What is Your Favorite Interview Question? And Why Does it Help You Spot Great Potential Employees?

Conducting an interview is harder than it looks – any hiring manager can attest to that fact.

You’ve got to present as professional, manage expectations, and of course, ask the right questions. Every interviewer has one question that they feel is most effective or informative. What’s yours?

Here’s what business pros had to say about their favorite interview questions and how they discover great employees from the field.

Real-World Experience

You can’t judge someone off a resumé, and these days, experience is everything. Ask questions that encourage candidates to share stories and showcase their expertise beyond the CV.

“My favorite interview question is: what is an accomplishment in your career that you have been most proud of? This allows the manager to find out more about you and what your strengths are. I think it is also helpful when candidates are as detailed as possible when they answer the question.  If the candidate is the person the manager wants to hire, they need a strong reason to push that person ahead of other candidates who are coming armed with data and confidence to back up their expertise.” – Shaun Price, Head of Customer Acquisition at MitoQ

“One of the biggest mistakes many recruiters make when they hire is asking ‘what people know’ vs ‘what people can do’. We’ve found it’s imperative to place the majority of the value on direct, hands-on experience. This is a large part of what helps us retain employees, because our people know they are free to excel based on their own unique capabilities, to grow new skill sets, to go after new opportunities, and they will be supported when taking on new challenges and solving problems when they arise.” – Eric Kaye, Founder and Chief Evangelist at Kayezen

“See if the candidate has a story that encompasses their approach to work or life. Storytelling is a powerful skill in itself, and a good indicator that someone is sociable and easy to work with. If they can’t come up with one decent story on the spot – red flag.” – Aidan Cole, Co-Founder of Nailboo

Discover the Truth

An effective interview is all about cutting out the small talk and getting to the real, honest truth. That’s easier said than done, but asking the right questions can reveal so much.

“I find that the best answers highlight what an applicant is aspiring toward, rather than what they’re running from in their current job. If they immediately complain about their boss or current company, that tells you a lot. You can quickly tell if they’re a positive person and how they handle adversity.” Max Mullen, Co-Founder of Instacart

“I love to ask ‘where did they hear about the position?’ because the answer can tell me how to market my brand so I can attract the best candidates. This can help streamline the hiring process by filtering out the less qualified candidates. The question also lets me track any emerging trends so I can adjust my marketing strategy accordingly.” – Robert Applebaum, Owner of Applebaum MD

“There’s nothing wrong with asking about personal preferences in the workplace, what type of team member they are, and if they have any peeves or major dislikes. There’s no point in trying to be squeaky clean about these things because they’re going to be revealed eventually!” – Luke Hotchin, Co-Founder of Kenzzi

“I like to flip the script and ask what the applicant wants and expects from their next employer. The conversation goes both ways. High-performance people are clear with their expectations and have firm boundaries. Those are the people we want on our staff.” – James Sun, Founder of BeautyTap

Make it Personal

We’re not robots, after all. Learn more about the person and connect on a human level. See if they’re a good fit for your team and the organization as a whole.

“My favorite interview question is ‘what makes you get out of bed in the morning?’ This simple question is very revealing about what motivates the candidate. If the person is motivated by money, their family, or self-motivated – after asking this question you will know what motivates them.” – Lauren Picasso, CEO of Cure Hydration

“My favorite interview question is ‘what do you do in your free time?’ This question helps give me a better understanding of who the person is and what they enjoy doing outside of work. This is very helpful in determining if this person is a good culture fit for the company.” – Craig Carter, CEO of Jack Mason

“Take a minute for some small talk and get all the big-picture stuff out of the way. Education, hometown, background – all that stuff. It sets the stage for a more comfortable and productive conversation.” – Dylan Trussell, CMO of Culprit Underwear

“An interview can be nerve-wracking for both parties, so be professional but don’t be too uptight or stern-faced. You want the other person to open up and be authentic, so that starts with you doing the same.” – Ashwin Sokke, Co-Founder of WOW Skin Science

Visions of the Future

Plenty of applicants want the job now, and the paycheck that comes with it, but will they be there for the long haul? Think three steps ahead and ask questions accordingly.

“Asking candidates why they applied reveals whether they are the right fit for the job and the company. Employees who enjoy what they do – tend to excel. Find out what about the company resonated with the candidate that goes beyond wanting a paycheck. You’re looking for a long-term employee who will add value to the company.” – Chris Vaughn, CEO of Emjay

“I always want to find out whether a candidate is trying to advance within the company and the role they want in the near or distant future. It’s very helpful for both parties to talk about aspirations and how they see things playing out.” – Kelli Lane, CMO of Genexa

“My favorite interview question is ‘what are your professional strengths?’ because their answers say a lot about who they are and the value they add to the company. I look for candidates who respond with confidence over arrogance to maintain the culture. Knowing their professional strengths allows me to determine where they would best serve the company to help move us forward.” – Haim Medine, Creative Director and Co-Founder at Mark Henry Jewelry

“I like to ask about an applicant’s dream job, or if they have an ultimate goal or vision for their life. It’s an interesting subject to explore, and it shows if someone is ambitious and willing to work to get what they want. These are the people you want on your team.” – Lucas Nudel, CEO of Pride Palace

“There’s nothing wrong with asking about strengths and weaknesses, but it’s more effective to ask about what the person is doing to improve their skills and abilities. Are they taking courses or running a side business? You want to see proactive behavior and strong initiative.” – Brandon Monaghan, Co-Founder of Miracle Brand

Outside-the-Box Thinking

Creative questions demand creative answers, and it’s a good way to gauge how someone can think on their feet. Don’t hesitate to ask some questions out of left field.

“Describe a time when you received great customer service? This is a great question to ask if the future candidate will be interacting with customers. What did they value from their own personal experience with customer service, and how can they apply that to the job.” – Jordan Nathan, CEO of Caraway

“I ask who the person admires in a professional capacity. I want to discover a candidate’s values, and this is question is a strong indicator. What you admire in others says a lot about what’s really important in your life.” – Jules Walter, Co-Founder of CodePath.org

“What are you most proud of? This question is very revealing about the person’s values, goals, and accomplishments. You can learn more about the person and what motivates them to push through tough times and accomplish something.” – Darren Litt, Chairman and Co-Founder of MarketerHire

“What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever done? This answer can be either professional or personal. What hurdles did this person face and how did they overcome them? This can be really helpful in determining if this person is a good fit based on your position’s challenges, hurdles, and problems. Asking this question helps you decide if this person is a good fit for the position.” – Chris Gadek, Head of Growth at AdQuick

Sprinkle these questions throughout your next interview to better connect with candidates, find out who they really are, and determine if they’re the right person to add to your team.

About Ambika Taylor

Myself Ambika Taylor. I am admin of https://hammburg.com/. For any business query, you can contact me at [email protected]