Examples of closed questions in interviews (with answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 5 July 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
During an interview, hiring managers ask candidates many types of questions to determine if they're a good fit for the job at hand. These questions help them gain insight into the candidate's skills and professional working history. Commonly, open-ended questions are for you to give a detailed and expansive answer, but interviewers also ask closed questions. In this article, we cover the definition of closed questions in interviews and give examples of common closed questions with answers for you to study.
Closed questions in interviews with sample answers
Closed questions in interviews are enquiries that have one single short answer. This is unlike open-ended questions, which allow a candidate to give an extensive and detailed response. Though closed questions typically require a 'yes' or 'no' response, it's important that you still try to be thorough and informative with your answer. Consider the common closed interview questions and answers below, and study them for your next interview:
1. How many years of experience do you have in this field?
Typically, hiring managers ask you a question relating to the number of years of work experience you have. This is a good indicator for them as to how qualified and competent you might be in the role. For example, they can establish whether you're an entry-level candidate with limited expertise or a candidate familiar with the role. When answering, remember to be honest and realistic about your own experience and capabilities so as to not mislead a potential employer.
Example answer: 'I have up to eight years of experience within the hospitality industry. During this time, I've assumed many roles throughout the hospitality and entertainment sector that have given me a range of transferable skills and experiences. I'm sure, within this role, I could learn even more while implementing my current knowledge and skills to benefit your company.'
2. How long were you working in your previous role?
An interviewer may also ask you closed questions relating to your current or previous employers to ascertain how long you've worked with them. These questions gauge how loyal you are to an organisation. For example, if you've been working in your current role for several years, it demonstrates that you're a committed employee likely to stay with the organisation. Loyalty is appealing to hiring managers and reflects well during an interview.
If you have shorter work periods on your CV, this is a good chance to explain your reasons for any early departures. This clears up any doubts or pre-judgments an interviewer might have about your loyalty.
Example answer: 'Sadly, my time with my previous employer was cut short. Soon after I arrived, redundancies in my department were announced, and I had to leave after only six months. It's a shame, as I felt I really could have thrived in that role, but I'm looking to the future now and ready to give my all to a new position.'
3. Have you ever worked remotely?
In an ever-changing world, remote working is becoming more popular with organisations. Employees working from home means limited overheads with less money spent on office spaces. Remote working can be beneficial to employees, too, as it creates a better work-life balance and more flexible work schedules. When asking this question, interviewers are trying to determine whether you have experience working with limited supervision and whether they can rely on you to complete tasks to a high and timely standard from home.
Example answer: 'Yes, I have many years of experience working remotely. In my previous role as a marketing assistant, my company was fully remote, so any communication with my colleagues and line manager was all completed online. I personally love working remotely, as it gives me the freedom to manage my work schedule to suit my lifestyle. I'm a reliable employee who still manages to complete all my work and meet important deadlines, despite being at home.'
4. Given the choice, would you work with a team or by yourself?
In many positions, there are times when you work with a team or on your own. Employers want to know that you're a versatile candidate who can work effectively in both scenarios. These questions also help the interviewer understand which environment you work best in, to help place you in a role more appropriate to your skill set. Try to be honest in your response without sounding too negative about either working style.
Example answer: 'I personally love working in a team. It's where I thrive and feel the most motivated. I think it's great to have a group of people to lean on during tough times and equally celebrate successes with. Saying that, there are times when I prefer being left alone to work. Usually, this is to complete important tasks and avoid distractions. For example, in my role as a web designer, when I'm coming up with new plans and designs, I take myself into my office to complete work alone where I can concentrate.'
5. What was your favourite subject at school or university?
Interviewers may also ask you questions about your academic history to gain more insight into you as a person. It's important for them to understand more about your interests to gauge whether you're suited to the job. Typically, hiring managers expect your favourite subject to somehow relate to the position you're applying for. When answering this question, you might also mention other subjects to show more of your personality during the interview.
Example answer: 'I've always loved English, as it helped me know that I wanted to be a writer from an early age. I studied English literature at university and thoroughly enjoyed everything I learned about all the books and authors I discovered. I feel it really helped me become who I am today, and it inspires me in my current role.'
6. Are you comfortable speaking publicly?
Public speaking is commonplace in some job roles. For example, you may give presentations to groups of people or give a speech to a crowd. If public speaking is an integral part of a role, the interviewer wants to ensure it's something you're competent at and comfortable with. Be sure to mention any experience you have speaking publicly to affirm to the hiring manager that public speaking is a skill you possess.
Example answer: 'I really like public speaking. I find it gives me a thrill, even though many people find it scary. In my previous roles, I've had to give plenty of presentations during important meetings. Once I even presented to a group of over 200 people. I have the ability to keep calm under pressure, and I don't overthink too much, which I think is key to good public speaking.'
7. Can you motivate yourself easily?
Many managers take a relaxed approach to supervising their staff, trusting employees to manage their workload and keep themselves motivated. Potential employers ask this question to understand more about your work ethic and if you're trustworthy with minimal supervision. When answering this question, consider using a short example to discuss how you motivate yourself without the supervision of a manager.
Example answer: 'Having worked remotely for over a year, I've really mastered motivating myself each day. I make sure to have a defined schedule and a to-do list to keep me on schedule and ensure I remain motivated. I've found this has really helped with my morale.'
8. Do you often take work home to complete?
Employers typically ask these questions to assess your approach to work-life balance. Make sure to show that you value your own well-being outside of work so you can focus and prioritise your responsibilities while in the workplace. Many employers want to know that they have staff who understand their boundaries in the workplace so they can remain productive.
Example answer: 'Work/life balance is extremely important to me. I believe in leaving work at work, so I can relax and refresh at home and fully focus on my duties while in the workplace. This allows the best quality of work from me and stops me from feeling burnt out. If I need to spend extra time on a project, I plan ahead to adjust my schedule so I can commit fully to my responsibilities instead of trying to work at home with possible distractions.'
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