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Interviewing a New Employee? Ask These Questions!

Updated on June 15, 2007
One of the hardest parts of conducting an interview is knowing how to get the applicant to open up and give you real answers. Generally, you have to make a decision whether or not to hire an applicant based on the 15 minutes you spend interviewing him. Make sure you use that time wisely by asking open-ended questions that require a lengthy response.

Here are some examples:

What are some aspects of your current (or past) position that you really enjoy? What are some that you are unhappy with?

Questions like this are likely to give you a lot of information about how the employee interacts with others, including supervisors. It will also give you real information on why the applicant left (or is leaving) his current position.

What makes you a unique employee?

Questions that require the applicant to “blow their own horn” are an excellent way to gauge the candidate’s personality. Most people are somewhat uncomfortable talking about themselves favorably. If you are looking for an outgoing sales person, someone who has trouble enthusiastically selling themselves might not be the best fit. You can also use questions like this to weed out those inflated-ego types who are likely to cause friction in your small close-knit company.

Describe a work policy or procedure that you have improved upon.

Questions like this give you a multidimensional view into the attitude and intelligence of the candidate. This question also gives you a sense of the actions she took in a particular situation.

Give me an example of a time your time management system failed you.

This question can give you a good idea of the candidate’s work ethic and organizational skills. It’s also a good way to figure out whether the employee is of the Type A or Type B personality. You can also determine if he gives much thought to efficiency and planning.

Tell me about a time that a knee-jerk decision turned out to be successful.

You want an idea about the candidate’s ability to think on their feet and make quick decisions. You want to know how they respond to stress and how soundness of their judgment.

Using questions that require the interviewee to talk about themselves and their strengths and weakness will help keep you from making the wrong decision in hiring them.

Can you think of any other good questions to ask during an interview? Leave them in the comments section!

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