Intro for job seekers: This is a resource we originally made for hiring managers who are trying to think of interview questions to ask job candidates. We think it can also be helpful for you as a job seeker preparing for an interview. We recommend reviewing these questions and their follow-ups to practice how you might respond in an actual interview. For more resources on interviewing, visit our Interviewing Resource page. 

Intro for hiring managers: The following are our top-curated interview questions grouped by most common situations companies evaluate. Sample follow-up questions are also included in italics. The purpose of this list is to help you generate ideas as you develop interview questions. If you're unfamiliar with behavioral interviewing or need a refresher, we've created some resources for you on our Hiring Insights blog

Ability to adapt
Coachability
Communication skills
Emotional intelligence
Leadership
Motivation and values
Problem-solving skills
Teamwork
Time-management

Ability to adapt: These interview questions measure how well a candidate handles adversity and pressure. As an interviewer, here are questions you might consider when evaluating candidates for their adaptability: How quick is the candidate thinking on their feet? Are they able to deliver results when times get tough? How do they react to adversity? Are they creative in finding solutions? Does the candidate make the best-use of the information they have available?

Interview Questions:

  1. Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure to deliver results. What was the situation? Why was there so much pressure? What did you do specifically? How did you handle the pressure? What was the result?  
  2. Tell me about a time your team or company was undergoing some change. What was situation that led to the change? How did the change impact you and/or your team? How did you need to adapt? What was the result? 
  3. Tell me about the first job you ever had. What was it? What was the situation? Was there training or guidance to help you get ramped up? What did you do to learn the ropes? What was the result?
  4. Tell me about a time when you had to think on your feet during a difficult or awkward situation. What was the situation? What made the situation difficult or awkward? What did you do specifically? What was the result?
  5. Tell me about a time you wish you could have done something differently. What was the situation. What did you do at the time? Why was the decision made at the time? What could have been done differently? Why would you have changed your decision? What was the result?

Coachability: These interview questions measure a candidate’s ability to learn and their receptiveness to coaching. As an interviewer, here are questions you might consider when evaluating candidates for their coachability: Does the candidate learn from past mistakes? Does the candidate actively seek help or mentorship? How does the candidate receive and apply feedback? Is the candidate open to learning new things? 

Interview questions:

  1. Tell me about the hardest lesson you've had to learn in your career. What was the situation? What made it hard? How did that lesson impact you? What did you learn from that situation? How do you apply what you learned from that lesson?
  2. Tell me about a time when you needed to ask for advice or mentorship. What was the situation? What made you decide to reach out for advice/mentorship? What did you learn from the situation? How do you apply what you’ve learned from that lesson?
  3. Tell me about a time you received feedback from a manager. What was the situation? What was your initial reaction to the feedback? What did you do after receiving the feedback? Did you apply the feedback? If, so what was the result? How do you apply what you’ve learned from that feedback?
  4. Tell me about a time when you received tough feedback from a customer. What was the situation? What did you do with the feedback? How did you use the feedback to improve? How do you apply what you’ve learned?
  5. Tell me about a time when you needed to learn a new skill. What was the situation? How did you identify what you needed to learn? How did learn this new skill? Did you ask anyone for help or support? How have you applied what you learned?

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Communication skills: These interview questions measure a candidate's ability to communicate verbally and influence others. As an interviewer, here are questions you might consider when evaluating candidates for their communication skills: How much experience does the candidate have communicating across different levels? Has the candidate shown an ability to influence others and develop buy-in? Has the candidate shown an ability to communicate complex ideas? Does the candidate recognize different communication styles? Does the candidate adapt their own communication style? How effectively is the candidate communicating during the interview?

Interview questions:

  1. Tell me about a time that required input from people at different levels in the organization. What was the situation? Who did you need to communicate to? How did you find the most effective way to communicate to everyone? What was your goal? What did you do specifically? What was the result?
  2. Tell me about a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone at work. What was the situation? What was the other person’s position? How different was this person’s position from yours? How were you able to persuade them? Why was it important to persuade them?
  3. Tell me about when you were the subject matter expert and you had to explain something complex. What was the situation? What needed to be explained? Why was the issue complex? How/what did you communicate? What was important to know? Why? What was the result?  
  4. Tell me about a time you needed to communicate with someone who was angry or frustrated. What was the situation? What was frustrating this person? How did you handle the situation? What was the result?
  5. Tell me about a successful presentation you gave. What was the topic you were presenting? Who was the audience? Why were you making the presentation? How did you engage the audience? What made the presentation successful? What was the result of the presentation?

