During an interview, some questions may have obvious answers or feel like the employer expects a particular response. Although many interviewers prefer to ask open questions that allow you to discuss your experiences, you may encounter leading questions while interviewing for a job. Understanding how to answer these questions effectively can raise your confidence, improve the quality of your response and may increase your chances of getting hired. In this article, we offer suggestions for how to answer leading questions during a job interview and provide example questions and answers.
What are Leading Questions In Interviews?
Leading interview questions are questions that imply there’s a correct answer. For example, “Our company’s pizza rolls are the best, aren’t they?” is a leading question because the person asking clearly expects you to agree that their pizza rolls are the best. Leading questions are often challenging to answer because they may encourage you to give a short answer or agree to a statement that may differ from your opinion.
Tips for answering leading interview questions
These are some suggestions for responding to a leading question during an interview:
It’s important to answer interview questions honestly. This allows the hiring manager to get an accurate impression of who you are and how you may fit into their company. If you’re asked a leading question you disagree with, you may find it challenging to explain your opinion. Adding context to your opinions, explaining how you made your conclusions, focusing on positive growth and discussing the question calmly can help you answer honestly.
Elaborate on the question
Leading questions often encourage short “yes” or “no” answers, which may limit how much useful information the hiring manager learns about you. Try to answer by expanding on ideas introduced in the question. For example, if an employer asks “What do you think makes us the best sneaker company?“, you can discuss several traits that you believe make a quality sneaker.
Use personal experience
Answering questions during an interview is a good way to explain your work experience, demonstrate professional skills and discuss why you’re a good fit for the company. You can do this by linking interview questions to past work experiences. Consider elaborating on leading questions by using the STAR method—situation, task, action and result. Using STAR to answer a leading question can help you provide background information if you disagree with the answer implied or provide additional context if you agree.
Identify the question’s purpose
Although leading questions often feel like they require a specific answer, you can use them as opportunities to give the interviewer more information. Employers usually ask questions to help them determine your qualifications, professional skills or overall fit at a company. If you can identify what the employer is looking for in a leading question, you may find it easier to answer.
7 leading interview questions and examples
Here are 7 samples of leading interview questions and some examples of how to answer them:
1. Do you agree that attention to detail is an important quality at work?
Many hiring managers want to know if you share similar values and priorities with their company. Asking questions about shared values can help them assess whether you fit their company culture. They may ask leading questions about certain traits that are highly valued. When answering a leading question about values or character traits, consider telling the interviewer about an experience when you used that trait.
Example: “I often rely on my attention to detail in my work. In my last position, I edited press releases and corrected their grammar. During my six months as an editor, my press releases had 15% fewer errors than average.”
2. Why did you hate your last job?
An interviewer may ask you this question to determine your work style or how you respond to difficult situations. Even if you didn’t enjoy your last work experience, consider finding a positive way to discuss it. Explain what you learned from the situation and show how you would handle unforeseen circumstances while working at the interviewer’s company.
Example: “One of the more challenging aspects of my last job as a medical assistant was balancing my duties. My responsibilities included running tests, recording family history, answering phone calls and ordering medical supplies. But, I learned how to multitask more efficiently by planning my day in advance and using a daily organizer to keep track of my tasks.”
3. Would you use our product in your personal life?
Employers may ask this question to gauge your experience with or knowledge of their product. If you interact with their product regularly, you may have insights about it that other candidates don’t. You can expand on your answer by mentioning details of the product you appreciate or features that you may know about from researching the company.
Example: “I haven’t personally used your product yet, but I know that your latest car features enhanced power steering and quality gas mileage. Because this model recently won a national safety award, I know you’re dedicated to creating safe vehicles. Hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity to try one of your cars in the future.”
4. Do you always follow safety protocols when performing your duties at work?
Safety regulations are an important part of many careers. During an interview, the employer may ask you about safety to determine your experience and knowledge of safety procedures in your industry. If they ask a leading question about safety, give a detailed response about your experiences with safety protocols or a situation where you needed to use a safety measure.
Example: “I believe safety protocols are important because of an emergency that happened when I was working as a mechanic at an airbase. While I was repairing an aircraft, the scaffolding I was standing on suddenly broke. Thankfully, I was wearing my safety harness, which prevented any injuries. That day illustrated why I should always follow all safety procedures.”
5. Would you rather use the old version of this software tool or the improved version?
Understanding the function and features of the tools you may use for a job can help improve your efficiency, which is a skill many employers value. An interviewer may ask this question to determine if you have experience with the version of software they’re currently using. You can use this question as an opportunity to explain your experience with different versions of the tool.
Example: “I used both versions of that tool extensively during my last job and find advantages to both. The older version has a more intuitive filing system, but the updated version has more templates, a better editing tool and quicker customer support. While I prefer aspects of the recent update, I am comfortable with all versions of this software.”
6. You haven’t been disciplined for attendance issues, have you?
Arriving to work on time shows your work ethic, builds trust with your supervisor and gives you more time to complete your work. Employers may ask about your attendance patterns to understand how often you come to work on time and identify any potential challenges. Try to answer the question honestly and explain how you’ve learned from your experiences.
Example: “I was once disciplined for attendance when I was a server at Grand Wednesday’s family restaurant. There was a traffic accident ahead of me, and I didn’t call my supervisor to tell them I was running late. After that day, I started leaving for work 10 minutes earlier to give myself more time, and I always contacted my supervisor if I thought I was running late.”
7. Is this the job you’re most interested in?
Employers want to find people who are passionate about their company and are excited about the job position. They may ask this question to gauge your interest in their job and how likely you are to stay in a position long term. Try to answer this question by detailing what about the particular position appeals to you and some qualities that you find unique to the company.
Example: “I find this job interesting because of the flexible hours, interesting work environment and commitment to quality. As someone with five years of experience in this field, I understand the importance of creating a quality product, and I believe your company creates effective products with high durability. I also respect your charity work and dedication to your company values.”
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