Interview questions and structured interviewing
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Interview Questions to Assess Soft Skills

HR Magazine

Like any good HR professional, you've done a thorough job of defining the hard and soft skills your next hire should possess. Now you have to ask the right questions so you can find out if your applicants have the qualities you need. Here are some questions that have worked well for HR practitioners around the country.

Questions to reveal Integrity/ Honesty/ Trustworthiness

Discuss a time when your integrity was challenged. How did you handle it?

What would you do if someone asked you to do something unethical?

Have you ever experienced a loss for doing what is right?

Have you ever asked for forgiveness for doing something wrong?

In what business situations do you feel honesty would be inappropriate?

If you saw a co-worker doing something dishonest, would you tell your boss? What would you do about it?

Questions to reveal Personality/ Temperament/ Ability to Work with Others

What brings you joy?

If you took out a full-page ad in the New York Times and had to describe yourself in only three words, what would those words be?

How would you describe your personality?

If I call your references, what will they say about you?

Do you consider yourself a risk taker? Describe a situation in which you had to take a risk.

What kind of environment would you like to work in?

What kinds of people would you rather not work with?

What kinds of responsibilities would you like to avoid in your next job?

What are two or three examples of tasks that you do not particularly enjoy doing? Indicate how you remain motivated to complete those tasks.

What kinds of people bug you?

Tell me about a work situation that irritated you.

Have you ever had to resolve a conflict with a coworker or client? How did you resolve it?

Describe the appropriate relationship between a supervisor and subordinates.

What sort of relationships do you have with your associates, both at the same level and above and below you?

How have you worked as a member of teams in the past?

Tell me about some of the groups you've had to get cooperation from. What did you do?

What is your management style? How do you think subordinates perceive you?

As a manager, have you ever had to fire anyone? If so, what were the circumstances, and how did you handle it?

Have you ever been in a situation where a project was returned for errors? What effect did this have on you?

What previous job was the most satisfying and why?

What job was the most frustrating and why?

Tell me about the best boss you ever had. Now tell me about the worst boss. What made it tough to work for him or her?

What do you think you owe to your employer?

What does your employer owe to you?

Questions to reveal Past Mistakes

Tell me about an objective in your last job that you failed to meet and why.

When is the last time you were criticized? How did you deal with it?

What have you learned from your mistakes?

Tell me about a situation where you "blew it." How did you resolve or correct it to save face?

Tell me about a situation where you abruptly had to change what you were doing.

If you could change one (managerial) decision you made during the past two years, what would -that be?

If you had the opportunity to change anything in your career, what would you have done differently?

Questions to reveal Creativity/ Creative Thinking/ Problem Solving

When was the last time you "broke the rules" (thought outside the box) and how did you do it?

What have you done that was innovative?

What was the wildest idea you had in the past year? What did you do about it?

Give me an example of when someone brought you a new idea, particularly one that was odd or unusual. What did you do?

If you could do anything in the world, what would you do?

Describe a situation in which you had a difficult (management) problem. How did you solve it?

What is the most difficult decision you've had to make? How did you arrive at your decision?

Describe some situations in which you worked under pressure or met deadlines.

Were you ever in a situation in which you had to meet two different deadlines given to you by two different people and you couldn't do both? What did you do?

What type of approach to solving work problems seems to work best for you? Give me an example of when you solved a tough problem.

When taking on a new task, do you like to have a great deal of feedback and responsibility at the outset, or do you like to try your own approach?

You're on the phone with another department resolving a problem. The intercom pages you for a customer on hold. Your manager returns your monthly report with red pen markings and demands corrections within the hour. What do you do?

Describe a sales presentation when you had the right product/service, and the customer wanted it but wouldn't buy it. What did you do next?

Miscellaneous Good Questions

How do you measure your own success?

What is the most interesting thing you've done in the past three years?

What are your short-term and long-term career goals?

Why should we hire you?

What responsibilities do you want, and what kinds of results do you expect to achieve in your next job?

What do you think it takes to be successful in a company like ours?

How did the best manager you ever had motivate you to perform well? Why did that method work?

What is the best thing a previous employer did that you wish everyone did?

What are you most proud of?

What is important to you in a job?

What do you expect to find in our company that you don't have now?

Is there anything you wanted me to know about you that we haven't discussed?

Do you have any questions for me?


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