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Fri 30 May 2014 | By:

25 Questions You Need To Ask When Hiring An Employee

25 Questions You Need To Ask When Hiring An EmployeeWhen hiring a new employee, there are a number of things that you should consider. First, it’s important that you as the employer have a solid understanding of your existing workforce.

Each new individual you add to your team has strengths and weaknesses, so having a solid understanding of the skills that your current team has can help you identify weak areas that may be improved by the addition of a new team member and what skills or strengths they should have.

Something you can do to make the hiring process more effective is to clearly define the qualities, skills, and talents you are looking for in a new employee. Always have a plan.

The more time you put in at the beginning to outline the available position and narrow in on what you’re looking for will improve the hiring process for you and for your applicants.

They can easily see if they have the needed qualifications and if they might enjoy the job. The clearer you are about what you want, the higher quality of applicants you will receive.

In addition to knowing what you need from your employee prospects, you should assess their qualifications to actually do the job you need them to do. This is often done by weeding through resumes and CVs.

This initial round of hiring can help you find people who are a good fit on paper, but how can you get the most from your face-to-face interview time? What specific questions should you ask and why should you ask them?

Below are 25 interview questions that you need to ask to find your ideal employee.



No matter what position you’re trying to fill, you want an employee who is motivated. However, motivation is often a function of how much an employee invests in himself or herself or what they are being asked to do. These questions can help you identify the candidates who are motivated but also what things motivate them to do their best work.

1. Describe the environment in which you are most productive and happy.

2. What goals, including career goals, have you set for your life?

3. How would you define “success”? On the day you retire, what must have been present for you to feel as if you had a successful career?

4. Observing your coworkers, in your current or a past job, describe what motivated their best performance.

5. What motivates you to be your best and most successful? Can you give us an example of this motivation in action in the workplace?



More than likely, your new employee will be part of a team, so learning about their previous teamwork experiences is essential to the hiring process. Even if they won’t be working on a team, it’s important to know how they work with others. These questions are designed to help you discover more about your potential employees teamwork ability and what their general attitudes are towards teamwork.

6. Give an example of a successful project you were part of. What was your role? Why was the project successful?

7. How would your co-workers at your current job describe you and your ability to work collaboratively?

8. Have you been a member of a team that struggled or failed to accomplish what it was supposed to? If so, what were the reasons for the failure?

9. When is a team necessary to accomplish a goal? What actions and oversight make a team successful?

10. Describe two situations from your work experience in which you were a part of a team. Why was the team formed? Did it accomplish its goal? Why or why not?


Interpersonal Skills

In almost all job situations, a potential employee will have to interact with someone, whether it be supervisors, co-workers, or customers. This interaction sets the tone for your company, so it’s important to find individuals with good interpersonal skills, especially if you’ve identified this as an important skill for the open position.

These questions are designed to help you determine how a potential employee will work with others, including your existing employees but also with customers.

11. Describe a conflict you were involved in at work. How did you resolve the conflict?

12. Tell me about a time when you had to work closely with someone, either a coworker or customer, whom you disliked or found difficult to work with. What did you do to make the relationship work?

13. Describe three types of attitudes, behaviors, or actions of others that are most likely to cause conflict at work? What can you do to minimize these conflicts?

14. What are the three most important aspects of your personality that make you a valued co-worker?

15. What do most people criticize about you?



Even if you’re not interviewing someone for a supervisory position, you need to consider what leadership skills they have. Leadership can be a valuable quality, from the lowest worker on the totem pole to the most-senior manager.

Leadership is that quality that brings people together to accomplish a common goal, so if you have identified this as an important skill, you may find these questions helpful. These questions are designed to help you get to know the leadership potential of candidates.

16. Describe a time when you played a leadership role at an event, an activity, or a work project. How would you describe your leadership style? Tell me how people responded to your leadership.

17. What are the three most important qualities of an effective leader?

18. Describe your ideal boss.

19. Imagine you were given the freedom to reorganize your entire department at work. How would you go about this reorganization? How would you ensure it would be a smooth transition for the employees?

20. Why are you leaving your current job?


Unusual Questions

Most of the questions in this list are fairly standard, and even though they will do a good job evaluating potential employees, they don’t necessarily address personality. If you take the time to get to know your current employees, you have a sense about their collective personality. These questions are designed to help you see if an employment candidate will be a good fit with your current 25 Questions You Need To Ask When Hiring An Employeestaff.

21. If you could be a superhero, what would your superpowers be? Why? What would be your vulnerability (the Kryptonite to your Superman)?

22. If you had to be stranded on a deserted island, but had an endless supply of food and water, what three items would you have to take with you?

23. If you only had six months to live, what would you do with your remaining time? What would you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?

24. If you won $20 million in the lottery, what would you do with the money?

25. If you were an animal, what would it be and why?


This is far from an exhaustive list of interview questions, but as you build your employee base, you’ll discover exactly what questions are best tailored to your business.

Asking the same questions to a variety of candidates allows you to compare each of them and find the best fit. It can also make hiring decisions easier when your company expands because it streamlines the hiring process. It’s important to address key factors of motivation, teamwork, interpersonal skills, leadership, and personality.

Remember that the perfect candidate might not always appear so perfect on paper. Their resume might not be as polished as you’d like, and there might even be gaps in their education.

However, the face-to-face interview allows you to determine how that potential employee might fit in and what they can contribute to your new business. This in-person interview is one of the most important ways to determine employee compatibility. Good luck!

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