25 Questions to Ask in the First Interview

Yesterday, I described the ideal employee candidate as humble, honest, hungry, and smart. I represented this as a sort of formula: “H3S.” But how do you determine if someone you are interviewing has these qualities?

People Shaking Hands During a Job Interview - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/MichaelDeLeon, Image #6492382

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/MichaelDeLeon

I have a list of questions that I use during my first interview with a candidate. It has evolved over time, as I have gained more experience. I don’t ask every question in every interview; rather I keep it on my lap as a reference.

Humble

  1. How do you feel about this opportunity?
  2. What work experiences have you had that prepare you to be successful in this position?
  3. What do you see as your three greatest strengths?
  4. What do you think is your biggest weakness?
  5. How do you learn best? How would you describe your learning style?
  6. You’ve obviously accomplished a great deal. To what do you attribute that success?
  7. We all make mistakes. When you discover that you have made one, how do you handle it

Honest

  1. Do you think that telling a “white lie” is ever justified “for the greater good”?
  2. If things go wrong with a project, what obligation if any do you feel compelled to share with your boss?
  3. If someone else has wronged you in some way, how do you deal with the situation?
  4. Can you tell me about a recent situation where you had to share bad news with someone? How did you handle it?
  5. Have you ever been in a situation where you had to make good on a commitment that you wished you hadn’t made?

Hungry

  1. Are you satisfied with what you have accomplished in your life so far?
  2. Where do you see yourself in three years?
  3. What are your biggest personal goals? career goals?
  4. Would you consider yourself a reader? What kinds of things do you like to read?
  5. What was the last book you have read? What are you reading now?
  6. How do you make sure that you follow-up on your assignments? Do you have a system?
  7. How do you typically prepare for meetings?

Smart

  1. How well did you do in school? If you had to do it over again, how would you have done it differently?
  2. What do you wish they had taught you in school that they didn’t?
  3. Do you consider yourself a smart person? If so, why?
  4. What’s your general approach to problem-solving?
  5. How would you describe your learning style?
  6. What are some of your interests outside of work?
Question: What questions would you add to these list? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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