Interview Questions and Answers for the Employers

Since cultural fit is a requirement for any employee to succeed, don't underestimate the power of these interview questions in determining whether your applicant fits your culture. With good fit, skills, and relevant experience, the new employee will succeed. Use these questions to assess cultural fit. See how to assess your candidate's responses to your interview questions about cultural fit.

Interview Questions to Assess Cultural Fit

These are sample interview questions that will help you assess whether your prospective employee is a good match with your workplace culture and environment for employees.

  • Describe the work environment or culture in which you are most productive and happy.
  • What are the characteristics exhibited by the best boss you have ever had - or wished that you have had?
  • In your experience, what how does an organization encourage your use of your discretionary energy and effort, that willingness each employee has, to go the extra mile, push harder, spend more time, and do whatever is necessary to get the job done?
  • Describe the management style that will bring forth your best work and efforts.
  • Describe what you believe are the most effective roles that a good manager plays in his or her relationship with reporting staff members.
  • Do you have a best friend at work? How do you feel about becoming friends with your coworkers? Is this a wise practice?
  • What are the positive aspects of your current job and work environment, or the last position you held before coming to this interview?
  • What is the single most important factor that must be present in your work environment for you to be successfully and happily employed? Now that you have answered that question, what were two others that you debated about before giving the response that you chose?
  • What is your preferred work style? Do you prefer working alone or as part of a team? What percentage of your time would you allocate to each, given the choice?
  • How would your coworkers describe your work style and contributions in your former job?
  • What are the three to five expectations that you have of senior leaders in an organization where you will work successfully?
  • Tell us about an occasion when you believe that you delighted a customer, either an internal or an external customer.
  • When you work with a team, describe the role that you are most likely to play on the team.
  • How would coworkers describe the role that you play on a team?
  • When working with people, in general, describe your preferred relationship with them.
  • How would reporting staff members describe their relationship with you? What would they like to see you do more of, less of, start, and stop?
  • Provide an example of a time when you went out of your way and jumped through hoops to delight a customer.
  • Tell us about a decision that you made that was made based primarily on customer needs and input.

As you seek and review your candidate's responses to your interview questions, keep these guidelines for assessing their interview question responses in mind. You'll hire better employees if you do. The following sample job interview questions enable you to assess what motivates the candidate that you are interviewing. They will help you assess your candidate's skill and ability in motivating employees in his or her former jobs as well as allowing you to assess his or her personal level of motivation. These questions help you discover what your candidate finds motivating at work. Every employer seeks employees who have an intrinsic motivation that is related to work. Because all candidates are motivated about something, you need to discover what that is during the interview. You also need to learn about your job candidate's ability to create a working environment for other employees that they find motivational. Whether the coworkers are reporting staff or colleagues and peers, fostering motivation in others is a needed skill.

Sample Motivation Interview Questions

Feel free to use these motivation job interview questions during your own candidate interviews.

  • Describe the work environment or culture in which you are the most productive and happy.
  • What's your biggest dream in life?
  • Imagine that you have received a coveted national award five years from now. Why did you receive the award, what is the award, and what are the circumstances under which you are receiving the award?
  • What goals, including career goals, have you set for your life?
  • How would you define success for your career? At the end of your work life, what must have been present for you to feel as if you had a successful career?
  • Talk to me about when you were seven or eight. Who did you want to be when you grew up?
  • Describe a work situation in which you can demonstrate that you encouraged the motivation of another person. Given that you can't motivate another person, what actions did you take that helped the coworker or reporting staff member experience feelings of motivation or choose motivated behavior?
  • Observing your coworkers, in your current or a past job, describe what actions, interactions, and encouragement motivated their best performance.
  • You are assigned to participate on a team that has several members who are not motivated to work hard and contribute. How have you in the past, or would you, if you were to experience it, approach this motivation situation?
  • In your experience, what draws forth your discretionary energy and effort, that willingness each person has, to go the extra mile, push harder, spend more time, do whatever it takes to get the job done?
  • What, in your experience, motivates your best, most successful job performance? Can you give us an example of this motivation in action in the workplace?
  • What role does your manager or supervisor play in your personal motivation at work?
  • Describe the actions and behaviors of your manager or supervisor that you respond to most effectively?
  • What actions, behaviors, or workplace events would limit or destroy your workplace motivation?
  • How have you coped in the past when an event or the actions of a person in your workplace adversely affected your personal motivation?

