Hiring the Right Candidate: 14 Job Interview Questions You Should Ask

Whether you are an employee or employer, the interview process is a grueling one.  There is so much time involved that many of us treat it as an inconvenience. Yet, with the right amount of strategy invested into this time, this can be a life-changing and business-changing experience. 

Throughout this “Hiring the Right Candidate” series I have been speaking primarily to the employer. However, as a prospective employee, you can heed the following advice and take advantage of giving yourself a much better chance in the hiring process next time.
Let’s recap the steps we’ve covered so far in “Hiring the Right Candidate”. As a filter for your hiring, you have sent out a DiSC personality test that the candidate is to bring with them to the interview.  Make sure they have it with them when they arrive.  The candidate should show up at least 5 minutes before the interview.  If they are late – do not interview them. If they are late, but have called ahead – only interview them if you have time. Try to schedule all the interviews on 1 day so that at the end of that long day you can compare and contrast the interviewees.

I recommend doing these interviews with a co-worker of the opposite sex to gain both perspectives on the candidate.  Men and women think differently and see and hear things differently. Capitalize on this by having both in the interview room with the candidate.
Asking the right questions draws out truth in the interview process.  Here are the questions that I ask every time on a first interview – and, yes, I can get them all answered in 25 minutes. Keep in mind that this first interview is for you to see if you are interested in bringing them back for a second interview which will be much more interactive and conversational.


  1. What was it about the job posting that made you apply?
  2. What are your natural gifts, talents & abilities?
  3. Describe for me the perfect job based on this gifting?
  4. Why are you thinking about a change?
  5. What did you like about your last job?
  6. What did you not like about your last job?
  7. What did you like about your last boss?
  8. What did you not like about your last boss?
  9. What do you do for fun?
  10. Mom/dad still alive? – If I called them and asked what are the one or two things you need to work on – the things that drive them crazy – what would they say?
  11. Have you experienced a time where you told the truth and it hurt you? If so, describe it to me.
  12. Describe your view of life to me – what’s it all about?
  13. What are you looking for in a boss and a job environment?
  14. What are your long-term goals?


During this 1st interview, as you ask these questions, take copious notes and consider the following things:

All these questions are designed to determine...

  1. Character
  2. Personality
  3. Communication skills

All the while you are watching for...

  1. How they are dressed
  2. Eye contact
  3. Are they conveying a consistent story?
  4. Character qualities – what are they?  Do they listen or interrupt?
  5. Personality traits – what do you observe about their behavior?
  6. What skills do they have?  Are they trainable?

In order to determine...

  1. Long-term fit – are their long-term goals a fit with organization?
  2. Are they a personality fit – may have skills but because of personality they might clash/cause conflict – not good harmony.
  3. Did you enjoy being with them?  Did they bring peace with them or drama?

When you have 8 to 10 people to compare after a day of interviewing the process of identifying the 2 or 3 strongest candidates to come back for a second interview is easy – just compare your notes and vote.

As you can see the interview process can be much more strategic and effective with a well thought out plan.  You are hiring a candidate that will become a valuable team member.  You will be paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next several years; make sure your investment pays off.  Take the time at the beginning.

NEXT WEEK:  2nd Interviews and the Test Drive.

About the Author, Jim Brangenberg

Jim's Mission: To transform Christian-run businesses through mentoring Christian Business Owners (CBOs) by incorporating the servant leadership of Jesus Christ in their businesses, their home life and their walk with Christ.

Jim Brangenberg