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20 ‘Silver Bullet’ Interview Questions That Identify Great Job Applicants


Interview questions come in all flavors. Sometimes, they’re straightforward—“Tell me about yourself.” Sometimes, they’re a mini intelligence test—“Tell me how you think they make M&Ms.” Sometimes, they’re just plain weird—“If you were an animal, what kind would you be?”

But the best interview questions are behavior-based queries that focus on what applicants know how to do and how they do it. They’ll help you zero in on a candidate’s skills, knowledge and temperament—the kind of information you need to pick the right person for the job. Some examples:

  • How can we best reward you for doing a job well done?
  • What have your mistakes taught you?
  • What frustrates you at work, and what do you do about it?
  • How do you like to be managed?
  • What kind of supervisor brings out your peak performance?
  •  What is the most useful criticism you ever received? Given?
  •  What one area of your performance do you struggle with?
  •  Tell me about a time when you had to adapt quickly to change.
  •  In your position, are you a risk taker or do you play it safe?
  • Describe a time you had to sacrifice quality to meet a deadline.
  • How do you stay current on industry trends and standards?
  • What do you think are key qualities for this position?
  • How has your current position prepared you for this job?
  • Have you ever been fired? Why?
  • What strategies do you use when you cannot solve a problem?
  • What are your three most effective business accomplishments?
  • What policies have you written and implemented?
  • Tell me about a time when your communication skills had an impact.
  • Tell me about a time when you missed a deadline.
  • Tell me about a time when you changed your plan mid-project.