i like asking the person to describe a challenging situation in a previous job and how they handled it.
one of the strangest interview questions i was ever asked was what search engine i used.
Tell me about your first job.
It is amazing what people remember, how it formed their opinion of working, and where it may have led them after the job was over.
The one thing to remember about interview questions is that they must have relevancy to the job. Asking broad questions can lead a candidate to give you information that you don't necessarily want to hear (i.e. married, children, disability, etc). If you hear this and then don't hire the candidate, they could potentially come back and say that they told you this information and that is why you didn't hire them, leading to trouble.
One of the things I like to do is ask a question that might be a little beyond the experience level of the group of candidates I'm interviewing, but still relevant to the position.
For example I asked a question for a supervisor position in a call center about managing FML. Much of the pool of candidates were new supervisors, or folks that were in supervisor assistant positions and looking to move up. I didn't do it to be mean to the group. My thought is that everyone encounters things in their position that stump them. It's good to see how a candidate would think through getting the information when they feel pressured to know it all ready. It helped identify people who would say anything to fake it, instead of researching the right answer.
One of my favorite questions to ask is "How have you improved your current/past position?"
This tells me a lot about a person's initiative.
I always ask about his/her past experience or a situation that he faced and how did he deal with it. This experience is related to competencies like Service Passion, Stress Tolerance , Ethics......etc.
“We certainly appreciate your interest in our agency, but if you weren’t successful in getting this job, what other types of position might you be interested in or apply for?”
This question lets you know how seriously the applicant is considering this type of work. If their answer is something quite different from what is available, it may be that the applicant is looking for any job, not the type of job you have open. Knowing that someone wants this specific type of work is likely to indicate what they are interested in and good at. That usually makes a better employee.
Here's one I like: "Tell me about a time when you received criticism from a boss that was tough to take."
The answers give me some insight as to how well they'll listen to and act on feedback.
There is a great article on CNN Money: http://money.cnn.com/2007/08/29/technology/brain_teasers.biz2/index.htm about creative questions. For example:
How much does a 747 weigh? It gives you a chance to see how creative the applicant is and how quickly they think on their feet.
Dear all of you
Please let me introduce all of you some sample interview questions.
I hope that it is useful for our community.
Source: Sample interview questions
There are some very good suggestions here. I find the key is in HOW a person answers questions rather than what the answer is. I wish I had a dime for everytime an applicant said they "love" their line of work - and say so with zero enthusiasm. Whenever I see that, I think, "Liar. If you really love it, it shows." I don't care what the words are coming out of your mouth - you can see passion in someone's facial expression. If that's not there, but they "talk" about how passionate they are, I know they're just going thru the interview motions.
Secondly, although I ask many of the typical questions (what are some of your accomplishments, your goals, what are your strengths & weaknesses, etc.) I find that many people are so well rehearsed in the art of the interview that you get a nice, sanitized version of the person, and later can discover that the person you hired is not the person you interviewed. So I find it much more useful to knock the person out of "interview" mode. To do this, ask them very, very difficult questions with no clear right or wrong answer. One example would be to give them a hypothetical situation where they are forced to choose between loyalty to a friend (co-worker) or the company. You are very good friends with the head of engineering. He tells you that he is moving across the country and leaving the company in six months. But because of personal issues with management, he's not going to tell them. He wants you to keep quiet about it. You know that his leaving in this manner will cause serious problems for the company, but he told you in personal confidence. What do you do? . . . I have seen so many polished interview veterans get completely flummoxed. You can see them try to figure out what kind of answer you are looking for. Do they want to see if I'm trustworthy and loyal to my friends? Or do they want me to be an advocate for the company? I personally prefer that they show some responsibility for the company (after all, they will remain working there after the friend is gone), but I care more to see the person is being honest and not trying to figure out what I want to hear. If you suprise applicants with unexpected questions, you tend to see if they shoot straight with you or not.
If I ask someone why they think they would be good at the job for which they're interviewing, the very same set of answers can be either poor to adequate depending on the job.
For example, if I'm interviewing someone for unskilled or quick-learn semi-skilled positions and I ask them that question and they say, "I'm a fast learner and I work really hard. I have a lot of energy," that can be a great answer, particularly if their work record and/or records suggest it's true.
However, if I'm asking the same question of someone for an engineering position or for an exempt level Employee Relations role, that's a poor answer. In fact, I see a failure to answer with more specificity, especially after prompted or closely examined with follow up questions, as a deal breaker in that context.
That's one of my favorite questions. However, it's highly context sensitive and requires good knowledge of the job and the ability to think on your feet to use it effectively. The reason you have to have good job knowledge and the ability to think on your feet is because the question itself is not that important. It's what comes after: if the candidate is any good, the conversation should be pretty rich. The follow up questions you ask as you struggle to help someone giving rehearsed and safe answers to be genuine and shine and tell you what yuo need to know about them are what drive the value of this line of investigation.