Types of Interview Questions

In conducting an interview, there are different types of questions you might ask.

 

Information Questions

These questions obtain knowledge and information by asking the interviewee to recall facts, terms, and basic concepts.

The types of questions that are associated with this level of critical thinking use the following key words: who, what, why, when, where, which, choose, find, how, define, label, show, spell, list, name, tell, recall, select, identify, recognize, record, relate, repeat, and underline.

For example:

 

Comprehension Questions

These questions help an interviewer understand a topic by having the interviewee address facts and ideas through organizing, comparing, translating, interpreting, giving descriptions, and stating main ideas.

The types of questions that are associated with this level of critical thinking use the following key words: choose, cite examples of, compare, contrast, demonstrate, describe, determine, differentiate between, discriminate, discuss, interpret, explain, express, extend, give in own words, identify, illustrate, infer, interpret, locate, phrase, pick, practice, outline, relate, report, respond, restate, review, recognize, select, tell, translate, summarize, show, and simulate.

For example:

 

Application Questions

These questions obtain information by asking for solutions to problems in which the interviewee must apply acquired knowledge, facts, techniques, and rules.

The types of questions that are associated with this level of critical thinking use the following key words: apply, build, choose, construct, demonstrate, develop, dramatize, employ, generalize, illustrate, interpret, make use of, model, operate, practice, relate, schedule, select, shop, solve, use, utilize, and initiate.

For example:

 

Analysis Questions

These questions obtain information by asking the interviewee to examine problems, break information into parts, identify motives and causes, and show ways that a theory is supported.

The types of questions that are associated with this level of critical thinking use the following key words: analyze, appraise, calculate, categorize, compare, conclude, contrast, correlate, criticize, deduce, debate, detect, determine, develop, diagram, differentiate, distinguish, draw conclusions, estimate, evaluate, examine, experiment, identify, infer, inspect, inventory, predict, question, relate, solve, test, and diagnose.

For example:

 

Synthesis Questions

These questions obtain information by asking the interviewee to solve problems, put ideas together, or to apply acquired knowledge, facts, techniques, and rules.

The types of questions that are associated with this level of critical thinking use the following key words: adapt, arrange, assemble, collect, compose, construct, create, design, develop, estimate, formulate, invent, improve, manage, modify, organize, plan, prepare, produce, propose, predict, reconstruct, set-up, solve, synthesize, systematize, and devise.

For example:

 

Evaluation Questions

These questions ask the interviewee to present and defend opinions by judging information and the validity of certain ideas.

The types of questions that are associated with this level of critical thinking use the following key words: agree, appraise, assess, choose, compare, conclude, critique, decide, defend, estimate, evaluate, judge, measure, opinion, perceive, rate, revise, score, select, support, validate, value, and test.

For example:

 

Close-ended Questions

When you ask a close-ended question, responses are limited to things such as a set of choices, a number, or a 'yes' or 'no' reply. Think of the many multiple choice or True or False tests you have taken during your career as a student. These are clear examples of close-ended questions. The advantage of using close-ended questions is that they tend to produce data that are objective or concrete - quick and easy to categorize, sort, and calculate.

 

Open-ended Questions

Unlike close-ended questions, an open-ended question may result in a variety of responses. The answer is typically richer and contains more natural dialogue, resulting in more detailed information. You may learn about things you hadn't anticipated when you prepared for the interview. The type of data generated by open-ended questions is harder to categorize and sort; the analysis of this data is more time consuming for the interviewer or researcher.

 

Probing Questions

One important aspect of a probing question is that it indicates to the person you are interviewing that you are really listening, because you probe - or follow up on - a response. When you ask a probing question you are seeking additional information, more detail, the interviewee's reaction, or clarification on some point. Sometimes this type of question is required to overcome an interviewee's reluctance to talk.