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Emotional Intelligence: These interview questions measure a candidate's ability to identify with others and build relationships. As an interviewer, here are questions you might consider when evaluating candidates for their emotional intelligence: Does the candidate empathize and relate with others? Do they consider how their actions impact others? Do they recognize others and their contributions?

Interview questions:

  1. Tell me about a time when you had to give someone difficult feedback. What was the situation? What did you consider before delivering the feedback? How was the feedback received? What did you learn from this experience? How have you applied what you learned?
  2. Tell me about a time you had to respond to an unhappy manager/customer/colleague. What was the situation? Why was the other person upset? How did you handle the situation? What was the result?
  3. Tell me about a time when you had a tough negotiation. How did you come to a consensus? What was the situation? What was your desired outcome? What did the other side want? What made negotiation so hard? What did you do to find common ground? What was the result?
  4. Tell me about a time where you had to make a compromise or sacrifice something. What was the situation? What did you want? What did they other person want? What made this situation difficult? What did you do to find common ground? What was the result?
  5. Tell me about a time where it took a team effort to deliver a result. What was the situation? What was everyone specifically responsible? What were the challenges you encountered as a team? How did the team overcome these challenges? How did each team member contribute to the team’s success? What was the result?  

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Leadership These interview questions measure a candidate’s ability to lead and inspire others. As an interviewer, here are questions you might consider when evaluating candidates for their leadership abilities: How does the candidate motivate others? Does the candidate set clear expectations? Is the candidate able to inspire with their vision? Can the candidate inspire and lead others, even if they are outside their immediate control? Does the candidate help others achieve success? 

Interview questions:

  1. Tell me about a time when you led others to deliver results. What was the situation? What did the team need to accomplish? What was preventing the team from success? What did you do to help the team succeed? What did you do to make sure the team stayed motivated? How did the team respond? What was the result?
  2. Tell me about a time where you had to communicate your expectations. What was the situation? What did the other person need to know? Why were these expectations so important? What did you consider before communicating your expectations? How did the other person react after you delivered your expectations? What was the result?
  3. Tell me about a time that you took the lead on a difficult project. What was the situation? What made the project difficult? What was your role in the project? How did you take the lead? What was the result?
  4. Tell me about a time you needed to delegate. What was the situation? What needed to be delegated? Who did you delegate to? What did you consider before delegating to this person? How did this person respond? What was the result? 
  5. Tell me about a time you successfully helped someone else achieve their goals. What was the situation? What was the other person trying to achieve? What did you do to help them? What was the result? What did you learn from the experience?

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Motivation and values: These interview questions measure what motivates the candidate. As an interviewer, here are questions you might consider when trying to understand candidates’ motivations and values: Does the candidate approach problems proactively or reactively? How does the candidate react to things outside her control? Does the candidate seek out personal-growth opportunities? What does the candidate pride herself on? 

Interview questions:

  1. Tell me about a time where you went above and beyond the call of duty at work. What was the situation? What did you do specifically? Why did you do this? How was what you did beyond the scope of your role? What was the result? 
  2. Tell me about a time you set difficult goals. What was the situation? What goals did you set? Why were the goals difficult? Why did you choose these goals/what were you trying to accomplish? How did you go about achieving your goals? What was the result? 
  3. Tell me about your proudest professional accomplishment. What was the situation? What did you do specifically? Why did you chose this accomplishment? What was the result?
  4. Tell me about a time when you saw some problem and took the initiative to correct it. What was the situation? How did you notice the problem? What did you do specifically once you noticed the problem? What was the result?
  5. Tell me about a time when you worked under close supervision. What was the situation? What were you responsible for? How did the situation help or detract what you were trying to accomplish? Why was there close supervision? What was the result? 
  6. Tell me about a time when you worked under a lot ambiguity. What was the situation? What made the situation ambiguous? How did the ambiguity make you feel? What did you do specifically? What was the result?  
  7. Tell me about a time you had to be creative to solve a problem. What was the situation? What was the problem? What was your creative solution? What made this creative? How did you come up with your idea? What was the result?
  8. Tell me about a time you were dissatisfied in your work. What was the situation? What caused your dissatisfaction? How did the situation impact you? What did you do to improve the situation? What was the result? What did you learn? 
  9. Tell me about a time you were not able to get approval for a project or had a resource taken away. What was the situation? What caused the delay in approvals/resource being taken away? How did the situation impact you? What did you do in this situation? What was the result? What did you learn from this experience?
  10. Tell me about time when you faced a significant obstacle to succeeding with an important work project or activity. What was the situation? What was the obstacle? How did the situation impact you? What did you do in this situation? What was the result? What did you learn from overcoming the obstacle? 