Motivation Job Interview Question Answers

Are you interested in learning more about how to listen to your candidate's answers to these motivation job interview questions? You can learn a lot about what motivates your prospective employee if you know what you need to listen for in their answers. These tips about how to assess your candidate's motivation interview question answers will assist you to select the best, most motivated, employees, for your organization. Do keep reading to see how to assess your candidate's answers to your questions about his or her personal motivation and approach to motivating others. You want to hire highly intrinsically motivated employees who have the ability to also create a work environment in which other employees will choose to be motivated. The following sample job interview questions about management and supervisory skillsenable you to assess your candidate's skills in management and supervision. Feel free to use these job interview questions in your own candidate interviews. Or, use them as a base to develop your own. As you interview potential candidates for your management roles, you will find out over time which questions yield the most useful information. You'll want to ask the questions that best support your final candidate selection.

Management Job Interview Questions That You Always Ask

Always ask these management interview questions. The interview question answers give you valuable knowledge about the candidate's experience. Ask:

    • How long have you worked as a manager?
    • How many employees reported directly to you in your management job? (You are asking about the number of employees whom he or she directly supervised with performance assessment and compensation assignment responsibilities.)
    • Describe the exact responsibilities and activities over which you had oversight for these employees.
    • Describe the overall responsibilities that you experienced in your management role.

Behavioral Management Interview Questions

  • If I were to interview the people who have reported to you in the past, how would they describe your management style?
  • If I were to interview your reporting staff members, how would they describe your strengths and weaknesses as a manager and supervisor?
  • Give me an example, from your past work experiences, about a time when you had an underperforming employee reporting to you. How did you address the situation? Did the employee's performance improve? If not, what did you do next?
  • Rate your management skills on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 representing excellent management skills. Provide three examples from your past work experiences that demonstrate your selected number is accurate.
  • Describe the work environment or culture in which you have experienced the most success.
  • Describe the management style of your manager that would bring out the best in your work-your capabilities, ability to contribute, and your daily engagement.
  • Tell me about a time when you had a reporting employee who performed very well. The employee exceeded goals and sought more responsibility. Describe how you handled this situation day-to-day and over time.
  • Describe three components of your philosophy of management that demonstrate what you value and add, as an individual, to an organization's culture and work environment.
  • What factors are crucial within an organization and must be present for you to work most effectively?
  • Tell me about a time when you reorganized a department or significantly changed employee work assignments. How did you approach the task? How did the affected employees respond to your actions?
  • One of the jobs of a manager or supervisor is to manage performance and perform periodic performance reviews. Tell me how you have managed employee performance in the past. Describe the process you have used for performance feedback.
  • When you have entered a new workplace in the past, as a manager or supervisor, describe how you have gone about meeting and developing relationships with your new coworkers, supervisors, and reporting staff.
  • As a manager or supervisor, one of your jobs is to provide direction and leadership for a work unit. Describe how you have accomplished this in the past.
  • What are the three to five most significant contributions of the role of a manager in the workplace? How have you demonstrated these in your past jobs as a manager?
  • If you had to pinpoint the most significant contribution needed from a manager in the workplace, what would you identify as the key contribution?
  • Please describe the significance of your three most important core values to the role of the manager in the workplace.

Management and Supervision Skill Job Interview Question Answers

These tips about how to assess your candidate's management interview question answers will assist you to select the best management employees for your organization. Do keep reading to see how to approach your candidate's answers. They can seriously have an impact on the candidate you choose for your open position. The manager interview questions you ask, and the interview question answers your applicant supplies, are crucial to your assessment of the candidate's knowledge, experience, and potential cultural fit within your organization. Hiring a manager or supervisor presents a special challenge. Ideally, you want a prospective employee who has both management skill and subject matter knowledge about the area he or she will supervise.

