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A Small Question Bank for the Five Most Important Areas of an Interview

You need to ask questions about the five most important areas in an interview – these are “approaches to problem resolution,” “communication skills,” “motivation,” “interpersonal skills,” and “management/administration.”

General Start-up Questions
  1. Draw the organizational chart of your present company, including your specific department. What is your role?
  2. What indicators measure your performance within your current position?
Questions about Approaches to Problem Resolution
  1. Were you ever in a situation where you had too many things to do in the time available? How did you handle it?

  2. What kinds of decisions are most difficult for you?

  3. Do you discuss important decisions with anyone?

  4. Imagine a situation where you find yourself without the specific technical knowledge to perform a task essential to a project. What would you do?

  5. Imagine you are asked to set up a task force to investigate the advantages of using temporary office workers in your company. If there were no precedent for establishing such a task force, how would you do it?

  6. If you had to interview someone for a position on your staff, and you lacked the technical depth to understand their competence, how would you handle the interview?

  7. What major problems have you identified in your current position that were previously overlooked, and what have you done about it?

  8. What kind of people do you feel represent a challenge to work with and how do you best deal with them?

  9. What was your biggest challenge this last year at work, and how did you reach a solution?

  10. What was your worst mistake during the last year, and what did you do about it?

  11. What has been the toughest decision you have made in your career?

  12. In terms of problem resolution would you describe yourself to be more analytical or intuitive? Give specific examples.

  13. How do you react if someone criticizes the work you have done? Give specific examples.

  14. What notable successes have you had in problem solving for your company?
Questions about Communication Skills
  1. How would your boss describe you?

  2. How would your closest friends and family describe you?

  3. How would you describe yourself in terms of weaknesses and strengths?

  4. In considering important career questions, what impact does your closest family play in the decision making?

  5. What do you do for relaxation, or what means a lot to you, besides work?

  6. If you could start again, what would you do differently?

  7. Do you consider yourself to be more or less creative than your boss and coworkers? Give examples.

  8. How do you tell your boss or board of directors that the action is wrong, or at least that they are going in a direction with which you are in total disagreement?

  9. What business or social situations make you feel awkward?

  10. How have you dealt with an angry or frustrated customer? Tell me about it.

  11. How do you turn things around when the initial impression of you is bad?

  12. Was there ever a time when your timing was bad? Tell me about it.

  13. What is the most memorable mistake you have made in dealing with people?
Questions about Motivation
  1. Why are you interested in this particular opportunity, and why should we hire you?

  2. How do you motivate people?

  3. What are three examples of major projects you initiated at work, or in your spare time, that you did not have to do, within the last two years?

  4. Tell me about your workday. When do you start and when do you finish?

  5. If you rank yourself in terms of college, how did you do in regard to grades and ranking?

  6. What mission or thinking do you follow when you work?

  7. Do you ever find it necessary to go beyond the call of duty to get the job done?

  8. What have you done to become more effective in your career?

  9. When the pressure is on, where does your extra energy come from?

  10. Do you ever take work home?

  11. What kind of initiative do you take in a challenging situation? Give me an example.

  12. What means more to you in the job-money or personal growth?

  13. Recount when you made a major change. Why did you do it and how did it work?

  14. Was there a time when you failed, but came right back again? Give me an example.

  15. With regard to your job, where do you see yourself five years from now?
Questions about Interpersonal Skills
  1. Do you socialize with your coworkers outside of work, and why?
  2. Have you laid off many people during your career? When doing so, how have you done it?
  3. In what way do you give subordinates feedback?
  4. When recruiting new people, do you look for specific characteristics? If so, what are those characteristics?
  5. How do you work with new and weak members of your group?
  6. Who is the best manager that you know of and why?
  7. How do you deal with employees who are strong performers?
  8. Getting the job done involves gathering information and input from others. How do you do this?
  9. What is the toughest communication problem you have faced?
  10. Have you ever verbally convinced someone of an approach or an idea? Tell me about it.
  11. How do you perform as a speaker or motivator in front of large and small groups? Give specific examples.
  12. When has your verbal communication been important enough to follow up in writing?
  13. Are there situations better suited to written communication?
  14. What do you admire and dislike the most, and why?
Questions about Management/Administration
  1. How would you characterize your management style?

  2. What is the limit of your management responsibilities? Explain the types of decisions that are beyond your authority.

  3. How would you prioritize your work schedule during a busy week?

  4. To what degree do you give people freedom at work? How do you ensure that it does not get out of hand?

  5. Are there certain tasks that a manager can never delegate? If so, what are those tasks?

  6. Do you consider yourself to be replaceable? What would happen with the day-to-day business at your company if you decided as of today to not return to your job again?

  7. As a manager have you changed your organization, and why?

  8. How do you inspire your subordinates?

  9. How are you with discipline in terms of your employees? What do you do to ensure that efficiency is kept at a high level and that people follow the orders you give them?

  10. How do you discipline people (nonperformers)?

  11. What are the most common problems or challenges that you are facing in your job? How do you deal with it?

  12. Do you consider yourself to be better at strictly planning and then delegating or the other way around?

  13. How would you rate your management skills to the former manager in your position, and why?

  14. How would you react if one of your workers told you that you were wrong in one of your decisions?