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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  • Larry Stone

    Mike: One of the questions I like to ask is, “If we were to hire you and I were to walk into (a supervisor’s name)’s office in six months and say, ‘I am really glad we hired (name of candidate). He/she has made a great contribution to this division because . . . ‘ how would I finish the sentence?”

    Larry Stone

  • george

    The honest section is great. This should bring out great discussions. I have not used these types of questions but will in the future.

  • DP

    Michael,

    One of my favorite, and most effective interview questions is “If I hire you, what will I have to put up with”. At first, the candidates sit stunned, but in reality, it’s a great question that offers some unique insight into the personality sitting across the table.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    Great comments. I particularly like your question, Larry.

  • http://www.dailydoseofinternet.com Mani

    Great q’s Mike,

    Wonder how would you be answering the first two H sections?

    Best,
    Mani

  • Mary Beth

    At my company we ask what is your biggest failure…. the reaction to that question and the answer say a lot

  • Lukinuptchindwn

    Love these questions!  I spoke with a Subway owner who said he would do physical labor during the interview and wait to see if the individual would voluntarily join in to help.  He said that was his way of finding out if they were a self starter.  I used to ask people if they were self starters and always got the correct reply and very rarely saw the proof in the pudding. 

  • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com Patricia Zell

    Michael, I had to chuckle at your question about what the candidate wishes “they” had taught him/her in school that “they” didn’t. One of my former students was complaining on Facebook about our high school English teachers not teaching him to write term papers (I was his junior year teacher). I commented that, yes, I did teach him how to write a term paper (otherwise known as a research paper). Speaking as the person in front of the classroom, I don’t think it’s so much a problem of subject matter not being taught as it is a problem of subject matter not being learned. There is a difference!

    • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

      Sounds like he didn’t want to take any responsibility. 

    • http://www.theombugroup.com Brad Bridges

      Perhaps this question should go in the “Humble” category to see if the person will flip the question around to tell the interviewer what they should have learned better personally in high school.

    • http://www.gailsangle.com Gail

      One of my motto’s is “communication is the response you get” which puts the ownership of communication / teaching onto me not my audience.

      If you look at this student’s response to your class, it can be good feedback to tell the next class that a term paper can also be called a research paper and maybe to say it more often, in a bigger variety of ways.

      Yes, some people choose not to learn or listen but putting the responsibility in my lap urges me to be a better communicator / trainer rather than use it as an excuse to slack off.

      • http://www.theombugroup.com Brad Bridges

        Well put Gail. Reminds me of a friend’s saying: we are responsible for the way others perceive us (and what they learn from us perhaps). I like the way you’re challenging us to “take the log out of our own eye” as communicators. 

        • http://www.gailsangle.com Gail

          Very true.

  • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

    I really like your honesty questions, they remind me of the movie Courageous where the man is told he can have a promotion if he will do something dishonest.  The man refuses and gets the promotion because it was a test. 

    Integrity is very important!  

  • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

    This is a great list!  Currently we are using TopGrading for our sales consultant interview process.  It is a thorough process, but I need to add some of your questions.

    Two other questions I like to ask that would fall under SMART:

    1.)What books have you read lately?  (If Non-fiction) What did you take away?

    2.)What is something new (skill, subject, process, etc.) you have learned lately?  

    • http://www.theombugroup.com Brad Bridges

      I like the way your questions force the person being interviewed to not only state a book title but to also demonstrate why the book was helpful and what they learned. Anyone can state a book title, not everyone can show their ability to be a life-long learner.

      • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

        Exactly!  I want the learners!

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    Under “Hungry” I would ask a bit more directly and replace questions #14 and #15 with “Are you planning to lead this organization some day? How soon?” 

    • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

      That’s a great question. If that had just been asked of me right now I would have been completely caught off guard. Guess that’s why I’m here, learning from others to help me set and reach goals!

      • http://www.theombugroup.com Brad Bridges

        The question definitely would catch most people off guard. My concern though is that it sounds like you are equating “Hungry” with a desire to lead the organization. What if the question was changed to “Are you planning to be a leader in this organization some day?” “Are you planning to lead a specific area within our company some day?”

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    Under SMART, I would add:

    Are you continuing to learn?

    Continuous learning and growth is a must for a team member. It shows desire and self-discipline. If a person is unwilling to continue learning, are they really someone you want on your team?

