31 Interview Questions to Ask When Hiring Nice People


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Hiring people with the right technical skills? That’s becoming routine, if never easy. But hiring people who are going to do right by my clients and employees? That’s even tougher. There’s no “right” way to predict whether or not you’re going to hire a client dud or rockstar, but there are queries you can ask during the interview process that will help you understand whether or not the candidate sitting in front of you will get the job done.

A great question will force the candidate to think, get them out of their comfort zone and can reveal things that aren’t on their resume. While this list might seem long, you can offer it up to multiple members of your hiring team, or just ask various people to ask 1-2 questions.

Afraid to conduct multiple interviews? Here are some helpful tips:

Ask open-ended questions. Instead of asking something that can be easily answered with a yes or a no, try something that elicits a story from the candidate. Encourage applicants to tell you about specific real examples of something that illustrates that story.

Ask follow up questions. Not just to get the real scoop but to practice active listening. It’s hard to ask good follow ups if you’ve spent the last 20 minutes wondering if you left the garage door open.

Revisit certain areas. Ever kick yourself after an interview? That’s usually because you just came up with the answer to a question! Save your applicant this drama and the sore shins and ask something similar throughout the interview. Give them a second shot at that perfect job-winning answer.

Silence of the interviewers. Chatterboxing your way through an interview is a surefire way to miss clues and talk over someone who’s likely already nervous, so quit it. Also, when candidates have to talk to fill silence it gives you a chance to learn more than you otherwise might have if you’d have jumped right in.

  1. What appeals to you about this company/role?
  2. What does marketing mean to you?
  3. Name a time when marketing or advertising has influenced you?
  4. Tell me a time when you received poor service. Describe.
  5. How did you resolve this?
  6. Tell me about a time when you were really proud of your work.
  7. Have you ever had an unfair boss or teacher? How so? How did you resolve this?
  8. Would you change how you handled it if it happened today?
  9. Tell me about a time when you’ve received negative feedback. What did you learn?
  10. Same question. In the past when you’ve received praise what have you done with that information?
  11. Who do you most admire in this line of work?
  12. Have you ever had to say “no” to a work request? Why and how did you do it?
  13. What is your response when you don’t know the answer to a question?
  14. How do you approach learning a new skill?
  15. Have you ever had to teach a new skill? How do you teach?
  16. Give me an example of a time you had to use your judgment instead of a policy book?
  17. Have you ever been in a PR disaster? What was it? How did you handle it?
  18. How do you handle when you’ve made a mistake?
  19. Tell me about one of your biggest successes.
  20. How well do you adapt to change as compared to other people?
  21. What is the last new skill you learned?
  22. How has your education prepared you for your career?
  23. Tell me about a time when you were a team player.
  24. Where do you see yourself in three years?
  25. Tell me about a time when you exercised leadership.
  26. How would co-workers describe you?
  27. What do your first 30 days look like in this role?
  28. How would you fire someone?
  29. What was the last book you read?
  30. What gets you up in the morning?
  31. What are you better at today than at this time last year?

About Maren Hogan:

Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer, writer and business builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. Founder and CEO of Red Branch Media, an agency offering marketing strategy and outsourcing and thought leadership to HR and Recruiting Technology and Services organizations internationally, Hogan is a consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques. She has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies and been a thought leader in the global recruitment and talent space. You can read more of her work on Forbes, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, and her blog Marenated.


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