The subject matter expertise is easier to assess by looking at the candidate's past jobs, accomplishments, and degrees. Management skills, experience, and approach are assessed during an interview and by a careful background check. The management interview questions you ask and the interview question answers you receive from your candidates help you evaluate the candidate's management skill and experience. Evaluating management skills and approach is daunting. A candidate may supply superior answers to interview questions, but the described approach may not fit your organization. A manager who professes a participatory, empowering approach to management, for example, might not fit in an organization that is hierarchical and driven by management decisions made at the top. Any hope you have that the new manager will help transform the management style within your organization unless there is a firm commitment already existing to do so is misplaced. It's more likely the new manager will never fit and leave a failed relationship. In an interview for a manager role, the candidate's interview question answers must also allay your fears that the new manager will not gain acceptance from the employees who must choose to follow. Employees, who were likely internal candidates - or wanted to be - are tough to win over unless the manager is skilled and experienced.

Overall Appropriate Manager Interview Question Answers

When you assess the manager job interview question answers from your candidate, pay attention to how your candidate answers your questions. Does he or she appear comfortable responding to each of the situations you describe and question? If not, the candidate may be inexperienced as a manager and may be misrepresenting his or her credentials. Always ask these questions. These manager interview question answers give you valuable knowledge about the candidate's experience. Ask:

  • How long the candidate has worked as a manager,
  • The number of employees who reported directly to him or her (the number of employees whom he directly supervised with performance assessment and compensation assignment responsibilities), and
  • To describe the exact responsibilities and activities over which he or she had oversight for these employees.

Aside from management experience as reflected in interview question answers, you are looking for answers that reflect the values and approaches that are acceptable and promoted within your workplace culture. You are looking for truthful, genuine answers that accurately describe a management style and approach that will fit within your environment. Beware of a candidate who persistently says the right things but fails to back up statements with solid stories that demonstrate the requested value or approach in action. You seek demonstrable experience that is congruent with your culture and a solid grasp of a manager's responsibilities and requirements.

Interview Question Answers for Potential Managers

These are the interview question answers you seek as you evaluate candidates for a manager role in your organization. If your interview process is well planned, and your candidate profile is clearly described, the skills you are assessing are already identified. The candidate's interview question answers confirm his or her capability to perform the job successfully. To establish the candidate's skill in each area, the candidate's examples and stories must illustrate how he or she effectively approaches and demonstrates competency in each of these manager skill areas. In his or her interview question answers, the candidate must demonstrate the competency to:

  • Lead people and motivate employees to follow his or her leadership,
  • Provide an effective process for performance management that gives measurable goals and solid direction to each individual's job and clearly defines management expectations,
  • Provide frequent feedback and coaching to develop each employee's performance continuously,
  • Communicate the information employees need to perform effectively,
  • Reward and recognize employee performance and contributions,
  • Step up to the responsibility of addressing and disciplining unsatisfactory employee performance, and
  • Plan, organize resources, direct, assign and delegate, control, and verify the accomplishment of work and department goals to achieve company expectations.

Conclusion to Manager Interview Question Answers

You can select potentially successful candidates by listening to and noticing the contents of the answers of your job candidates. Never underestimate your ability to assess their answers and read their verbal and nonverbal communication signals. In a recent recruitment, the company narrowed their candidate selection to two applicants. In the debrief meeting, four different members of the second interview team had somehow concluded, on their own, that one of the applicants was a 9-5er, inflexible about hours of work. In a company that honors employees' work life balance needs, but expects every employee to give their all in an emergency or to meet a customer's expectations, this concerned the team. And yes, the other person got the job. The team will never know if they made the correct assessment - the selected employee is working out well - but the power of the content of an interviewee's answers, both verbal and nonverbal, should be considered in every hiring decision. Are you interested in job interview questions about leadership that will help you determine if your candidate is a good leader? It's important to identify leadership capabilities for any individual who will serve in a leadership role in your organization. Additionally, the most successful organizations are ones that foster leadership in all of their employees at every level of the organization. These sample interview questions will also help you identify the leadership potential of your candidates for other company roles. Start out by understanding the qualities and characteristics that you seek in a leader. In an earlier article, I described the ten characteristics of a successful leadership style. These will ensure that your questions are identifying the right beliefs, traits, values, and experience.

Ask These Questions to Determine if a Job Candidate Is a Good Leader

The following sample job interview questions about leadership enable you to assess your candidate's skills and experience. Feel free to use these job interview questions in your own candidate interviews or use them as the basis for creating your own questions.

