Preparing for an interview means being ready for any questions that might come your way—including closed-ended questions. Learn how to answer closed-ended interview questions to ace your interview and get the job you want!
When preparing for an interview, you know that you’ll be asked behavioral and situational interview questions, geared toward assessing your previous skills and experience. These questions can be answered using the STAR method, and require some self-reflection. However, there is another type of question you might be asked during an interview: the "closed-ended" interview question. So what is a closed-ended question, and how do you prepare for it?
In this article, we'll discuss closed-ended interview questions, including:
What is the purpose of using a closed question in an interview?
What is the major problem with closed-ended questions?
5 Examples of closed-ended questions (with answers)
In essence, a closed-ended interview question can be answered with a “yes” or “no,” or a one or two-word answer, although you should be prepared to elaborate. These questions are designed to obtain quantifiable data, such as confirming facts, narrowing information, or getting clarification. Examples of closed-ended questions often start with a “do,” “have”, “are,” or “how.”
“Are you comfortable working remotely?
“How long did you work for your previous company?”
“Have you ever worked outside your current industry?”
Closed-ended questions might seem easy to answer, but, depending on the interviewer, they don’t always offer the opportunity to discuss the answer more deeply, which might lead to misinterpretation. Also, if an interviewer uses multiple closed-ended questions in a row, it might feel like you're being interrogated but don't worry. Most likely, they're just trying to get their facts straight.
We’ve prepared a list of sample closed-interview questions so that you can get a basic idea of what you might be asked in an interview. Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive, and you should tailor your answers to your situation.
Remote work is becoming more common, and depending on your position, it might be an option for you. An interviewer might ask this question to gauge how much experience you have working remotely, and that you’ll be able to be productive and communicate with your team as needed.
“Yes. In my current job as a UX designer, I have worked for five years completely off-site, along with the rest of my team, who were also remote. I communicated with them online using apps such as Slack and Microsoft Teams, and we were able to effectively finish our projects. I also have experience with online training, presentations, and client meetings.”
While you’re more likely to hear this question if you’ve recently graduated, this question is meant to assess your interests and potential skills.
"I particularly enjoyed my statistics class. While obviously, I haven't pursued a career in STEM, I enjoyed learning how to collect, interpret, and present data. I feel it taught me how to think critically and stay organized.”
Employers look for self-motivated people so that they don't feel they have to oversee the employee's work constantly. If an employee can be trusted to get their work done as assigned and on time, it leads to greater trust and productivity for the team as a whole.
“Yes, I believe I am strongly self-motivated. When I am given a task or project, my manager shouldn’t have to stand over my shoulder for eight hours a day to ensure I get it done. I think my previous accomplishments and results show that I know how to get things done and that I am someone my manager and my team can depend on.”
This might feel like an uncomfortable question, but interviewers ask it for a couple of reasons. If you have been fired, they want to get a better picture of why it happened and how it affects your integrity or character, or how you dealt with it and what you did to improve yourself, such as owning the outcome and showing professional and personal growth.
If you have been fired:
"I had a few run-ins with a colleague and I didn't handle it well. If I had the chance to do it all again, I would take my colleague aside and have a one-on-one to figure out how we could resolve the conflict. But the upside to all this is that I realized this job wasn't right for me, and I am now seeking jobs that fit my skills and work style. That's why I'm interested in this position. I think it would be a good fit.”
If you have not been fired:
“No. I’ve been very fortunate to work with great companies doing projects I enjoyed and did well, so there has never been cause for my employer to fire me.”
This is a pretty common question. True, it’s mostly likely on your resume, but interviewers like to confirm your experience level to ensure you’re qualified for the position.
“I have seven years of experience in this field. During that time, I’ve taken on many roles that have provided opportunities to get a thorough idea of all facets of this field, and I’m excited about the chance to expand my skills in this new position.”
Need help polishing your interview skills? Career.io’s Interview Prep tool will help you prepare for your next interview with live recordings, mock interviews, and expert-generated insights from AI!
A closed-ended interview question can be answered with a “yes” or “no,” or short answer, but you should be prepared to elaborate.
Closed-ended questions might seem easy to answer, but they don’t always offer the opportunity to discuss the answer more deeply.
Closed-ended questions are designed to obtain quantifiable data, such as confirming facts, narrowing information, or getting clarification, starting with a "do,” “have”, “are,” or “how.”
Jennifer Inglis is a freelance writer and content creator with extensive professional expertise in advertising, media analysis, teaching, writing, and literature. Prior to working for Career.io, Jennifer was a public school teacher, teaching courses in college and career readiness, writing, and public speaking. Jennifer has a master’s degree in Teaching, and is the author of two published novels.