    • http://twitter.com/christocarroll Chris Carroll

      Good question but I would as what they are continuing to learn on.  I don’t think anyone would say no to that question and if they did, they get hella points on the honesty section and a flat out F in the Smart section…

      • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

        I agree, the question was not clear enough. I suppose it should be along the lines of:

        How are you continuing your education? In what areas are you growing?

  • Pingback: What Should You Look for in the People You Hire | Michael Hyatt()

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    I always like to add “Do you have any questions for me?” This really opens the door for further dialog and upfront concerns. If a person doesn’t have any questions, I figure they aren’t very interested in the position.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Whenever that question is asked to me, it throws me for a loop.

      I know it is a great question to ask. It just makes me uncomfortable.

      • Rob Sorbo

        ditto.

        Also, I often ask questions during the interview, so I’m all out of questions by the time they ask me if I have more questions.

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          Asking questions during an interview is difficult for me. I was taught you go to the interview, answer the questions, and then leave. Let the interviewer do the questioning.

          I know it is not the correct way but it is a hard habit to break.

          • http://everydaysnapshots.com Dave Anthold

            I agree with that, but I have also found that asking a couple of clarifying questions helps put both of us a little more at ease.  

            On my last interview, I asked the interviewing manager what her management style was and how she went about mentoring her employees so that she had high performance teams.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            I really do look for an engaged candidate who is asking me questions, too—especially if it is a more senior level position.

    • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

      For sure! And a good candidate will have a question or two.

    • http://www.meeklabs.com meeklabs

      I always enjoy asking that question.  Almost every time, they tell me I’ve answered all of their questions even though they didn’t ask any.  I like to see people referring to notes and questions they’ve taken in advance.

      If a candidate doesn’t have extra questions, then they haven’t done their homework which shows a lack of real interest in the company, IMHO.

  • Lynn Osborne

    A couple of my favorite interview questions are:
    What makes for a really good day for you at work? What makes for a really bad day for you at work? — this is a good way to get at preferences (task oriented versus people oriented, tortoise versus hare work style, etc.
    How would your current boss describe your strengths/weaknesses from his/her perspective?

    • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

      I like the question about the current boss. Thinking that my boss may one day have things to say about the way I work now, helps me to be more diligent in what I do.

    • http://everydaysnapshots.com Dave Anthold

      I think that the work day question is fantastic, because so many people are disengaged with their current work.  Zappos.com hires people that fit with their culture, and if they don’t fit, they don’t get into the company.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1010080047 Edwina Cowgill

    I usually will ask the candidate what drew them to the particular field of work (administration, ministry positions, etc.) and what drew them to the specific job for which they are interviewing. I have found I can learn a lot about the person by understanding what made them choose that particular field for work for their career.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I agree. That’s a good question.

  • http://paulcoughlin.com Paul Coughlin

    What ways can you asses your level of self-awareness?
    What ways can you assess your level of authenticity – i.e. how do you know ‘how true to yourself’ you are?

  • http://twitter.com/KellyCombs Kelly Combs

    This post gave me much to think about.  While I appreciate the “hungry” category, I personally feel content and satisfied in my life. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. While ambition is good (that’s what I read in that category), we need to be careful of selfish ambition.  Yes, want to achieve, don’t be lazy, and  strive for innovation…but be careful and balanced.

    I also was wondering how the reading questions fit in.  I can see them for working at Thomas Nelson, but would they be relevant questions in other fields?

    Question #8 in honesty was a good one. I  have always been truthful “to a fault.”  However, I’ve recently been studying the book of Joshua.  Rahab lied to protect the spies, and she was saved because of it.  She is in the lineage of Jesus.  It makes one think.  The Bible definitely says not to lie, and I have concerns about people who justify lying.  Still the Rahab story gave me pause.  There are no pat answers.  

    Great questions that got me thinking this morning!

    • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

      Kelly, I see answers to the reading questions as indicators of whether they are learning or not.  While there are certainly other ways to learn, I view reading as the main one.  

      While it may not be as critical for certain positions, it gives me a good picture of their long term potential, or “runway” as Jack Welch put it at GE.

