Using a standard list of hiring questions to interview employees helps employers compare candidates more easily and get better information on job applicants.
Best Job Interview Questions to Ask:
These are some of our favorite questions to ask. We've tested these out in many real interviews and have gotten great results. These questions will work for almost any job.
1. What is your current and expected salary?
If their current salary is more than you can pay, or their expected salary is much more, you know there’s no point in going further. End the interview early, because people will rarely accept a job that pays less than what they currently make, or well below what they expect, and when they do, they don’t last long.
This question also gives you an instant gauge of where they are in their career and how to interview them. Someone making entry-level wages is probably newer to their career. A candidate making something nearer to the top of the pay scale is probably more senior and should be interviewed accordingly.
The question will also give you a sense of how much their previous employer valued them. As you can see, the answer to this one question really packs a lot of info.
2. What mistakes do others commonly make in this job?
If they haven’t thought about the common mistakes people in this position make, they won’t know when they are making them. This will give you some insight into how well they know the job, as well as their level of self-awareness.
Our first question will already pay off here because it tells us how deep of an answer we should expect. If they were making senior-level wages, or are expecting them, they should provide a very in-depth answer.
3. Why are you leaving your current position?
The main reason for asking this is to make sure the reason they’re leaving doesn’t cause them to leave you too. For example, if they’re leaving because they don’t like working weekends, and you’ll also be requiring them to work weekends, it's not going to work.
This question also provides you with ammo for the offer stage. For example, if they wanted more paid time off, and you offer more than most companies, you’ll want to highlight this at offer time.
The other thing you want to see is if they have negative things to say about their current employer. Most job seekers know not to trash talk their last employer, and if they do, it’s probably a sign that they just can’t help themselves.
4. Talk to me about the most successful idea you’ve taken from zero to launch.
It will show you where they’ve taken initiative, how they go about organizing their ideas and putting them into action, and what kind of projects they’re ready to oversee.
If you get someone who says they've made senior-level wages or is asking for them, you should be alarmed if their biggest project isn't very big or ambitious, or if they're vague on the details of it.
5. Tell me about your favorite [product, service, etc., in your industry].
This question gives you an idea of how closely they follow the industry and industry trends, and what they consider to be a success in the position and solid execution. This question gives you an idea of what they aspire to be in the job, and what they admire in other people and companies.
- Behavioral interview questions
- Second interview questions
- 25 common interview questions
- See our directory of interview questions for specific jobs here
The interview forms just part of a greater strategy. Read our article on Full Life Cycle Recruiting to see where the interview fits in the journey from attracting potential employees to eventually bringing them onboard.