Open-Ended Vs. Close-Ended Question Examples And Details

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 16 October 2022

Published 25 October 2021

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.

When conducting a survey, market research, or even an interview, questions are crucial. The type of answers you are looking for determine the type of questions you ask. The first step is to learn about the various types of questions and when to use them. In this article, we discuss open-ended vs. close-ended question examples and look at some samples of each along with their differences.

Open-Ended Vs. Close-Ended Question Examples

Here are few open-ended vs. close-ended question examples:

Open-ended questions

Explore these open-ended question examples to understand them more:

  • "What would make you use our platform for writing a test again?"

  • "How would you describe your time with us?"

  • "How would you describe the questions asked in the quiz?"

  • "What do you think about that?"

  • "Why would you recommend this to your friend?"

  • "Where do you see yourself in the next three years?"

  • "How long would you take to finish your assignment?"

Close-ended questions:

Here are some close-ended questions to review:

  • "Would you consider using our platform for writing a test again?"

  • "Are you satisfied with your time with us?"

  • "Did you enjoy the questions asked in the quiz?"

  • "Does that work for you?"

  • "Do you think you would recommend this to your friend?"

  • "Are you planning on becoming a manager in the next three years?"

  • "Have you finished your assignment?"

Related: Differences Between Questionnaire And Interview (With Uses)

Definition Of Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions consider the respondent's point of view. These are not the questions that you could answer with a simple yes or no. You may answer an open-ended question in a single line or several paragraphs. When customers answer such questions, they can elaborate on their satisfactions and dissatisfactions, which can help you visualise trends from their perspective. When these questions are a part of an interview, you can showcase your work ethic, values, experiences and qualifications.

Related: What Are Open-Ended Questions? A Complete Guide

Definition Of Close-Ended Questions

Close-ended questions have a more specific response. The respondent is required to answer the question with a simple "yes" or "no," a scale of how strongly the respondent feels about the question, a rating of an item or a single word response. These questions may provide you with a quantitative evaluation of how the users perceive the product or assignment. If you receive close-ended questions from a hiring manager during an interview, you can answer simply, but consider elaborating anyway to engage the interviewer in conversation.

Related: 8 Closed-Ended Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Types Of Open-Ended Questions

There are four types of open-ended questions:

1. Behavioural questions

In an interview, behavioural questions are ones that show how you handle work situations, challenges, or circumstances. They provide insight into your abilities, skills and personality traits, and can assist interviewers in predicting how you may act in future situations. Examples of behavioural open-ended questions are:

  • "Tell me about yourself."

  • "Tell me about a time when you were under intense stress."

  • "What happened, and how did you deal with it? "

  • "What is your problem-solving strategy? "

  • "What is your method? "

  • "What are your strongest and weakest attributes?"

Related: 25 Behavioural Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

2. Situational questions

When confronted with a critical crisis in the workplace, the ability to think and respond quickly is critical. Employers ask situational questions to understand your thought process and evaluate your problem solving, time management and communication skills. The way you respond under pressure tells a lot about how you may be at work during the critical situations.

Examples of situational open-ended questions are:

  • "Give me an example of a time when you had to lead a group."

  • "Tell me about a time when you needed to be very strategic to accomplish all of your goals."

  • "Tell me about a time when you set a personal goal. How did you go about making sure you would achieve your goal? "

  • "Tell me about a time when you had to rely on written communication to communicate your ideas to your team."

Related: 5 Situational Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

3. Anecdotal questions

Employers frequently ask for examples or anecdotal evidence to show that you have the necessary skills for the job. These questions help them validate the information they have read or heard about you. The recruiters design anecdotal questions in such a way that interviewers gather information about your technical skills and experience that is required by the position. In such questions, it is important that you prove to them how you are a good fit. Often, it is good to share a small incident or story that supports your skills.

Examples of anecdotal open-ended questions are:

  • "You mentioned in your resume that you worked on a project for XYZ company that increased their profits by 20%. Can you tell me about the steps you took to get there?"

  • "You guarantee the purity of the product you sell on your website. Can you describe how your company conducts product purity tests?"

Related: Open-Ended Interview Questions: Types and Tips for Answering

4. Competency questions

These questions can help you assess your soft skills like communication, leadership and teamwork, among others. Hiring managers can also learn about your multitasking, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Potential employers may ask additional questions about your industry knowledge, such as hard skills that you might need for the job.

Examples of competency open-ended questions are:

  • "We have all made mistakes that we wish we could reverse."

  • "Tell me about a time when you wish you had handled a situation with a coworker differently."

  • "Give me an example of a time when you were on a team and there was a conflict. How did you deal with it?"

Related: 6 Competency Interview Questions You Can Ace with Preparation

Types Of Close-Ended Questions

Employers may ask close-ended questions in various ways, a few of which are:

  • Multiple-choice questions: These are objective assessments where respondents may select only one answer out of multiple choices given to them. Some examples of these questions are: “How likely are you to recommend the product to your friend?” and the options may be “Extremely Likely”, “Somewhat Likely”, “Neutral”, “Somewhat Unlikely”, “Extremely Unlikely”.

  • Drop-down questions: Employers usually ask these types of questions when the next question depends on the previous response. For example: “Are you willing to relocate?” with the drop-down options being “yes” and “no”. If “yes”, the next question may be “Select the place you are willing to relocate to”.

  • Check box questions: You may answer such questions with multiple answers. For example: “Which of the following products have you used? (Select all that apply)”.

  • Ranking questions: These questions usually take a rating on the “star” basis or the number basis. These questions are used to take a quantitative measure of how much the respondent liked the product or service.

Differences Between Open-Ended Questions And Close-Ended Questions

Here are the differences between open-ended and close-ended questions:

Perspective

Open-ended questions give us a detailed perspective of the respondent, whereas close-ended questions give a narrow response based on the options provided to the respondent. You can answer open-ended questions in a few paragraphs, whereas close-ended questions are usually only one word. For example, the answer to an open-ended question like "What do you think about the software?" could be, "The software is user friendly and very easy to understand." For a close-ended question of "Do you like the software?" the answer may simply be "Yes".

Context

You can find out what the problem is and the context behind it by asking open-ended questions, whereas a close-ended question can only tell you if there is a problem. For example, a survey where customers answer whether they like the product tells us if the customers like or dislike the product but would not tell us why. An open-ended question tells us the reasons behind the review so you can work on correcting any problems.

Analysis

Close-ended questions provide a quantitative analysis, while open-ended questions provide a qualitative analysis. For example, an open-ended question may help in knowing about the quality of the product and may allow customers to provide details. This helps in achieving a qualitative analysis. For a close-ended survey, the answer would be one to five stars rating, which would provide a quantitative analysis. This might just show the overall percentage of customers who responded to the survey.

Related: 7 Types Of Interview Methods With Advantages And Tips

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