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Problem-solving skills: These interview questions measure a candidate’s ability to solve problems. As an interviewer, here are questions you might consider as you are interviewing: How does the candidate identify a issues? Are the issues actually problems? Does the candidate use data when solving problems? Has the candidate solved problems with the level of complexity/difficulty she’ll encounter in this role? How effective are the candidate’s solutions? 

Interview questions:

  1. Tell me about a time where you found a creative way to overcome an obstacle. What was the situation? What was the issue? Why was there an obstacle? How did you identify the problem? What solution did you create? How did the solution address the problem? What data did you use to support your solution? Was the solution implemented? What was the result? 
  2. Tell me about a time when you came up with a new approach to a problem. What was the situation? How were people approaching the problem before? What did you think about differently? What was your approach? What data did you use to support your approach? Was your approach implemented? What was the result?
  3. Tell me about the most innovative idea that you have implemented. What was the situation? How were people approaching the problem before? What was your solution? How did you come up with your solution? What made your solution innovative? Was your solution implemented? What was the result?
  4. Tell me about a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures. What was the situation? Had did you identify the problem? How did you develop your solution? How did your solution address the problems? Was your solution implemented? What was the result?
  5. Tell me about a time you used data to make a decision. What was the situation? How did you identify the problem you were trying to solve? What data did you use to arrive at your conclusions? What was your recommendation or decision? Was your recommendation implemented? What was the result?

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Teamwork: These interview questions measure how a candidate interacts within a team. As an interviewer, here are questions you might consider as you are interviewing: How does the candidate adapt to different personalities? Is the candidate’s approach to conflict resolution similar to the team/company? Are the situations that prevent the candidate from building relationships common in the role/company?

Interview questions:

  1. Tell me about a time when you had to work closely with someone whose personality was very different from yours. What was the situation? How did the other person differ from you? What did you do to manage that difference? How did that working relationship evolve?  
  2. Tell me about a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. What was the situation? What caused the conflict? How did the situation impact you? What did you do to resolve the conflict? What was the result? What did you learn from that experience?
  3. Tell me about a time where you struggled to build a relationship with someone you needed to work with. What was the situation? Why was it a struggle to build a relationship? How did the situation impact you? What did you do to build that relationship? How did that working relationship evolve? What did you learn from that situation?
  4. We all make decisions we wish we could do differently. Tell me about a time you wish you'd handled a situation differently with a colleague. What was the situation? How did the situation impact you? How did the relationship evolve based on what was done? What would you have done differently? Why would you have done things differently? What did you learn from that situation? 
  5. Tell me about a time you needed to get information from someone who wasn’t very responsive. What did you do? What was the situation? What caused the other person to be unresponsive? How did that situation impact you? What did you to improve communication? What was the result? What did you learn from that situation?

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Time-Management: These interview questions measure how well a candidate manages and prioritizes her time. As an interviewer, here are questions you might consider as you are interviewing: How well does the candidate prioritize competing priorities? How well does the candidate weigh pros and cons of competing priorities? Does the candidate come to logical conclusions about how and where to invest time? Does the candidate display examples of being organized and deliberate in achieving her goals?

Interview questions:

  1. Tell me about a time you had to be strategic in order to meet all your top priorities. What was the situation? What were your competing priorities? How did you decide what was important? What priorities did you have to de-prioritize? What was the impact of that decision?
  2. Tell me about a long-term project that you managed that had tight deadlines. What was the situation? What were the major milestones? What did you do specifically to stay organized and on-schedule? What was the result?
  3. Sometimes it’s just not possible to get everything on your to-do list done. Tell me about a time you weren’t able to meet all your responsibilities. What was the situation? What were your competing priorities? What responsibilities went unmet? How did you decide which responsibilities to neglect? Why? What was the result?  
  4. Tell me about a time when you managed numerous responsibilities. What was the situation? What were your different responsibilities? How did you manage competing priorities? How was each responsibility important? What was the result?

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