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        Until a few years ago, I probably would have had poor answers to the reading question. What did you read most recently? The comic section of the Sunday paper.
        What are you currently reading? The stat lines from the Longhorn-Aggie game.
        Reading outside of sports and comics has opened up whole new avenues of understanding and created a greater hunger to learn.

      • http://everydaysnapshots.com Dave Anthold

        I agree with Chris on the reading question as I am huge advocate for people reading.  I think that it often challenges us to complete something that we may not normally complete.

        For example, our HR director challenged everyone to read one book during the year & then give a report on it.  Starting off small is good, and then you can build upon it as you challenge yourself.  Maybe you listen to the books instead of reading them.

        Learning and growing comes in many forms these days – blogs, newspapers, magazines, books, etc – each has its own fit.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Kelly,

      Your answer to #8 demonstrates depth in your thinking. You don’t offer the expected answer and you illustrate how you’re reconsidering your tell-the-truth-no-matter-what position, not to compromise but to conform to a biblical understanding/lifestyle. Excellent thoughts. Appreciate your sharing.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The reading issue comes in for me, because I don’t want anyone who is not eager to grow and learn. “Readers are leaders and leaders are readers.”
      With regard to Rahab, yes, you might be able to justify lying to the enemy, I don’t think it applies off the battlefield. After all, Jesus is the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life.
      Thanks for your comments.

    • Suzanne

      I found the honestly questions challenging.  I wasn’t thinking specifically of Rahib, but I do feel that people sometimes use the banner of honestly as a means to be unkind.   Honestly must be tempered with tact and kindness.  Honestly is important, but it is not one of the fruits of the spirit.  Kindness, self-control, and patience all are.
       

  • Carol Lawrence

    I like your list a lot.  (not that you need my approval ;-)  )  I would also ask about style.  How do you handle style differences?  Is there a certain way you react to stress?  What do you need from a boss/team when you are under stress?  I would say that 80% (I hope) of our work is done through our natural style, but there is at least 20% that happens during crunch time.  Different industries will fall heavier or lighter there.  I think a good deal of conflict- unresolved and resolved- happen when people are under stress.  Managing that might make that project/profit better.  I think that’s where some beat their competition in the marketplace.  Just my opinion…..

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is a good insight. It’s also a good question to ask former employers or references: “How does Bill do under stress?”

      • Carol Lawrence

        I agree, but I’d push the envelope further.  I’m probably not doing a good job explaining this, but here goes.  Usually when people’s needs aren’t met (aka people don’t behave as they expect, or function well with) they act “out of the ordinary” and they have a new “stress style”.  Understanding that stress style can really help identify fit, and frankly equip a boss with what to do when someone is “having a rough patch.”  It can be evaluative, but it can also help with assimilation and help the coaching process.  I first learned about this framework when I used an assessment with coaching clients.  I’m not suggesting everyone use this assessment, but the concept is very interesting.  To better understand what I’m trying to say this- http://www.birkman.com/birkmanMethod/whatIsTheBirkmanMethod.php may describe it better.  Again, my intention is not to suggest that assessments are the holy grail of leadership; I just like this framework of thinking about people and their behavior.  FWIW.

  • http://treydarbonne.wordpress.com Trey Darbonne

    As someone on the other side of the interview process right now, this is a great list to work through in preparation for interviews. Thank you.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Enjoyed a look at your blog and hope the interview process goes well for you. God bless–Tom

  • Kristen VanderHoek

    Thanks so much for this post and yesterday’s. I’m in the process of looking for work and making a career transition, and these have been (and will be!) very helpful to me. 

    As a bit of a reversal on your question, and to follow up on John Richardson’s comment, I’m wondering: What are some interview questions that you look for the candidate to ask in response, or are there particular ways they conduct themselves during the hiring process that illustrate these qualities to you?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The more questions they ask, the better. I want to hire people who are naturally inquisitive. This is one of the main markers of intelligence (i.e., someone who is “smart”).

      • http://www.philippknoll.com Philipp Knoll

        Honestly, to me the list is a bit too long. If I’d imagine me as an interviewee being asked all those questions I’d end up not wanting the job after all. I’d be thinking: Well, they ask me all that stuff and then they go off and ask the next 20, 50 or hundred people the exact same things? How bad do they want me to work work with them?

        An employee not only has to satisfy the company needs – the company also needs to prove that they really want that person.

