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Interview Questions

Caveat: As of the time of writing this article I believe all the following
questions are legal and can be asked of an interviewee. However,
laws and regulations differ from state to state, and there may
be differences between state and federal laws and regulations. Finally,
laws and regulations change frequently and quickly. Therefore,
I urge you to review these questions with your company’s attorney
to be sure they meet all legal and regulatory requirements.

Interviewing prospective employees is a challenging—and often
difficult—process. What questions should I ask, and what will
the answers tell me? The questions listed under each topic are
designed to elicit the prospective employee’s attitude toward that
topic, to determine if the interviewee has even thought through
the process of interviewing with your company, and to learn if
he will fit with your company and with other employees.

When you prepare for the interview, you should have an idea
of what the “right” answers are to each. By “right,” I mean those
answers that indicate the interviewee may be a good fit. Of
course, these questions and the “right” answers to them are no
guarantee of hiring the “right” person.

Knowledge of Organization

  • Why do you think you would like to work for our company?
    what interests you about our product or service?

  • Tell me what you know about our company.
  • How do you compare our company with others in the field?

Career Plans or Goals

  • In what type of position are you most interested?
  • What kind of work interests you?
  • Toward which job in our company do you want to work?
  • What job would you choose if you had your pick of any?
  • What are your career plans?
  • List the personal characteristics you feel are necessary for success
    in your field.

  • Describe for me the “ideal” boss.

Work Experience

  • Which of your qualifications make you feel you will be successful
    in this job! Why?

  • What previous jobs have you held?
  • How were you treated by previous employers?
  • Why are you leaving your present employment?
  • What have you learned from previous jobs and bosses?
  • What jobs did you enjoy most? Least? Why?
  • What would make you want to leave our company?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Describe your “ideal” work situation.
  • What are your special abilities?
  • How would your coworkers describe you? How would your
    bosses describe you?

  • What motivates you?

Job Performance

  • What determines a person’s progress in a good company!
  • What criteria would you use to evaluate subordinates?
  • Describe a good attendance record.
  • Were you fairly evaluated by your last/current employer? Why?

Pay and Benefits

  • What are your salary/commission/hourly expectations to
    start with us?

  • What are your compensation expectations for two years
    from now?

  • How do you feel about bonuses as part of your income?

Personality and General

  • What activities do you enjoy most?
  • What kind of boss do you prefer? Why?
  • What are your major strengths? Weaknesses?
  • With what types of people do you find it difficult to deal?

About the Author

L. Douglas Mault is president of the Executive Advisory Institute,
Yakima, Wash.

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