Five of the most common types of interview question

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As well as behavioural (competency based) questions there are many other interview question types that you’re likely to come across. The most common are:


Interviewers use this type of question as they want you to talk in some detail and provide facts and information about a particular topic.

“WHO has been the biggest influence on your career to date?”

“WHAT do you know about this company?”

“WHY do you want to work for us?”

“WHEN you are under pressure how do you react?“

“WHERE do you see yourself in five years’ time?”

“HOW many members of staff report in to you?”

Interview Question


These ones are designed to obtain a specific (generally yes or no) answer and are used by interviewers to check facts or close the interview. For example:

“Do you have a current driving licence?”


Interviewers use these questions when they want to encourage you to talk in even greater detail about a subject. Perhaps they’ve asked you an open question and want to follow up for more specific information. For example:

“What did you do next?”


Reflective questions are based on the previous answer and, by using these questions, the interviewer can check that he (or she) has understood correctly what you have said. For example:

“So, am I right in thinking that you missed the deadline?”


Interviewers use these to test out possible reactions to situations. However, it is difficult to know how you would act if you have not experienced the situation for yourself so you could end up giving the answer you think the interviewer wants to hear. For example:

“How would you react if a customer behaved aggressively towards you?”

You may come across other types of interview question including multiple (where two or more questions are asked at the same time) and leading (where the expected answer is already suggested in the question). However, these are not appropriate and a good interviewer should avoid using them.

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