        I hired an programmers via Elance the other day and gave the selection process a lot of thought before I posted the job – I’ve had mixed experiences on Elance before.

        What worked for me was providing enough information to the candidates to allow them to know what they were stepping into but at the same time not enough for them to know the details. I thought that would start good conversations and allow the candidates to come up with questions – and some did. I ended up picking the team that raised the “best” questions.

        Those questions showed that they had understood the requirements, thought them through carefully, relied on their previous experience to know what could be needed (what could work or what could cause issues) and then there was more: the winning team of programmers made their own suggestions proving that they were wiling to go beyond the initial requirements.

        Conclusion: I’d limit the questions and try to point candidates into a direction to see if they can pick it up there and carry the ball further on their own.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I don’t ask all these questions either. In the second paragraph I said, “I don’t ask every question in every interview; rather I keep it on my lap as a reference.” Thanks.

          • http://www.philippknoll.com Philipp Knoll

            Thanks. I guess I was to focused on the questions and missed that line.

  • http://roborr.net Rob Orr

    These are great questions Michael. I’d love to see a follow-up to this post that is a list of the questions that you’d love to be asked by potential candidates for whatever position you’re hiring for. It’s always a great way to see how engaged and prepared candidates are to see the kinds of questions they ask.

  • http://jonstolpe.wordpress.com Jon Stolpe

    Great post!  I often ask about long term goals and about outside work interests which are included in your list, but the other questions are great additions to my list of interview questions.  Thank you so much for sharing these!

  • Rob Sorbo

    This might be a repeat of #1, but another good question is “Why do you want this job?”

    I recently had an interview where they asked me that, and I realized I didn’t have an answer. I realized then how much I like my job and how I’m not really ready to leave it.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      And hopefully the answer to the question is not “For the money”. Of course, if it is, you most likely just eliminated the candidate from your pool of potential employees.

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        Sounds like an athlete’s holding out and not signing an offer sheet–“It’s not about the money.” :-D

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is a very good question.

  • Rob Sorbo

    BTW, I think you might have a missing word somewhere in #1. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good catch! Thanks.

  • steve4040

    I tend to see these things from a church perspective and so I thought about Interviewing people who might want to join a particular faith community. What do you think?
    Humble – tell me about your personal experience with Jesus Christ and how that has shaped you and brought you to this point. 

    Honest – tell me about a time someone wronged you and how did you handle it? (expressions of grace)

    Hungry – As Christ-follower, how are you growing in depth and breadth in your calling. 

    Smart – What is your favorite Biblical story and why? 

    What do you think?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000188228562 Lolita Lowden

      Yours are essential questions if hiring someone for a position in ministry.  Another one: What do you do to grow in your faith?

      • http://everydaysnapshots.com Dave Anthold

        I would add mentoring questions to this list as well.

        – Who are you mentoring?
        – Who is mentoring you?

        – Who are you accountable to & what does that look like?

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Excellent idea to convert interview from that of a possible new employee to one who claims faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

      By the way, John 9, the blind man’s healing is a favorite Bible story. Perhaps I should answer the why on a future blog post.  You’ve offered a lot of food for thought in your comment.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think these are very good for your context. Thanks.

  • Bonnie Clark

    I always think behavioural questions are better than situational ones – have a candidate give an example of what they have done in the past rather than asking them what they would do in the future.  This avoids people giving the “right” answer that they think you want to hear and allows you to verify their answers through reference checks. 

    Instead of asking “if things go wrong, how would you handle it with your boss” ask “tell me about a time when things went wrong with a project you were working on.  Did you involve your boss, and if so, how?”

    Perhaps before asking where someone wants be in three years, you could ask what they were doing three years earlier – gives a true pattern of their career path, rather than an imagined one.

    I also wonder about the absence of questions about working in a team vs individually.  I don’t see any question getting to the root of this, but perhaps it just doesn’t fit under the H3S formula.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000188228562 Lolita Lowden

      I was going to say the same thing about behavioral questions and ability to work with a team.  As much as possible, all questions should be behavioural.  An example of a team one would be:  Provide an example of a time you worked in a group
      where there was a problem or conflict.  What happened?  What role did you
      play?  Another team question that I have found helpful is: What do you find most frustrating about working in
      a team?
      You can google to find lots of examples of behavioural questions.  Here’s one site I quickly found:  http://www.jobinterviewquestions.org/questions/behavioral-questions.asp

      I would also ask questions related to the specific job the person is being hired for.  e.g. If you are hiring a person to work with children: Describe your key experiences working with this age group.  Or: Can you give a specific example of how you handled
      a problem child who was disruptive?

