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Favorite Interview Questions

CondorI can’t take credit for all of my favorite interview questions, but I’ve used them over and over again in the last few years, as I’ve interviewed literally hundreds of candidates for various  positions.    Yes, there are the regular, run-of-the mill questions about a candidate’s education, job history, and the like, but my truly favorite interview questions are those which really make the person stop and think.  They give me a small window into how the person thinks, especially under pressure.

Here’s my List of 7 Favorite Interview Questions:

  1. Tell me about your hobbies.  I’m particularly interested to hear about hobbies that someone is passionate about, even if they are unrelated to the current job.  They show me that the candidate has some depth.  I personally tend to pass on the people who tell me that they spend all of their time studying, and thus don’t have any extra time to pursue any other hobbies.  It makes me wonder how they will handle the myriad requests that we throw at our team, and the multitasking that is frequently expected. 
  2. Name 10 things you can do with a pencil that don’t include writing. True story, I asked my own daughter this question, and the first 5 things she came up with involved destruction of some-sort with this question.  But when we were able to get to well over 100 different items for this one at dinner one evening, it went up my list.  Bonus points for a candidate if they come up with something we haven’t thought of before.
  3. Tell me about your favorite class and explain why it’s your favorite. Honestly, if you can’t answer this one (and are currently in school), I just pass over the resume.  I frequently will get an answer of “I love all of my classes”.  In this case, you’ve failed to answer my question, and maybe are trying to deflect, but truly, I want to see how someone thinks, and this shows that they either are unwilling to play ball, or really don’t have a clue.
  4. Tell me about your least favorite class and why it’s your least favorite.  This one goes with the question above.  I think I’ve always had favorite and least favorite classes, but always had a reason at least.
  5. Tell me about X on your Resume. If you say you speak a certain language, I may decide to interview you in that language.  Let me just say that if you put it on your resume, it’s fair game.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
  6. What do you hope to gain from this job? This tells me that they’ve given some thought to the job for which they’re applying, and why it might be a fit.
  7. What things do you think will challenge you the most in this position? I don’t ask them this question right off the bat, but if it’s a second interview, this question is fair game.  It is interesting to hear their thoughts.

What are your favorite interview questions?

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1 comment

  1. Angela Pitts

    I would ask the candidate how well they manage change and to give an example of a period when a major change impacted their life, school work, or professional work and how they handled it.

    In technology, change is enivatable. Overall project schedules change, the underlying technology can change, assignments change, and most challenging of all to deal with for some people, budgets get cut and projects get cancelled, all for many reasons. When asking this question you have to watch body language. See how anxious or nervous the candidate feels. If they can’t think of an example, you may have to ask some leading questions.

Please let us know what you think!

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