The interviewing process is inherently flawed as it requires an organization, within a matter of a few hours or less, to make a hiring decision that has long term consequences. The same is true on the other side of the table; the candidate has limited information on which to base a life-changing choice.

The best the supervisor can hope for is to ask compelling questions that reveal nuances and truths about the candidate, and to learn insights beyond the superficial and standard answers. Toward that end, I have compiled a list of 70 interview questions that I have used throughout my career. These are general questions from which you can pick and choose, and of course pair with questions that are job-specific. They can also provide some interesting answers when used as ice breakers at staff meetings or in conversation with mentees.

The questions may also help those who are preparing for interviews. While there is no way to formulate answers to everything, as a candidate, it does help to review sample questions in advance and consider potential answers. Even if you aren’t asked the exact question, the principle behind it will likely be raised.

These questions have been compiled over time, by making notes on good questions that others ask or that I have been asked. I’d encourage you to keep your own list and add to this one. The stakes are high in the hiring process, and it is always worth the extra effort to make the outcome the best it can be.

What’s your favorite interview question? I’d love for you to share it and I’ll add it to my list!

beth triplett

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

One comment

  1. Thanks for sharing beth! I had a situation today and actually thought of you- do you have a list of competencies someone should have if they are supervising? I know NACA puts out general competencies but I have a direct report that is looking to create a performance goal of becoming a better supervisor this year. Instead of just guessing, I thought you might have a suggestion of where you look for a list of professional supervision competencies. Thanks! -Courtney,


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