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      You have a perceptive approach to Michael’s questions. I’m reminded of Jon Acuff’s “Quitter,” where he suggests the best way to discover your future is to reflect upon your past.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is a very good insight. Thanks.

      With regard to teamwork, I didn’t intend this to be a comprehensive list, just a baseline. As part of the interview process, I would ask them those kinds of questions, as well as let some of their prospective teammates interview them.
      Thanks.

  • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

    Typically I am interviewing potential managers in a fairly stressful industry so I am looking for people that can operate calmly in that environment.

    Probably my favorite question to ask in an effort to gauge their response to stress is this (best asked in the middle of the interview)…

    How would you respond if I told you this interview is not going so well at this point?

    You would be amazed at the wide variety of responses.  I have had some stand up to leave, reach out their hand, and say, “Thanks for the opportunity.”  I have had others remain calm and ask for my reasons.  The best response was, “Well, evidently you just haven’t asked enough questions yet!”

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      That question is amazing! Your best responder showed great wisdom and confidence. You hooked my curiosity and now it’s time to reel it in. Did you hire the person?

      • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

        I honestly do not remember who it was…it has been a couple of years.  I am pretty sure I hired him, but I am also pretty sure he is no longer here.

        You are right, though.  He was very confident (and not overly so).

  • Rob Sorbo

    In James Emery White’s most recent blog post he talked about how he didn’t know how to lead basic ministerial functions (baptism, weddings, etc) after graduating from seminary.

    Maybe part of the Smart section should assess if the person actually knows what they’re doing, or if they just have a piece of paper that says they do.

    • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

      That’s a great question. I know some people who have fallen into the trap of getting a degree but not much education.

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    I like to ask them to elaborate on their three biggest weaknesses. I’ve learned that people can easily give a “rehearsed” answer to their weaknesses, but if asked to perhaps how they grow in those weaknesses, you can sometimes see who is truly humble. 

    • http://everydaysnapshots.com Dave Anthold

      In contrast to that, if someone has taken any of the personality type assessments (Myers-Briggs, StrengthsFinder, etc) – ask them to tell you what insight those assessments provided & how they have used the insight to help direct them in their life or career.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        I like to do that, too. As a matter of the interview process, I always have them take one or two of these tests. My favorites are StrengthsFinder and Myers-Briggs. (I also occasionally use DiSC.)

      • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

        Great points Dave!

  • https://turnerbethany.wordpress.com/ turner_bethany

    I am going to keep this list handy for the interviews I conduct & for when preparing for personal interviews. I think these would also be great questions to use in a conversation with a mentor or accountability partner. Great for self-reflection and relationship building. 

  • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

    What a great list of questions!  I will definitely print this out and use this list – thanks so much!

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    These questions definitely are worth some reflection time. As I read through them, I recognize how they offer me the opportunity for an in-depth personal review, one to assess my own strengths, weaknesses, direction, etc.

    For me, curiosity is an important element. Under the “smart” questions, I’d add: What intrigues you? It’s in the arena of interests but, if you ask me “interests,” I think about hobbies. If you use the word “intrigues,” I think in a different direction.

    An additional note, an interest seems safer to me. The things that intrigue me are less so.

  • Kari Weston

    Finally questions that cannot be answered via Google!  So very smart, Michael…kiss your brain!

  • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

    Knowing what you know of this position, how would you help prepare someone for it? 

    How would you respond to conflict? Example: Someone comes to you accusing you or the company of something that is not true.

    I had an interview once for an internship for a Jr. High ministry where I had to list my three greatest strengths. When I got done the man told me those just seemed like things any Christian should exhibit and wanted me to come up with three other ones. I was not prepared for that, but it has helped me really evaluate my strengths so I am better prepared next time.

  • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

    Share the last risk you took.

    What is a hobby you have?

    If applying for a ministry job, how do you connect with God and grow your faith?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Three great questions. Thanks.

  • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

    What if employees had to answer these questions a year or two into the job?

