My Favorite Interview Questions

When I talk to my friends who run companies or are in hiring positions, I usually ask them for their favorite interview question. Here are some of mine that I collected over the years:

  • – Why do you want this job?

    – What do you know about us?

    – What did you like about your last job? Why did you leave?

    – Tell me something about yourself that I can’t find out on Google!

    – Who do you admire?

    – What’s a reason why I should not hire you?

    – What do you do when you’re not working?

    – What’s something you’re bad at that you really wish you were good at.

    – What’s your favorite part of your current or previous job?

    – What’s your secret superpower?

    – When was the last time you wore a costume? And what was it?

    – What’s the shittiest job you’ve ever had?

    – What are you learning right now?

    – How do you organize your closet?

    – What would the title of your autobiography be?

    – Tell me about some people you’ve helped in your career.

    – I’m going to give you 5 minutes. Teach me something new. Anything!

    – If I was to ask your friends 3 words to describe you what would they be?

    – When is the last time you went out of your way to do something nice for someone?

    – What are the biggest values you think your parents taught you?

    – When is it okay to break the rules?

    – What is an article or book you read recently that changed your mind about something?

    – If you had a magic wand, what would you like to be know for?

    – Give me a single sentence to tell our CEO about you when I see her later today.

    – If you weren’t getting paid for what you do, would you still be doing it?

    – How does this position relate to what you really want to be doing?

    – What do you dream of?

    – What is the thing that breaks your heart?

    – What are you pretending you don’t know?

    – What do you want?

  • Do you remember being asked an interesting interview question? What was it?

    UPDATE: featured 10 of my favorite interview questions after seeing this post.

    18 Comments leave a comment below

    1. I once got asked if I was an animal what animal would I be and why? The question totally threw me, I couldn’t think of anything so in the panic chose my favourite animal – I said I’d be a whale shark as it was harmless and strong and graceful….it was a ridiculous answer, especially as I’m only 5ft tall!!! ….We did all laugh about it though and laughter is always good! :)

    2. I always ask interviewees two questions:
      – If your house/apartment was on fire what three things would you save? (all people and pets are already out)
      – If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?

    3. “What is your least favorite body part?”

    4. I only have three hiring criteria, so my key questions try to elicit answers that demonstrate thought process and drive without showing what I want the answer to be.

      1.) What is the last thing you learned on your own?
      2.) What parts of this job will come easily to you and which will be more difficult?
      3.) What is your favorite meme?

    5. Some of these are very fun and can, I imagine, lead to really candid and fruitful conversation. Others, though, are a bit corporate and seem like hazing rituals.

      For example, at the risk of being difficult, I would *never* answer “What’s a reason why I should NOT hire you?” Why would I plant that seed of doubt in the boss’s mind? Perhaps the answer to that question is indeed my refusal to turn over evidence against myself.

      Years ago I was asked “Which Simpsons character are you most like?” Obviously, Lisa.

      I was also asked “What kitchen appliance are you most like?” to which I responded, a Spatula, because it’s versatile (you can cut, pry, flip, push, stir, etc.)

      Another question to ponder is “If you won a billion dollars in the lottery, what would you do with your time?” or more simply “what kind of non-profit would you start”

    6. I love asking what their non-work related pet peeve is. It helps you to see what irks people, and also breaks the ice a bit and makes the conversation feel more casual. I think people open up more and are more their true selves if they’re taken a bit out of interview mode

    7. What’s your favorite Netflix show you like to binge on ?

    8. Hey Tina, it would be amazing if you do a follow up and we know THE BEST ANSWERS your friends have received for these questions.

    9. I am in a design field and I always ask interviewees:
      1. What do you love about design or being creative?
      2. What is your approach to failure?

    10. @prescott That question (Tell me why I should NOT hire you?) is all about self-awareness. It’s one of the most important qualities I look for in a candidate.

    11. @Tina — I agree, self-awareness is huge. Humility, self-teaching, tales of failure and overcoming obstacles, acknowledging personal weaknesses and those that pertain to the job — all very important.

    12. 1) Do you have an active passport &
      2) Can you drive a stick shift

    13. Hi! I once interviewed for a teaching position at a leading design school and at the end of our discussion they gave me a piece of paper with four quadrants on it with the follow titles at the top of each box:
      1. “Things I like to do and I am good at.”
      2. “Things I like to do but I am not good at.”
      3. “Things that I don’t like to do but I am good at.”
      4. “Things that I don’t like to do and I am not good at.”
      Then they left me in the room alone to write out my answers. I got the job and for years afterwards used this same quadrant as an exercise for my graduating seniors in my classes!

    14. I agree with Prescott. I would never ask “What’s a reason why I should not hire you?” in an interview. I have covered the topic in other ways, though. “What do you want to improve about yourself by working here?” or something similar can lead to that topic. I think self-improvement and self-awareness are topics you cover with new employees.

      One of my favorite topics is “What do you do when you’re not working?” This question has served me really well in determining quite a bit about the person’s personality and work style.

      I like Catherine’s question, “Can you drive a stick shift?” I can imagine that would lead to some interesting stories.

    15. Thanks so much everyone! I love the additions! I will update my list!

    16. This are also my Favorite interview question. Thanks for sharing.

    17. Actually, I think: “What’s a reason why I should not hire you?” is a great question to ask and a great one to answer. Think of job conditions that would force you to leave a job. Then say: You should not hire me if you have the following job conditions. Otherwise they could hire you, you then find out those job conditions exist, and now you want to quit! Do you and them a favour and be honest about what job conditions are deal breakers for you and be up front with them.

    18. I used to ask “Why do you think manhole covers are round?” Worst answer, ” I don’t know, why”? I also received plenty of interesting ones too, which was the point.