8 interview questions every job candidate should be asked

Soft SkillsThe key to effectively interviewing a job candidate isn’t so much asking that one perfect tell-all question.

Instead, it’s about stringing together a series of questions that provide a broad and accurate accounting of the qualities and skills of the person sitting in front of you.

With that in mind, here are eight questions that, when taken together, can help you do that.

8 interview questions

No. 1: What skills do you have or how would you develop yourself to help make yourself indispensable here? What you’re looking for: an answer that cites technical or interpersonal skills that relate to success in your business, something that truly sets the person apart. Examples:

  • Technical: “I really like to learn new programs, so I’m the type of person who could always be on top of the latest programs out there.”
  • Interpersonal: “My strength is developing customer relationships, so that customers place so much trust in me that they feel as if they rely on me and no one else.”

You're Fired!
No. 2: What’s your top strength? A fairly standard question, but look for the answer that relates to and shows knowledge of your business. Example: “I’m extremely detail-oriented. That could be an asset as a member of your project team because it would put me in the role of the person who makes sure all small, but crucial, steps have been completed.”

No. 3:  What’s your weakness? Another standard. The response you’re looking is not just a recognition of a weakness, but insight into how this person plans to address that weakness. Example: “I tend to be disorganized, so I’ve started using an online planner to map out what I need to do, and when. ” What you’re not looking for: “I work too hard” or “I really don’t have any weaknesses.”

No. 4:  Tell me about a time when your workload was heavy. How did you handle it all? You want to see the candidate describe a process. Example: “I wrote down all the tasks I had to do, and gave each one a block of time. That way, I broke it up into manageable parts.”

No. 5:  Tell me about a time when you had to accomplish a task with someone who was particularly difficult to get along with. There is no single right answer, but here’s a wrong answer: “I avoided the person and did it myself.” A strong candidate should be able to show adaptability and skills to work with all types. People come at that in different ways, but the result must be that they knew the value of working  together to get a job done.

No. 6:  How do you accept direction and instructions, and at the same time, apply your own ideas and values? Again, there’s no single right answer. What you’re looking for is how the candidate operates in the typical work environment – taking directions and using initiative. Example: “I usually follow whatever directions I’m given. If I have an idea about how to improve on the directions, I’ll run the idea past my boss and see if it’ll work.”

No. 7: What motivates you and gets you excited about work? Many candidates give the textbook “new challenges” answer. Try to take it further by pressing them for another response that relates to the position, such as “working toward a difficult goal” or “pulling a team together.”

No. 8: You have to make a difficult decision for which there’s no guideline or precedent. What primarily would guide you in making the decision? The ideal answer reflects a concern for the impact on customers or for co-workers, or the company in general if the decision has no impact on customers. You can also get a sense of the candidate’s ethics from the answer.

 * * *

Training for your management team

Upgrade your management team with ManageElite’s online, interactive training. Check out the demos of all 12 modules.


  1. Thought provoking haven’t had much hiring training Don

Speak Your Mind