  • Anonymous

    Excellent list! I’d even call it ‘exhaustive’ (I understand you don’t ask all questions in all interviews)

    I might ask one question at the intersection of ‘hungry’ and ‘smart’ — “Thoreau once said, ‘Don’t tell me what is new — tell me what is never old.’ What’s the bedrock of your personal philosophy? Where do you go for wisdom, and what is the wisdom that guides you in times of turmoil?”

    (For me it’s the ‘great teaching’ — Love the Most High God with all your heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Would I say this in a job interview? Yes, I think I would, for two reasons. First, it’s honest. Second, every decision I make on the job is tempered by the compassion that comes from the second part of this teaching.)

    (Third, if I’m disqualified because this proves offensive to the interviewer. would I want to work there anyway??)

  • Curtis O Fletcher

    Whoa…I only ask one question, the rest is just conversation. The one question: “Romeo and Juliette and lying dead on the floor in a puddle of water and broken glass. There are no marks on the bodies. How did they die? You can ask yes or no questions, as many as you like, go.”

    I learn more about how people think, process information and problem solve by asking that question than I do by asking the standard ones. But then, I am freakishly odd at times.

    • Rob Sorbo

      Is there a right answer to that question? Or is it only to see their thought process?

      • Curtis O Fletcher

        There is a right answer. It’s really interesting to watch people’s path to get to it.

        • http://twitter.com/KellyCombs Kelly Combs

          I know this one.  It deals with assumptions, doesn’t it?  

          • http://www.gailsangle.com Gail

            Does it work if they already know the answer? Cos if they do it will be a short conversation… (goldfish).

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      No, THAT’S creative!

  • Fred Lian

    A question I have found to provide helpful insights is: What person has had the greatest impact on your life, and why?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I like that question, too. Thanks.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    – How do you define success…and how do you measure up to your owndefinition?
    — What would you say to your boss if he’s crazy about an idea, but you think itstinks?stinks?

  • http://everydaysnapshots.com Dave Anthold

    These are fantastic questions and I will certainly begin to work through these questions for my own benefit, not just if I was looking for a position.

    I would add:

    – Are you currently mentoring someone?  (in or out of work) What is your approach?
    – Are you currently being mentored?  What does that relationship look like & how does it operate?

    – If you are working in your strength zone, how do you surround yourself with others to fill your weaker areas?

    – How do you develop and lead high performing teams?  What are your key ingredients to this success?

    – Do you regularly take vacation?  If not, why?  
    – How do you renew, refresh and rejuvenate yourself so that you continue to operate well?

    Just a few of the things, I am asking myself these days.  Thanks for the great questions.

  • Rick Christian

    I always toss in a several curve balls late in the interview, unconnected to anything, to see how quickly candidates can shift their thought process from expected questions:  “What is 6 x 7?” and “Can you tell me a good joke?”  Also, once a sense of connection is established, I ask:  “What is the greatest hurt of your life?”  My hires often hinge on these three.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Those are great questions. I’ll bet you get some interesting answers!

    • TKB

       I do this as well.  The industry I work in the potential employee needs to have lots of compassion…one way I’ve tried to find this out is by asking this question…

      “Tell me about your favorite childhood memory” 

      BOY have I heard some funny stuff but it also gives me a little glimpse of who this person is/was…

      the funniest answer I received…and now I can not hardly ask this question without cracking up!  This lady told me her favorite childhood memory was when she locked her mother in a closet and wouldn’t let her out!  LOL  Needless to say she didn’t get the position! 

  • http://twitter.com/peteccsb Peter Guirguis

    These questions are insanely awesome, thanks so much Mike!  I’m interviewing a candidate on Dec. 7th Lord willing, and I can’t wait to try out some of these questions :-)

    One of my favorite in this list was, “Do you think that telling a ‘white lie’ is ever justified ‘for the greater good’?”  I think is a great question that can really give some great insight about a candidate’s  personal integrity.

  • BCosby

    Two questions I always ask:

    1. Tell me about one success you had this past year, big or small, and why you are proud of it.
    2. Tell me about one failure you had this past year and what you learned from it.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jamie.yap Jamie Yap

    The questions under ‘hungry’ are empowering. More than just questions to ask during the first interview, these questions (all of them) is a rule for a person to gauge their personal growth. Thanks Michael, though I’m not planning to leave my current employment, I do see where I’m heading towards from these questions.

