50 great interview questions

Ensman, Richard G

Hiring decisions are among the most important business decisions you’ll ever make. And in the hiring process, nothing is more crucial than the employment interview. Within the space of a brief interview, you must learn about the background, skills, and experiences your job candidate is bringing to the table. You’ve got to discover whether the candidate is able to work effectively with a variety of people and whether he possesses the aptitudes that fit the needs of the position.

Here are 50 of the best interview questions. When it comes time to hire, use these questions to help you make the right decision.

The candidate’s background

1. Tell me about yourself.

2. What adjectives would you use to describe yourself?

3. Why are you here?

4. Describe the duties and responsibilities of each of your last two (or three) positions.

5. Why do you want to leave your present job?

6. Would you explain the reasons for each of your last two (or three, or four) job changes?

7. Would you elaborate on this particular activity (note the activity) you mention in your résumé?

8. What are your most significant accomplishments?

9. How do you see this position in relation to your overall career plan?

10. Summarize your present salary and benefit package.

11. What salary and benefits would you require if you’re employed here?

The candidate’s skills

1. If you could start your last job (or your career) all over again, what would you do differently?

2. What’s the most difficult problem you’ve faced in the last two years? How did you handle it?

3. Describe a crucial responsibility that you held in your last position.

4. What did you learn from your last job?

5. Give me a few examples of your initiative.

6. What were the biggest mistakes that you made in your last job (or career)?

7. How do you evaluate yourself?

8. What would you say are your most important and valuable skills? Why do you believe these are important?

9. What steps are you taking these days to upgrade your skills or learn new ones?

10. Show me a sample of your work.

11. How can you contribute to our bottom line?

13. What concerns do you have about working in this position or for this organization?

13. What are your weakest skills? How have you addressed these weaknesses in the past?

14. What criticisms about your work have you received over the last several years? How have you responded to these criticisms?

15. What academic strengths did you show when you attended school?

The candidate’s teamwork talents

1. Describe your relationship with your supervisor, your peers, or your subordinates (if applicable).

2. What would your present supervisor say about you? How about your peers? How about your subordinates (if applicable)?

3. What was the most difficult work relationship you encountered during your last job (or career)? How did you handle this difficulty?

4. Without using names, describe two or three of the worst people you’ve ever worked with. Why were they so hard to work with? How did you manage to work with them?

5. What do you look for in a supervisor? In co-workers?

6. What kind of supervision do you need?

7. How did your supervisor give you feedback in your last job? How did your peers assess your work?

8. Give me an example or two of your teamwork skills.

The candidate’s match with the position

1. What did you like about your last job? What did you dislike?

2. What challenges are you seeking?

3. How do you make decisions?

4. What kind of organization do you like to work for?

5. Describe your ideal employer.

6. Describe an ideal workday for yourself.

7. What kind of earning power do you want to have five years from now?

8. What motivates you?

9. Why do you think you’d do well here?

10. What would you do your first day on the job?

11. What would be your top priorities during your first week (or month, or year)?

12. How would you spend the bulk of your time on the job?

13. How will you transfer skills from your last job to this job if you’re hired?

14. Why should we hire you?

15. What other positions are you considering right now?

16. If you’re hired, how long would you see yourself staying in this position? Why?

Richard G. Ensman is a contributing writer to OfficeSOLUTIONS.

Copyright Quality Publishing, Inc. Nov/Dec 2006

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved

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