Even the most thoughtful and perceptive hiring managers can get stuck in a rut when it comes to finding the most effective interview questions to ask candidates. If you’re tired of hearing the same canned responses from a list of overused questions, it’s time for a fresh approach to your interviewing routine. Following are my Top 15 interview questions. I’ve utilized these questions throughout my career with hundreds of candidates, and they can help you drive quality conversations and deliver valuable insight into your potential candidates.
What Effective Interview Questions Should I Be Asking?
What do you know about our company?
This classic interview question allows you to immediately gauge a candidate’s level of preparation.
What’s missing for you in your current role?
Find out early on whether a candidate is dissatisfied with an aspect of her current position that may continue to be an issue if she joins your company.
What is your preferred working style?
Rather than simply asking if someone prefers teamwork or solo work, this question invites a more comprehensive and thoughtful response.
Ideally, what do you think a company should provide to its employees?
Whether a candidate is looking for growth opportunities or a game room with an air hockey table, this response will reveal whether his expectations are a match for your company environment.
Can you describe your ideal manager?
Determine whether a candidate will be good fit with her prospective manager’s leadership style.
What types of tasks and duties do you dislike most?
Spot any red flags surrounding a candidate’s aversion to certain day-to-day responsibilities.
Of all the jobs you’ve had, which was your favorite, and why?
This question opens the door for a candidate to share exactly which aspects of his professional life have given him the greatest job satisfaction.
Tell me about the most valuable piece of criticism you’ve received.
This twist on the “what’s your greatest weakness” question can yield a much more insightful response that also sheds light on an outside perspective of the candidate’s performance.
What is your greatest career accomplishment?
Get a more results-focused response with this alternative to “what’s your greatest strength?”
Tell me about a time in your career when you took a risk that paid off.
If your company values innovation, this is an essential question to include.
Describe one of your career failures. What did you learn from the situation?
Another alternative to the “greatest weakness” question, this gives you a sense of a candidate’s resiliency and her ability to acknowledge mistakes.
If you could restart your career from day one, what would you change?
One of the most unique questions to ask an interview candidate, this answer can reveal a lot about a candidate’s preferred career path.
If you were hired, what type of outside offer or circumstances would be most likely to cause you to leave?
Drill down to the major factors that might lead to a candidate’s job dissatisfaction.
Have you recently been offered any jobs that you turned down? Why?
Gain insight into a candidate’s job search and which aspects of a job offer are most important to him.
What questions do you have for us?
Don’t forget to end every interview by learning which topics and concerns are at the top of your candidate’s mind.
In my experience managing staffing at various levels, I’ve learned that the best interviewers remain flexible and present questions that are customized for each candidate’s individual situation and aspirations. Keep this in mind as you use these questions to guide you toward a great hiring decision.
What are you favorite interview questions to ask candidates? Let us know in the comments.