25 Interview Question Ideas to Try at Your Small Business
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Keep Your Candidates on Their Toes With These 25 Interview Question Ideas

woman and man shaking hands before an interview

What is your interview process like? Do you have a thoroughly planned-out system? Or, do you just ask candidates the first questions that come to mind? If you struggle with thinking up interview questions to ask, you’ve come to the right place. Use these 25 interview question ideas to keep your candidates on their toes and hire the best.

25 Interview question ideas

When it comes to business interview questions, there are a number of different types of questions you can ask your candidates. Consider mixing in other kinds of questions into your interview to go beyond the standard ones. The key is asking the right questions at the right time.

Need some ideas for interview questions? Here are six types of questions you can ask:

  1. Icebreakers
  2. Common questions
  3. Behavioral questions
  4. Skills-based questions
  5. Situational questions
  6. Out-of-the-box questions

Icebreakers

Icebreaker interview questions give your candidates a chance to loosen up before getting into the more difficult and serious questions. They can also help eliminate any awkwardness or nervousness for the candidate. Check out a few basic icebreakers below.

1. How are you doing?

2. Tell me about yourself.

3. Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?

Common questions

Common questions are a great way to ease into other types of interview questions. These are the kinds of questions you hear in most interviews. And although they’re common, asking these types of questions lets you get to know your candidates a little better before diving into the hardcore questions. Here are a few common questions you can add to the mix.

4. Tell me five adjectives that describe you.

5. What are your biggest strengths?

6. Tell me what you know about our company.

7. What are three opportunities (weaknesses) you have?

8. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Behavioral questions

Behavioral questions require candidates to share specific examples of how they handled situations they’ve been in. These questions give you insight into how the candidate has used their skills in the past and what skills they may lack. Not to mention, behavioral questions allow you to assess your candidate’s character and behavioral patterns (hence the name). Take a look at a few examples of behavioral questions.

9. Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?

10. Describe a time when you had to interact with a difficult customer. What was the situation, and how did you handle it?

11. Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with the situation?

12. Give me an example of a time you managed multiple responsibilities at once. What did you do?

13. Tell us about a situation where your communication skills made a difference.

Skills-based questions

Skills-based questions give you a chance to learn what skills your candidate possesses. Chances are, you are likely looking to hire someone with a specific set of skills. These questions let you break down your candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and determine whether or not the candidate is a good fit for the job. Check out some skills-based questions below.

14. What skills do you need to develop most?

15. What specific skills do you possess that make you a good fit for this position?

16. How would you rate your communication skills?

17. What skills do you enjoy using most? Why?

Situational questions

Situational questions are similar to behavioral questions. With situational questions, you ask candidates questions about how they would handle certain situations in the workplace. Situational questions give you the opportunity to see how the candidate would react to specific scenarios. Take a peek at some situational questions you can use in your interview process.

18. How would you handle an instance of receiving criticism from a superior?

19. What would you do if you were asked to perform a task you’ve never done before?

20. What would you do if you were assigned to work closely with a colleague on a project, but you two just couldn’t seem to see eye-to-eye?

21. How would you handle it if your team resisted a new idea or policy you introduced?

22. What would you do if you made a mistake that no one else noticed?

Out-of-the-box questions

Although asking out-of-the-box or nonsense interview questions might seem like a waste of time for you and your candidate, they can be a great tool. Sure, asking out-of-the-box questions might seem silly. But, they’re not predictable, so they force your candidate to truly think about their response. To keep candidates on their toes, ask a couple of out-of-the-box interview questions, like the ones below.

23. If you were a brick on a wall, which one would you be?

24. If you could travel back in time, where would you go?

25. Who would play the lead role in a movie about your life?

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This article was updated from its original publication date of September 6, 2011.

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