Job Interview Questions
SHRM members may adapt and use these sample interview questions to fit their company policies, practices and culture.
Neither members nor nonmembers may reproduce these sample interview questions in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “Obtain reuse/copying” button on the page where you find the item.
Competencies/Knowledge, Skills, Abilities (KSAs)
Choose the most important attributes that are required to be effective in the job for which you are interviewing. Gather questions from each of the selected competencies to create your list of interview questions.
Within each competency, sample questions are organized by the following:
- Behavioral. An interview technique that focuses on a candidate's past experiences, behaviors, knowledge, skills and abilities by asking the candidate to provide specific examples of when he or she has demonstrated certain behaviors or skills as a means of predicting future behavior and performance.
- Situational. An interview technique that gives the interviewee a hypothetical scenario and focuses on a candidate's past experiences, behaviors, knowledge, skills and abilities by asking the candidate to provide specific examples of how the candidate would respond given the situation described.
- Business Acumen
- Critical Evaluation
- Ethical Practice
- Global & Cultural Effectiveness
- HR Expertise
- Leadership & Navigation
- Learning Orientation
- Relationship Management
- Stress Management/Composure
Interview Question Categories
- Are there federal and/or state laws prohibiting employers from asking applicants about arrests and convictions?
- Can we ask to see an applicant's prior performance reviews?
- Can a recruiter ask a candidate, Do you own a car?
- Can an employer ask a job applicant about political party preferences during a job interview?
- How can employers cut through rehearsed responses during interviews and learn more about the candidates?
- Is there a problem with writing notes directly on applications or resumes?
- When would an employer use a group interview technique?
- What should an employer tell a candidate who is not selected for the position?
Additional SHRM Online Sources
Not all questions will be applicable to every situation; choose questions that fit the position. When interviewing multiple candidates for a position, it is important to use the same criteria for evaluating each candidate so as to avoid legal problems. The key is to be consistent and fair with all candidates (i.e., show no favoritism or discrimination). Use an interviewing guideline of core criteria/qualifications that is applicable to all candidates for the position.
Most of these questions do not have a “right” or “wrong” answer under all circumstances! After you have selected the questions that are appropriate to use, give some thought to the answer(s) that make sense given your organization, culture and the priorities of the position. The applicant’s reasoning abilities and the thought process that leads to the answer often are as important as the answer itself.