In a recent article, what not to ask in an interview, I explained how close ended questions should never be used in an interview and you need to have an game plan in place prior to scheduling possible candidates for hire. So what’s the secret to interviewing like a pro for your agency? Yep, you guessed it, only use open ended questions.

How To Design Your Open-Ended Questions

The definition of an open-ended question is a question that has no pre-listed answers, which requires the respondent to answer is his or her own words. Your crafted interview questions need to be thought provoking enough to allow your candidate to elaborate on. By asking open-ended questions that aren’t simply a “yes” or “no” answer you can get a real feeling of who they really are and if they have the personality traits to ensure a successful transition to the position offered in your agency.

Here are my favorite 10 open-ended interview questions to ask candidates.

  • What are a few of your greatest work related contributions / successes?
  • Outside of work where do you spend most of your time?
  • What is most important to you in your next position?
  • Why are you looking for a new job?
  • What prompted you to send your resume, and what do you know about ABC Insurance Company?
  • When I call your references what are they going to say about you besides that you are a hard worker?
  • Would you mind telling me a little about you besides your work experience?
  • What did you like most / least about your last position?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 yrs personally and professionally?
  • When was the last time you did something nice for someone?

Although these questions are fairly generic they are used as a transition into additional open-ended questions based on the response you receive. For instance, if you were looking to hire a licensed sales professional you could start of with “Outside of work, where do you spend most of your time?” then follow up with a center of influence question like “I understand you spend alot of your spare time assisting your high school booster club, how do you plan on leveraging yourself to bring in additional sales to the agency?”

By designing and refining your open-ended interview questions, the answers you receive from your candidates will allow you to easily separate the good candidates from the bad. So stick to a game plan and be prepared to ask only open-ended questions in your next interview.