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I'm part of an interview panel this week. I have only ever given a structured interview before (all panelists have a list of the same questions, and we use the same questions for all candidates; cannot lead the candidate; etc), whereas now I am being asked to evaluate the candidate for cultural fit, interest in the position (this is "just a conversation", we reached out to the candidate and do not have an actual open position), etc. I have the freedom to run my 1:1 interview however I see fit. We would consider the candidate for a hardware design engineering position at a startup firm.

In searching around on Workplace.SE, there's lots of input about what to expect as an interviewee, but not an interviewer. I want to ask good questions that properly evaluate the candidate without leading or otherwise biasing the process, and actually add value to our hiring process. (I also don't want to provide a bad candidate experience that might lead to a post on Workplace.SE!)

What types of questions should I ask the candidate?

closed as too broad by Philip Kendall, Philipp, mhoran_psprep, gnat, enderland Aug 7 '16 at 22:23

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Why the downvotes? I think this question fits under the Q&A format required by this site. I couldn't find any other questions answered on this site that look at how to approach an interview as an interviewer. – Dang Khoa Aug 7 '16 at 21:52
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    The downvotes and close votes are because this is far too broad. The questions that you'd ask the potential CEO of Microsoft are almost entirely different from the questions you'd ask a potential entry level worker at Macdonalds. – Philip Kendall Aug 7 '16 at 22:10
  • @PhilipKendall some commentary about that would be useful then, wouldn't it? I'll update the question with more specifics. Feel free to vote to close, though. – Dang Khoa Aug 7 '16 at 22:18
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Here are somethings I like to ask:

"Tell me about a time you failed, and what you learned from it?"

"How do you deal with disappointment?"

"You are faced with two competing deadlines for two different customers, either one will be late or both will. How do you address this problem?"

"You suspect a coworker is stealing, what do you do?"

"What unique qualities/skills will you bring to this position?"

"What do you do to get through a stressful situation?"

"You are dealing with an angry client who believes he has been treated poorly, how do you disarm this situation"

"What are your three greatest achievements on the job?"

"If you could change on thing in a past work environment, what would it be?"

"What is the most important thing you look for in an employer?"

  • @JoeStrazzere I don't like using the "Why are manhole covers round" question. And, as always, I don't care about the answer, but that's a question most won't expect. It's watching the reaction of the candidate. – Retired Codger Aug 8 '16 at 12:04

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