  • You decided to reorganize the department or work unit that you lead. Tell me how you proceeded with the reorganization? What steps did you follow especially with the employees who work in the department?
  • Have you ever been a member of a successful team? If so, describe the role that you played on the team and in its success.
  • Give me an example of a time when you played a leadership role in an event, an activity, a department or work unit, or a project. Describe how you led the efforts.
  • Think about times when you have had to perform in a leadership role and tell me how people responded to your leadership efforts?
  • Tell me about a time when you failed. How did it happen? How did you handle it?
  • If I were to ask your reporting staff or your peers to comment about your leadership style, your leadership strengths, and your leadership weaknesses, how would they respond? What would this discussion tell me about you as a leader?
  • Would you rather that your employees respected you or feared you? Is there the opportunity in a leadership role to inspire both reactions from your employees?
  • Tell me about a time when you created agreement and shared purpose from a situation in which all parties originally differed in opinion, approach, and objectives.
  • As a leader within an organization, you must often build support for goals and projects from people who do not report to you and over whom you have no authority. Tell me about a situation in which you demonstrated that you can build the needed support.
  • In organizations, the direction often comes down the chain of command and so the initiatives you must implement were not developed by you. In fact, you may or may not have had input into their implementation. Tell me about a time when you implemented a required initiative with your staff. How did you go about the implementation?
  • What are the three most important values you demonstrate as a leader? Tell me a story that demonstrates each of these leadership values in practice within your workplace.
  • During your work experiences while attending college, tell me about a time when you demonstrated that you have leadership ability and skill.

Leadership Job Interview Question Answers

You are questioning to determine whether the candidate has >leadership skills or potential. You seek to identify the leadership style of your candidate, from his or her perspective and from the perspective of his or her direct reporting staff and peers. You are determining whether the candidate's style is congruent with the culture of your organization. It is helpful if you have created beforehand a leadership profile that identifies the skills and traits of successful leaders within your organization. Leadership style is best demonstrated in stories. Self-examination and commentary are self-serving, at best, in an interview setting. Ask your candidates for many specific stories and examples.

  • Job Interview Question

The following sample job interview questions about teams and teamwork enable you to assess your candidate's skill in working with teams. In today's workplaces, the focus of how employees get things done is on teams. So, every candidate for your various open jobs will need to exhibit some ability to work in a teamwork environment. Even in technical jobs, the ability to communicate and interact with coworkers is critical to the work getting accomplished. You might think that teamwork is not essential in jobs such as development, engineering, or science. The trouble is that none of these employees work alone. They are always interdependent on colleagues who need to know what is going on and especially at the intersection of their two jobs. The ability to participate in a teamwork environment is an essential workplace skill. I strongly recommend that every candidate interview and assessment include several questions that allow the candidate to demonstrate his or her ability to work in an environment that emphasizes teams and teamwork.

Interview Questions that You Can Use to Assess Teamwork Skills

Feel free to use these job interview questions in your own candidate interviews.

  • Give an example of a successful project that you were part of. What was your role? What made the project successful in your view?
  • Describe a situation from your past work experiences in which you have determined a team was the best potential solution to a problem, a needed process improvement or a planned change. How did the team work out? Was it the correct decision in retrospect?
  • What actions and support, in your experience, make a team function successfully?
  • Can you share an example of a situation in which teamwork enhanced your ability to accomplish your goals or the outcomes that were expected from you as an employee?
  • Share a time when you experienced working with a difficult coworker on a team. How was the coworker difficult and what did you do to resolve the situation to encourage the team's ongoing progress?
  • Do you feel more energized when you are working alone or when you are working as part of a team?
  • Describe the perfect work environment level of interaction with coworkers in which you would experience the most success.
  • Give me an example of a time when your work group or department worked especially well with another work group or department to accomplish a goal.
  • Have you been a member of a team that struggled or failed to accomplish its goal? If so, what assessment did you make of the reasons for the failure?
  • Have you had the opportunity to work with a virtual team? If so, what special team dynamics, activities, and actions did working virtually require How did you create team cohesiveness in a virtual setting?

