18 Questions to Ask When Hiring | STAFFOMATIC "









18 Questions to Ask Potential Staff Members When Hiring

Carolin Henkelmann











Employees are the most important part of a company. That’s why they should be chosen very carefully. Asking the right questions is fundamental when it comes to understanding what kind of person the candidates are and what they can contribute to your business. Staffomatic gathered 18 insightful questions to ask potential employees during the job interview in every industry:



Basic but useful: These questions help you to get a first impression.

1.Tell me about yourself.

This helps the candidate to loosen up and gain confidence for the rest of the interview. Some qualities and characteristics can only be discovered if the candidate feels comfortable.

2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

You don’t want to hire someone for a short time. A new staff member is always an investment of time and money and should be worth it. Besides: with asking that question you can find out if they are ambitious and confident with planning their career.

3. What is your ideal company?

A first chance for the interviewee to demonstrate knowledge about your company and about the industry in general.

4. Why were you let go from your last position?

With this question you try to find out if the candidate was let go because of performance or integrity issues. Honesty is the most important factor.

5. Do you have any questions or concerns about your ability to do the job?

It is important to know how self-aware the candidate is. The answer should be truthful but confident.



Behavioral questions: Find out how they manage critical situations.

6. Describe the last significant mistake you made at work and how you handled it?

When it comes to work-related mistakes it’s all about taking responsibility for actions. It is the only way to learn from mistakes. And again: honesty is really important. If the candidate says something like he doesn’t remember making any mistakes you are probably dealing with someone who is not honest enough.

7. You walk into the office and have eight emails and four voicemails from clients before your day has even started, all with different urgent requests. What are you going to do?

That question reveals how the interviewee solves critical situations. The answer could imply to stay calm, consulting someone with more experience or to pass work to colleagues who can spare some time.

8. How would you deal with a task that’s not going to meet its deadline?

The answer to this question tells you a lot about the communication skills of the candidate. Worst reaction: blaming someone else for the delay.

9. If you were at a business lunch and ordered a rare steak and they brought it to you well done, what would you do?

Obviously a question asked with a twinkling eye but it’s interesting to see how the interviewee reacts. Besides, you can find out how he appears in front of business partners.






"It is important to know how self-aware the candidate is."





These questions force your potential employees to think outside of the box. It shows how they would react in unexpected moments.

10. If you were an animal, which one would you be?

It sounds like a trivial question, but, depending on the position, it can deliver a powerful insight about who the candidate really is, or tends to behave. For a sales representative position, you want to have a lion in your team, not a mice. ;)

11. Tell me 10 ways to use a pencil other than writing.

That question really gives you an idea of how creative and spontaneous your potential employees are. Both characteristics that move your business forward.



It is one of the most important things that they are not only interested in a job. Applicants should be interested in THAT job in YOUR company. We gathered some questions to check:

12. If you owned the company, what would you change?

That question can be really difficult for employees. They might have to formulate criticism towards the company they apply for. It shows how deep their insight really is. It also checks their ability to spread critic.

13. What was it about this job description that caught your eye?

It will help you to understand what they are passionate about and if their interest matches the main focus for the job. Besides, that question delivers an interesting input for your company. By giving you a precious feedback on the perception potential job candidates have about your business and brand, and what makes you specifically attractive to them.

14. Do you have some questions for us?

And they should. It’s the biggest proof for profound interest in the potential job and employer.

15. Why are you the perfect fit for this job?

There are different options to answer that question but the candidate should always highlight why he thinks he is better than his competitors.

Salary Questions: Important when you are really interested in hiring the candidate. Be hard but fair.

16. What salary do you expect?

This question is unavoidable when you are really interested in hiring the interviewee because you have to know whether you can “afford” him. Ask better sooner than later.

17. What’s your salary history?

The answer can help you to measure how realistic the salary requirements are.

18. Would you consider taking less pay than you made in your last job?

That question can be unfortunately necessary if the candidate is the perfect fit for your job but you can’t afford to pay the wage he got in his previous job.

Now you got some inspiration on what questions you could ask job candidates. Don't forget to keep enough time for all other spontaneous questions the applicant could have, and interact on these, instead of going on with a prepared list. Because you could learn even more on how your potential future employee would fit the job by hearing what he has to ask, than going through all the questions you prepared! Interaction and exchange is and stays the key of a successful hiring process!

Carolin from the STAFFOMATIC Team

Carolin from STAFFOMATIC

Carolin takes care of our blog and content and gives you advice and tipps on how to better manage your employee scheduling

Try STAFFOMATIC for free!

  • No commitment
  • No credit card or payment info needed
  • E-mail & phone support for the setup


Try STAFFOMATIC now