The most effective interview questions are open-ended and based on the candidate's experiences. Use follow-ups to push for detail: "How did that make you feel?" "What exactly did you say?" "What precisely was your role?"
By Inc. staff | Aug 1, 2006
To Get At This
Have you ever had several projects with the same deadline? How do you tackle that?
Conscientiousness, coping skills, organization
Tell us about a time you failed at a task.
Response to adversity
How have you handled the last few angry customers you've come across?
Customer- and client- service skills
Tell us about a project for which you had fiscal responsibility. How did you stay on budget?
Ability to handle a budget
Tell us about a recent split-second decision you made on the job. How did you approach it?
Decisiveness and decision-making style
What's the last thing on which you and your boss disagreed? How did you settle it?
Manageability and communication style
Take us through the most significant presentation you've given to clients.
What was the most frustrating experience in your past job? The most satisfying?
Motivation and general temperament
Tell us about a time when the task you were given changed at the last minute.
Tell us about a time you took a risk and it failed. How did you feel?
Resilience and attitude toward risk
Stay Away From This...
Where does your husband work?
Marital status is out of bounds.
What holidays will you need off?
This could be construed as discriminating on the basis of religion.
Are you an American citizen?
However, "Are you authorized to work in the U.S.?" is fine.
How tall are you?
An exception: If there is a specific minimum requirement for the job.
Do you have any medical condition we should know about?
However, you can note that new hires will be subject to a medical exam.
Where is your family from? What kind of accent is that?
This could be construed as discriminating based on national origin or race.
When did you graduate from high school?
This could be gauging age, and age discrimination is not allowed.