Teams and Teamwork Job Interview Question Answers

Depending on your work culture or work environment, working with teams, working on a team, or working in a team atmosphere is likely important. You are attempting to identify how well your candidate works as a member of either a cross-functional or departmental team. You do not want to hire a candidate who tells you during the interview that his or her preferred environment at work is sitting alone in an office getting work done if teamwork is the expected norm. So, during the interview, you are seeking signs that the candidate enjoys teamwork. You are listening to hear that the candidate values teamwork. You are assessing your candidate's skill in analysis as well. You want to listen to any references the candidate makes, during the whole interview and in the answer to any question, to working with a team. You also want to listen to any successes your candidate describes that were accomplished by a team or through teamwork. You are also listening to hear what kind of support and resources your candidate thinks teams need. You are also discovering, with these teamwork job interview questions, what your candidate believes about why teams fail and why teams are successful. You are learning what must be present in the work environment for the candidate to experience teamwork. The following sample job interview questions for employers to ask about communication enable you to assess your candidate's skills in communication. You will want to ask several of these questions in all of your job interviewsbecause effective communication is a key skill that most successful employees share. Even in your interviews with technical employees, communication skills have become increasingly important because of the emphasis on team-based collaboration in organizations today. So, communication skill assessment should be a component in every job interview in your organization. You can best assess a candidate's communication and interpersonal skills in a team interview where you have the opportunity to observe his or her interaction with a small group. This gives you the information you need about the potential communication skills he or she will exhibit in your workplace. Feel free to use these job interview questions in your own candidate interviews.

  • Why are you here today participating in this interview?
  • You attend a weekly staff meeting with your supervisor. How have you ensured, in the past, that the information you have received is communicated to your reporting staff and coworkers?
  • Information that you believe is untrue or confidential has reached you via the grapevine. What actions have you taken in the past to take care of situations such as this when communication is out of control?
  • Give me an example, from your past work experiences, about a time when you were part of a project or team and you never knew what was happening with the other action items or participants. How did you handle this situation?
  • Rate your communication skills on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 representing excellent communication skills. Give me three examples from your past work experiences that demonstrate the selected number is accurate.
  • What's surprised you about our interview process so far?
  • Describe the work environment or culture and the communication style it uses in which you experience the most success.
  • Describe five things about the communication within an organization that must be present for you to work most effectively?
  • How often do you believe it is necessary to withhold information from staff members who report to you? Would you say you do this regularly, not often, or never? Under what circumstances do you limit communication in your experience?
  • When you have had a boss, in the past, who failed to adequately communicate with you, how have you handled this?
  • When you have entered a new workplace in the past, describe how you have gone about meeting and developing relationships with your new coworkers, supervisors, and reporting staff.

Communication Job Interview Question Answers

Pay attention to how your candidate interacts with people such as the receptionist. This observation, in addition to your own observation of the candidate's level of comfort with communication during the interview, is key. You can observe much about the candidate's communication style during the interview. How articulate is the candidate? How clearly does the candidate communicate? How easily does the candidate select words to use to answer questions? Notice the non-verbal communication and the facial expressions as well. Does the candidate radiate sincerity and energy? In a group interview, which I recommend, how did the candidate interact with each of the employees who attended? Was the interaction easy? Did the candidate answer their questions? Or, did the candidate talk around them? In past interviews, the team has experienced all sorts of dysfunctional behavior from candidates and their communication style. Often the behaviors are red flags for an employer. For example, the team interviewed one male candidate who would only look at males when he responded to questions, even when the question was asked by a female employee. In another interview, the male candidate was sincerely liked, communicated effectively, and found hire-worthy when he interviewed with a senior team member present in the interview. When he met with managers and employees, he failed to make eye contact, repeatedly looked at his watch, and finally asked when they thought that the interview would end. In both of these examples, the candidate was not hired. The employer spotted too many warning signs during the interviews, especially in a workplace that valued employees, treated employees equally, and expected a teamwork environment. Finally, in assessing communication, is the candidate genuinely interested in your company and the open job? You can learn much about whether to hire the candidate from the candidate's nonverbal communication. These sample job interview questions about empowerment enable the employer to assess your candidate's comfort with the concept of employee empowerment. Ranked high as an attribute that many employers seek in their prospective employees, empowerment fuels autonomy, decision making, and goal achievement in employees. Feel free to use these job interview questions about employee empowerment in your own candidate interviews.

