Questions To Ask Applicants

Jim Luff
Posted on July 3, 2012

This list is designed to facilitate conversation and learn personalities before you hire employees.
 
While it would not be practical to ask all of these questions in an interview, you can print this guide out and jump around as needed. The questions are designed to make people speak and share experiences rather than give simple yes or no answers, and allow you to see a candidate's thought processes and inner personality. Print this document and use it for future interviews.

What were your expectations for your last job?
What were your starting and final levels of compensation at your last job?
What were your responsibilities?
What major challenges and problems did you face?
How did you handle them?
Which was most / least rewarding?
What was the biggest accomplishment / failure in this position?
What was it like working for your supervisor?
What were his strengths and shortcomings?
Why are you leaving your job?
How would you describe yourself?
What specific goals, including those related to your occupation, have you established for your life?
What influenced you to choose this career?
At what point did you choose this career?
What specific goals have you established for your career?
What will it take to attain your goals, and what steps have you taken toward attaining them?
What do you think it takes to be successful in this career?
How do you determine or evaluate success?
Give me an example of one of your successful accomplishments.
What has been your most rewarding accomplishment?
How would you describe yourself in terms of your ability to work as a member of a team?
What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
Given the investment our company will make in hiring and training you, can you give us a reason to hire you?
Would you describe yourself as goal-driven?
What short-term goals and objectives have you established for yourself?
Can you describe your long-range goals and objectives?
What do you expect to be doing in five years?
What do you see yourself doing in ten years?
How would you evaluate your ability to deal with conflict?
Have you ever had difficulty with a supervisor or instructor?
How did you resolve the conflict?
Tell me about a major problem you recently handled.
Were you successful in resolving it?
Would you say that you can easily deal with high-pressure situations?
What personal weakness has caused you the greatest difficulty in school or on the job?
Before you can make a productive contribution to the company, what degree of training do you feel you will require?
Describe the characteristics of a successful manager.
Tell me what you know about our company.
Why did you decide to seek a position in this company?
Which is more important to you, the job itself or your salary?
What level of compensation would it take to make you happy?
Tell me about the salary range you're seeking.
Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way?
Describe an instance when you had to think on your feet to extricate yourself from a difficult situation.
Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
By providing examples, convince me that you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations and environments.
Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa).
Tell of a time when you worked with a colleague who was not completing his or her share of the work.
Who, if anyone, did you tell or talk to about it?
Did the manager take any steps to correct your colleague?
Did you agree or disagree with the manager's actions?
Describe a situation in which you had to arrive at a compromise or guide others to a compromise.
Recall a time from your work experience when your manager or supervisor was unavailable and a problem arose.
What was the nature of the problem?
How did you handle that situation?
How did that make you feel?
How do you determine priorities in scheduling your time? Give examples.
Tell of the most difficult customer service experience that you have ever had to handle — perhaps an angry or irate customer. Be specific and tell me what you did and what was the outcome.
Give an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with.
Why was this person difficult?
How did you handle that person?

Describe a situation where you found yourself dealing with someone who didn't like you.
How did you handle it?
Give me a specific example of something you did that helped build enthusiasm in others.
What suggestions do you have for our organization?
What is the biggest mistake you've made?
Describe a situation in which you had to use reference materials to write a research paper.
What was the topic?
What journals did you read?
Give me a specific example of a time when a co-worker or classmate criticized your work in front of others.
How did you respond?
How has that event shaped the way you communicate with others?
Give me a specific example of a time when you sold your supervisor or professor on an idea or concept.
How did you proceed?
What was the result?
Describe the system you use for keeping track of multiple projects.
How do you track your progress so that you can meet deadlines?
How do you stay focused?
Tell me about a time when you came up with an innovative solution to a challenge your company/class/organization was facing.
What was the challenge?
What role did others play?
Describe a specific problem you solved for your employer or professor.
How did you approach the problem?
What role did others play?
What was the outcome?
Describe a time when you got co-workers or classmates who dislike each other to work together.
How did you accomplish this?
What was the outcome?
Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline.
What things did you fail to do?
What were the repercussions?
What did you learn?

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