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Questions to Ask Prospective Employees

written by: Lucinda Watrous•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 11/14/2009

Make sure you're asking the right questions when you're with them to make the most of your time and ensure you're choosing the best possible person for the job. Read this to find out more about different questions to ask prospective employees.

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    Find Out About Experience and Work Ethic

    Interview Attire 

    Ask questions about their previous jobs. If they are fresh out of school, ask about their education. Ask questions such as:

    • What made you leave your previous position? or What makes you want to leave your current position?
    • What did you do in your last position? or What are you doing in your current position?
    • What did you like about the last position you held?
    • What was your relationship like with your boss? Your co-workers? Your customers? What would they be most likely to say about you?
    • What are your strengths? Weaknesses? Where do you need to improve?
    • What have you accomplished?

    If there are long gaps in employment, ask the interviewee about them and allow ample time for explanation. Some people come back to the workforce after their children are in school, after they've recovered from extreme illness, etc.

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    Find Out About Motivation and Goals

    Questions to ask here may include:

    • Why are you most interested in this field? What made you want to get into this field?
    • What do you want to do or learn to help expand your skills in this field?
    • What courses in college or trade school do you believe will help you the most in this field?
    • What are your long term goals? How does this position fit into those goals? Think 5 or 10 year plan.
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    Find Out How They'll Fit

    Ask job specific questions to see how the interviewee responds to the job if he or she were hired.

    • Tell me more about how your experience in X job will help you here.
    • Are you familiar with the X that we use here?
    • If required, would you be willing to work overtime?
    • Would you be willing to travel for this job?
    • You'll be in charge of X employees, can you handle this?
    • What about you makes you different from other candidates for this position?
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    Finishing Up

    Allow the interviewee to ask questions at the close of the interview. Remember that because most people are nervous throughout the course of an interview that you shouldn't hold much to body language. Also remember there are many questions off limits during a job interview, including anything personal relating to family, sexual orientation, criminal background, drug usage, or marital status. Rather than interviewing employees, you may also want to consider using a staffing agency or a temporary employment service.

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    Photo Credit: Flickr