Interview Questions You Should be Asking

By Sammi Caramela, writer
Nov 12, 2018
Image Credit: djrandco/Shutterstock

Ask these questions to find the best employee for your company.

When interviewing new talent for your business, you'll want to be as thorough and selective as possible. To get the best feel for your candidates, however, you have to get them to open up about topics ranging from their values to their intentions with your business. We interviewed experts for their input on the matter. Here are must-ask questions every employer should ask potential employees, categorized by their overarching topic.

Questions about their values

While you don't want everyone on your team to be copies of each other, you should still share some common values or principles to establish a mutual understanding. Ask these questions to identify their priorities: 

  • What do you look for in a company?
  • How do you find purpose in your career?
  • What are some must-have values you look for in an employer and why?

Questions about the future

Your candidates' aspirations and outlooks on the future tell you a lot about them as workers and people, like how motivated they are and how hard they are willing to work. Find out more about them by asking questions like these: 

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What are some anticipated industry changes on your radar and how are you preparing for them?
  • Define your aspirations. How do you plan to achieve them, and what is your timeline?

Questions about past work experiences

Odds are, if you brought an applicant in for an interview, they have experience of some sort, whether it's college internships or years of professional work. Find out more about your applicants' background, dedication and expertise in the field by digging into their past. Here are some questions to ask: 

  • Why did you leave/do you plan to leave your most recent job?
  • What is one accomplishment you're most proud of and why?
  • How has your past work experience helped you grow?
  • What have you learned while working with other individuals/businesses in this industry that you didn't know before?

Questions about personal or professional challenges

Adversity often makes people stronger. Don't be afraid to ask about any obstacles your potential workers have endured and overcome. Here are some examples of questions: 

  • What are some challenges you've faced, either professional or personal, that have impacted your career, and how did you overcome them?
  • Explain a time of conflict in your professional journey. What caused it and how did you resolve it?
  • Everyone makes mistakes. Name one you've made in the past and tell me how you handled it.
  • Was there ever a time you fell short of your goals? How did you move forward?

Questions about interests

Get to know your candidates on a more personal level by inquiring about their passions and understanding what work they'd prefer to do. Consider asking these specific questions: 

  • What are your professional interests?
  • What are your personal interests? How might you channel them in your career?
  • What motivates you to get out of bed every morning?
  • What are your most passionate about?
  • How do you define success?

Questions about their intentions, both in the industry and with your company

As much as you'll want to know about your future employee, one of the most important points of topic is what they can do for you. Here are some questions to help you find out: 

  • Why did you enter this industry?
  • What attracted you to our company?
  • What can you do for our company? 

Overall, ask what you want to know without overstepping boundaries. For instance, in many states, it's against the law to seek an applicant's pay history. Familiarize yourself with regulations, and stick with questions that simply allow you to get to know your potential employees. You can also learn more about illegal job interview questions by reading this story on our sister site Business News Daily.

Sammi Caramela has always loved words. When she isn't writing for and Business News Daily, she's writing (and furiously editing) her first novel, reading a YA book with a third cup of coffee, or attending local pop-punk concerts. She is also the content manager for Lightning Media Partners. Check out her short stories in "Night Light: Haunted Tales of Terror," which is sold on Amazon.
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