  • http://www.frymonkeys.com Alan Kay

    These are great questions. Choosing a
    person creates a new situation. Different kinds of people will create different
    situation / direction. So, should we choose a person, or a future situation based
    on the future we (and they) want?
    I’d add some forward facing questions like:- What
    makes you think you would be a good candidate for the position?- Which
    goals of the organization do you think you can best help us achieve?- Suppose
    you were hired for this position. How would I know you were a good choice?- Suppose
    you accepted an offer from us. How would you know you made a good choice?

  • http://www.gailsangle.com Gail

    Reading through both the post and everyone’s comments there are a bucket load full of great questions to choose from. But remember, the questions need to match the type/level of job you’re interviewing for. 
    In all honesty there are some roles where the job would bore most of us to death in minutes so you’re looking for someone who wants consistancy and stability in their work more than one who has initative and drive.
    You get the person who best answered the questions for the position you asked about. This isn’t always the position on you’re filling.

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  • Kjreusser

    When I hired college students to work at the college library, I asked them, What contribution do you think you can make for us here? That usually stumped them b/c they were usually looking for a job with air conditioning!

  • Anonymous

    Great questions to share with the readers. As a manager these are important questions to ask, thank you. This post was helpful.

  • Kondareddykarri

    for the Q.21….what u didn’t learn in school?
    you can add up the nxt question depending on the ans. ,DID U LEARN IT LATER WHEN U REALIZED,THAT U WERE NOT TAUGHT AT SCHOOL?

  • http://checkmatesystem.com Mary

    You know you are reading a great blog when the comments are as good a read as the original post!

  • http://specializingintheimpossible.wordpress.com/ Laura Johnson

    I printed this list off, to help me prepare for interviews in the, hopefully, not too distant future. Thank you for the invaluable input :)

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZVUD372U7ECG5MFUM4TQ2ESIOY Brenda

    I believe this article has covered the basics and more,  very well written.

  • http://questionstoaskduringaninterview.net/behavioral-interview-answers-and-questions-to-ask-during-an-interview/ Sean

    Thanks for the great article, not only is this a powerful resource for those giving an interview, but persons with upcoming interviews should read this list and be prepared to answer and number of these questions.

  • Meg Crossman

    I’m rather surprised that there is nothing in this list that seeks to capture where the person being interviewed is in their walk with the Lord.  I would certainly ask about that.  Also, I’d ask them, “Who are you accountable to?” and “What is the most recent step of obedience which the Lord has required of you?”

    • Darcy Hastings

      In most places discrimination on religious grounds is breaking the law.

  • Jyothika S

    Good post.!!Thanks for sharing..!!

     freshers jobs

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  • Mario Morales

    1)      Which of the following:
    cognitive, emotional, relational, or spiritual intelligence would you value
    more in a candidate you are thinking of hiring for this position if you were in
    my position?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I wouldn’t pick one. I think it is the combination of all of them that is important.

  • Thamsanqa Nkubele

    what is the first question that an employer asks in an interview? i’m going for an interview in a week time so i need to be prepared as i have not been to any formal interview.

  • Quiozon Marcoapollo

    what kind of job you don’t want to do?

  • Stephensantarneka

    I have an interview for a call center job, I always freeze up when an interviewer asks why should we hire you please help

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Perhaps you could think through the “talking points” in advance of the interview. Think through why you are the best person for the job, write those down, and memorize them. Then, when you are asked, you can give a confident answer. Thanks.

  • http://www.rozee.pk/jobs-in-hyderabad Jobs in Hyderabad Pakistan

    I have encounter so many time during interview and I know what interviewer is looking in you while asking such questions.

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  • Tim Fouracre
  • New girl

    Great post. I find myself having to conduct my first interviews from the hiring side, as my more senior colleague is suddenly unavailable to do so. I feel comfortable speaking about the position we are offering, but these questions really help gauge a prospective’s level of interest in the world around them, which is a hard thing to get a feel for in a 30-minute meeting. Thank you for this resource.

  • mahir

    this is quite helping

  • prakhar

    i am suppose to give an interview tomorrow in a software company what kind of questions can i ask to make an impact rather than asking what will be my goals and role in ur company