Having good interview questions prepared in advance will greatly improve your ability to screen candidates to identify the best available option.

1. Open-ended questions
The most basic tip and one that is almost a given but worth repeating is to make your interview questions as open as possible. Meaning avoid questions that can be answered with “yes/no” or one or two words.

You want to asks questions that get the prospect talking as much as possible.

2. Extract as much information as possible
One of the reasons that you want to get the prospect talking is that this will help you to extract valuable information.

Every hire that you make is a big decision, regardless of position and level. Even if you are filling a position at the bottom of the organization, you don’t want to hire the wrong person wasting time and money and possibly negatively impacting the delivery of your services.

And you only have a limited amount of information to make this hiring decision on – their resume, their appearance, and their answers to your questions. If you are able to have good interview questions to gather more information, you will improve your ability to make the best decision.

3. They show you how the applicant thinks
One of the things that good interview questions do is, they show you how the candidate thinks. They can do this in a few ways. Either they apply pressure and gets the applicant out of their comfort zone and that shows you how the candidate responds in a stressful situation.

An interview question may be designed in a way that it would not be likely for the applicant to have a prepared answer and you can see how they go about trying to figure out the best way to respond. Or an interview question gets the applicant to tell different stories or examples from the past and these can provide clues as to how he or she thinks.

4. Identifies how well they fit
At the most basic level, good interview questions help you to determine how well the applicant fits with your position.

That sounds like a given right? But the thing here that is tricky is getting the right list of questions designed so that they provide the information you to do your best job at screening the good applicants and identifying which ones are best.

Where interviewers go wrong is they ask very typical and general interview questions and this provides very general answers. They then take this general information and try to put it against a “not so general” list of needs  try to make an assessment on well the applicant fits.

What if you skipped the very general and typical questions and built a list of questions so that each question was directly tied to a need or requirement for the position? If you are able to do this and then ask all of the applicants the same list of questions, you will then have great data to use to figure out which applicant is the best fit.