In a perfect world, managers and HR professionals would only hire the perfect candidates for each new position. Not only would morale remain high as more and more talent was added to the team, but companies would also save a lot of money because they wouldn’t have to absorb the costs associated with replacing employees — which can be quite significant.
While you will never be able to make only the correct hiring decisions, you can increase the likelihood that you extend offers to the best candidates by perfecting your recruitment strategies.
The best way to get to know a prospective employee is by asking them questions directly. But you can’t expect to ask any old question. Here are 50 of the most popular interview questions that, over the years, have helped managers make hiring decisions with more confidence:
01. What would you consider your biggest accomplishment was at your last job?
02. How did you hear about the position? Through our website? Craigslist? LinkedIn? Word-of-mouth?
03. Why are you looking for a new job?
04. What do you know about our company?
05. What do you think about our company’s mission?
06. What’s a time you exercised leadership?
07. Tell me about a time you went above and beyond at work.
08. What’s your dream job or work environment?
09. If you could change anything about your current company, what would it be?
10. How do you stay on top of the latest trends in our industry?
11. What, in your opinion, are the most exciting breakthroughs that are occurring in our industry?
12. If I were to ask your current boss what annoys them the most about you, what would they say?
13. Can you describe your decision-making process?
14. Are you comfortable taking on lots of different responsibilities or do you prefer your role to be more narrowly defined?
15. What are you looking for in a new position?
16. What is the most challenging work-related situation you’ve had to deal with recently? How did you overcome it?
17. How do you deal with last-minute changes in direction?
18. How many other companies are you currently interviewing with and which ones are they?
19. Have you ever been fired from a job before? If so, explain the circumstances.
20. What would your plan of action be during your first 30, 60, 90 days here?
21. Do you prefer working by yourself or working in a more collaborative setting?
22. If you could have dinner with any three historical figures, who would they be?
23. What book have you recently read that you’d recommend? Why should I read it?
24. Have you ever disagreed with a decision that one of your bosses made? Explain why you thought they were wrong and how you responded.
25. What do you like doing outside of work?
26. What are your salary expectations?
27. What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time when you’re not working?
28. What’s the coolest place you’ve ever traveled to? Tell me about your experience.
29. Do you tend to get along with your coworkers? Do you ever hang out with colleagues outside of work?
30. Which three words would you use to describe yourself in a professional sense?
31. Can you explain an interesting topic to me that you suspect I’m unfamiliar with?
32. When was the last time you made a major decision that had a very measurable impact on your personal life?
33. If you were an animal, which one would you want to be?
34. Have you ever had to give someone negative feedback? How did you approach the situation?
35. When you’re given an assignment and you’re not completely sure what to do, what’s your next step? Do you research the problem on your own or do you reach out for help?
36. If you saw that your coworker or even your boss was doing something unethical, would you keep that information to yourself or share it with someone else?
37. If hired, what would you do to show your new teammates the kind of worker you are?
38. What motivates you?
39. Have your ideas been implemented at your past jobs?
40. What is the name of our CEO?
41. What gets you up in the morning?
42. Are you a detail-oriented person or do you look at the big picture?
43. Nobody is perfect. How do you react to rejection and criticism?
44. What is your greatest achievement outside of your professional life?
45. What characteristics do you think make a great leader?
46. Let’s say you start work at a new job tomorrow. How do you go about getting to know your new coworkers?
47. Name three people you look up to and admire. Why do they inspire you?
48. If you could be anywhere else in the world right now, where would you be and why?
49. How would you deal with an angry or irate coworker or manager?
50. Are there any questions you’d like to ask me about our company or your job responsibilities?
A word to the wise: you probably don’t need to ask candidates all 50 of these questions. That would make for quite a long interview — which would almost certainly discourage at least a few talented folks. The whole idea is to ask a variety of questions that give you the fullest view of each candidate. The better you know the people applying to work for your company, the more likely you’ll be to make the right hiring decision the first time.