Sample Empowerment Job Interview Questions

  • Describe the work environment or culture and its management style in which you have experienced the most success.
  • What factors are crucial within an organization's work environment and must be present for you to work most effectively?
  • Are you familiar with a concept called employee empowerment? Tell us what you think of when you think of empowered employees.
  • How does employee empowerment impact a work culture or environment for employees?
  • Describe your preferred relationship with your supervisor or manager in terms of direction, oversight, delegation, and monitoring.
  • Tell us about a time when you exhibited empowered behavior in your most recent job.
  • How does your current or a former boss encourage or discourage employee empowerment?

These sample interview questions about planning enable you to assess the planning skills of the candidate you are interviewing. You can use these sample interview questions in your own interviews. Find out more during the interview about your applicant's job skills. You don't need to ask all of these questions, but if planning is part of the job for which you are hiring, pick several planning questions to ask each interviewee.

Planning Job Interview Questions

  • Assigned to lead a new project, outline the steps that you have taken in the past, or would take in the future, to get the project on track and moving.
  • Describe the work environment or culture in which you are most productive and happy.
  • Have you ever participated on a team that required you to cooperate in the planning of a project? How would you describe the role that you played?
  • Describe the components of your past jobs that had to do with planning. How effective was your performance in this planning role?
  • During your most recent team project, how did you participate in the planning of the project? Describe your role in accomplishing the action steps needed to complete the project. How did you measure the success of the project?
  • What career goals have you set for your life? What is your plan to accomplish them?
  • What is your plan for your career? How would you define "success" for your career? At the end of your work life, what must have been present for you to feel as if you had a successful career?
  • How would team members describe the role you played and the effectiveness of your contribution on a recent team project, department planning effort, or project?
  • What are three tips you'd offer anyone who takes on a role that involves planning, making projections, and accountability for decisions?
  • Describe any responsibilities that you have had in the past for manpower planning, materials and supply planning, shipping schedules, or vendor interaction?
  • Describe the actions and behaviors of your manager or supervisor that you respond to most positively when you are participating in a project team activity.
  • If you've had no hands on experience in business planning in the past, what makes you believe that you would successfully handle this role in our job?
  • Describe the process that you used to develop a strategic plan for your department, section, or overall organization.

Planning Job Interview Question Answers

These tips about how to assess your candidate's answers to interview questions about planning will assist you to select the best, most motivated, employees, for your organization. Do keep reading to see how to approach your candidate's answers. You seek an employee who can confidently and effectively lead a project team. Or, you want to hire an employee who can demonstrate a track record of success in personal planning, team planning, and / or departmental planning. Assuming the role for which you are hiring an employee involves planning, listen for past actions that demonstrate that the applicant can facilitate planning, make goal setting happen, and provide the project management skills you need. Past successes speak more loudly in the interview setting than the applicant's projections about what he or she "thinks" that he or she would do in a planning situation in the future. You want an employee who has demonstrated the skills needed in the past or an employee who is interested and capable of learning the planning skills. Want to assess your candidate's skill in decision making? You can ask these interview questions about decision making to determine his or her experience and competency in making decisions at work. Employers will want to ask interview questions to assess a candidate's decision-making expertise for almost every job, but especially jobs that involve leading people. You don't need to ask all of these questions, but if decision making is a responsible component in the job you are filling, you will want to ask several interview questions about your candidate's experience and effectiveness in decision making.

Decision-Making Interview Questions

  • Think about a time when you had a number of different choices or directions you could choose for a project, to solve a problem, or to hold an event. Walk us through the process you followed to make your decision about the appropriate direction to choose that had the best chance of a positive outcome.
  • Describe the process you typically follow to make a decision about a plan of action.
  • Think about an occasion when you needed to choose between two or three seemingly equally viable paths to accomplish a goal. How did you make your decision about the path to follow?
  • Think about a time when you had several options from which to choose, but none of them were sufficient to meet your goal. How did you decide which option to follow?
  • Faced with a choice between qualified candidates for a promotion, a lateral move, a project leader, or a new hire, describe how you made your choice.
  • Describe the process you followed to pick the college you attended.
  • How will you decide whether to accept a job offer should an employer offer you a job that you think is a good match for your skills and preferred workplace?
  • When you are working with a coworker or reporting staff member, how do you decide upon and communicate the points at which you need feedback and progress reports?
  • Do you have a process or a methodology that you use when you are making decisions?

