job boards like Indeed and see what’s available. If you feel that you’ve exhausted those options, try networking through LinkedIn, or talking to acquaintances and friends about opportunities.

Interview tips to get jobs that pay well without a degree

Have a plan for your income

Hopefully, finding a career in a new field that you enjoy will also come with a salary increase. (Especially if you choose one of the high-paying jobs we’ve mentioned in our list.) And you should be prepared with a financial plan for your increased income.


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