Interviewing candidates: 30 great questions to ask ...

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Interview questions come in all flavors, from the straightforward (" What's your biggest weakness?") to the just plain weird ("If you were an animal, what kind would you be?"). But the best questions focus on what applicants know how to do and how they do it. Here are 30 sample questions that probe into a variety of skills:

Initiative

  1. What do you do differently than other people in your occupation?

  2. Give me an example of a time you did more than was required in your job.

  3. Tell me about an idea you generated. How did it work out?

  4. What frustrates you at work, and what do you do about it?

    Integrity

  5. Do you feel some rules should be obeyed more stringently than others?

  6. Did you ever have to deal with a co-worker who wasn't pulling his/her weight? What did you do about it?

    Leadership

  7. Tell me about a time you had to gain the cooperation of a group over which you had little authority. How effective were you?

  8. Describe how you helped someone solve a problem. What did you do?

    Planning/time management

  9. Describe a typical workweek. How did you plan the week's activities?

  10. How do you determine which activities have top priorities on your time?

  11. Tell me about a time when you had to adapt quickly to change.

  12. Describe a time you had to sacrifice quality to meet a deadline.

    Sales skills

  13. What's the best method you've found to obtain new clients?

  14. How do your selling techniques differ from others you know?

  15. Describe your toughest sales experiences. Did you make the sale?

  16. Describe a typical sales encounter. What would you would say, and what's your closing style?

    Supervision

  17. What is the No. 1 thing that distinguishes superior staff from typical ones? As a manager, how do you grow that quality?

  18. How do you stay in the information loop and monitor your staff's performance?

  19. Give me an example of your ability to facilitate positive change in your organization.

  20. What kind of supervisor brings out your peak performance?

    Technical skills

  21. How did you keep up with the knowledge you need to do your job?

  22. Give an example of an especially difficult assignment or project...

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