Decision-Making Job Interview Question Answers

Use these tips about how to assess your candidate's answers to interview questions that assess decision-making skill to select the best, most qualified employees for your organization. This is how to assess your candidate's answers to interview questions about decision making. You want to hire an employee who demonstrates that he or she can logically make decisions. During the interview, listen for evidence of a systematic approach to weighing options. Look for evidence of effective decision making in the past. Ask the candidate how each of his or her decisions described in the answers to the above questions, worked out in the end. Ask your candidate also about what he or she would do differently if faced with the above decisions again. You are looking for evidence that your candidate is willing to continue to learn and grow. Whether you agree with the decision the candidate made is less important than noting the decision-making process followed. If the decisions really seem illogical, like unsupported leaps of faith, or to come from out of left field, though, be wary. My one caveat with these guidelines is that you want to hire people who are creative, innovative, and willing to step outside of the box. At least, I do. So, take care when you assess a creative, innovative approach to decision making. You need right brain employees just as you need left brain dominant employees. Their roles might be different within your organization, but you do need both. And, a candidate who is able to demonstrate creativity, while seeming to make logical decisions, is potentially a great hire. Assuming the role for which you are hiring an employee involves decision making, listen for past actions that demonstrate that the applicant can make logical, realistic decisions. Past successes speak more loudly in the interview setting than the applicant's projections about what he or she "thinks" that he or she would do when making a decision in the future. You want an employee who has demonstrated the skills needed in the past or an employee who is interested and capable of learning how to make well-thought out decisions. Looking for interview questions for your job candidates that will help you assess their conflict resolution skills? Conflict resolution skills and the ability to disagree with others professionally are necessary for successful contribution in organizations. They are necessary for healthy interpersonal relationships and in building effective teams. Conflict resolution skills and the willingness to disagree are practices that can help you better serve customers. Disagreement to keep your organization innovating and continuously improving is essential. Disagreement and conflict resolution rarely occur in an interview setting because every participant is behaving professionally. The goal of the interview is to make a good match, so it's a challenge to identify your candidate's strengths in conflict resolution and disagreement. The following sample interview questions should help you pinpoint your candidate's strengths and weaknesses in this area.

Conflict Resolution and Disagreement Skills Interview Questions

    • Tell me about a time when you disagreed with an idea your coworker wanted to pursue. How did you approach the disagreement?
    • Think about a situation in which you disagreed with the direction or idea that your boss suggested. What did you do to professionally disagree? If not, what were your thoughts about the situation?
    • When you work with a team or a group, disagreement about direction, decisions, and even mission and vision, are common. Tell us about a time when you handled a disagreement. How did you approach the situation and what was the resolution?
    • When you think about your experience with disagreement and conflict resolution, how would you rate your skills in handling differences of opinion? Please give an example that illustrates that skill.
    • How comfortable are you, in general, with dealing with differences of opinion and disagreement? Can you provide a work-related example that illustrates your comfort level?
    • The leader of a team on which you participate consistently talks more than all of the members of the group. Consequently, his views largely direct the actions of the team. He is smart, wants participation, wants the other members to step up, but no one practices the professional courage necessary to make the team successful. What would you do in this situation?
    • Think of a time when you worked with a coworker who would seem to agree with the direction decided by a group. But, for weeks and even months later, the coworker continued to raise objections to the decisions made by the group. How did you address this situation with the coworker? If not, what were you thinking about when you decided not to confront the ongoing problem?

Conflict Resolution and Disagreement Questions for Managers

  • As a manager, tell us about a time when you and a reporting employee disagreed about a direction, how you handled a situation, a performance review, or suggestions for improvement. How did you handle the disagreement?
  • As a manager, I'm sure you have experienced situations in which employees were in conflict and disagreed with each other on important issues. What is your preferred approach for helping the employee resolve the conflict?

