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Related article: Tips for Compliant Interview Processes and Documentation

As a small business, you probably don’t have the budget flexibility and time to invest in lengthy hiring processes. You must elect an efficient, streamlined, optimized plan for attracting and retaining top talent. While sourcing gets them in the door, the interview is that critical juncture where you can make a lasting impression on your candidates and get them thinking about how their ideas and experience will mesh with your business. At the same time, you’ll also want to ask probing, incisive questions to get to the meat of your candidate’s background. Here are our top most common interview questions, borrowed from some of the most successful firms in the world:

  1. How did you prepare for this interview?
  2. For what reasons are you leaving your job? Why now?
  3. Tell me about yourself.
  4. Who is your best boss and who is your worst?
  5. What motivates you?
  6. What are your two greatest weaknesses? Strengths?
  7. What are your short and long-term goals?
  8. How do you handle conflict?
  9. What do you think about social media at work?
  10. What are some of your favorite tools, both online and off, that keep you organized?
  11. How do you stay informed about your job and industry?
  12. Why should we hire you over other candidates?
  13. Give me an example of a project you took on at work.
  14. Tell me about a time you changed a workflow process to make it much more efficient, if applicable.
  15. Do you prefer working alone or with a team? Why?
  16. What are you looking for, salary-wise?


Keep in mind that you never want to lead with polar questions — those that can be answered with a yes or no. The point of the interview is to get a good feel for the candidate; how they perceive themselves and their colleagues, if they’re natural-born leaders, if they have a five-year plan, etc. It’s also a good idea to run your interview questions by a legal department to ensure you’re using appropriate language and not discriminating against or singling anyone out.

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