Conflict Resolution Interview Question Answers

How articulate is the candidate about disagreement? How clearly does the candidate communicate what he or she did to manage the conflict or disagreement? Did the candidate effectively address the conflict? Did the candidate avoid, put up with, or too aggressively address the situation? Is the candidate's conflict resolution style congruent with the norm in your organization? Is the candidate willing to participate in conflict and disagreements? Try to assess whether the individual's approach to conflict is appropriate and preferred. Find more information about dealing with conflict and disagreement. Are you interested in a new trend in job interview questions - or perhaps an old trend newly revived? Lynne Sarikas, director of the MBA Career Center at the Northeastern University business school, believes that more and more businesses are asking unusual job interview questions as part of their candidate job interview process. Microsoft's job interview questions are legend (examples include: How many golf balls does it take to fill a 747? Why is a manhole cover round?). (But, Microsoft, at least in their developer interviews, appears to have moved away from puzzle questions and is asking candidates to solve white board code problems during interviews.) But, other employers are using unusual questions in their candidate selection process for new reasons. The job search advice industry is so prolific that any candidate who researches knows he should prepare brief responses in advance to frequent standard questions. These include job interview questions such as: "what are your strengths and weaknesses" and "what makes you the most qualified candidate for this job." Interviewers use unusual job interview questions to assess how well the candidate responds to an unexpected question or scenario. Most unusual job interview questions do not have right or wrong answers. These job interview questions provide the candidate with the opportunity, according to Sarikas, "to demonstrate quick thinking, poise, creativity, and even a sense of humor." She says, "The interviewers are trying to catch a glimpse of the unrehearsed candidate in an unguarded moment. There is no way to prepare for these off-the-wall job interview questions so the interviewer is able to observe how the candidate responds and composes his or her thoughts. Some interviewers also ask unusual job interview questions to gain insight into the candidate's thought processes ... they want to see how the candidate will think about the unusual job interview question."

Actual Tough/Unusual Job Interview Questions

We suggest using a couple of the following job interview questions during an interview to assess your candidate's skills and cultural fit.

  • If you could be any character in fiction, whom would you be?
  • If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
  • If you could be a super hero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
  • If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
  • If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs -- such as food and water -- were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?
  • If you had six months with no obligations or financial constraints, what would you do with the time?
  • If you had only six months left to live, what would you do with the time?
  • If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be and why?
  • If you could compare yourself with any animal, which would it be and why?
  • If you were a type of food, what type of food would you be?
  • If you won $20 million in the lottery, what would you do with the money?
  • If you were a salad, what kind of dressing would you be?
  • How do I rate as an interviewer?
  • If you were a car, what type would you be?
  • Who do you admire most and why?
  • In the news story of your life, what would the headline say?

Behavioral Job Interview Questions

Simply, behavioral interview questions ask how the candidate handled similar situations in the past. They don't ask a candidate to look into a crystal ball and predict their future behavior. We suggest the following questions as general, basic behavioral job interview questions.

  • Describe a situation when you took a risk professionally. What was the outcome?
  • Tell me about a time others disagreed with your recommended course of action. How did you persuade them to your plans and what were the results?
  • Describe a situation where you worked effectively as part of a team to accomplish a goal on time and within budget. What was your role? What did you learn?
  • Describe a situation in which you worked as part of a team but your team failed to accomplish the goal on time and within budget. What was your role? What did you learn?
  • How would your current boss or a team member describe you? What would he/she say are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • Describe a complex problem you had to solve and walk me through your thinking as your solved it.
  • Tell me about a creative solution you developed for a challenging situation or problem.
  • Describe a situation working in a group or team where there was interpersonal conflict. Describe how you approached the conflict. What worked and what didn't? How did you manage the outcome?
  • Describe a situation you feel you should have handled differently.
  • Describe a situation in which you aspired to reach a goal. What obstacles did you confront along the way? What did you do to overcome them?
  • What is the most stressful situation you have handled and what was the outcome?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to win someone over to your way of thinking. How did you accomplish this? What was the outcome?

Behavioral job interview questions are your best approach during candidate job interviews. But, the occasional unusual job interview question has the potential to yield thoughtful information about the candidates you interview. Use both for effective candidate selection.