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Getting Hired

Job Interview Arsenal: 20 Questions to Ask (Or Be Ready to Answer!)

"Time spent on hiring is time well spent," as they say. We round up 20 great questions for gaining insight into even the most wily interviewee.

With employees switching jobs every 4 years on average, having the chops to conduct an insightful interview – not to mention
knowing how to be a good interviewee – is a skill worth cultivating. To update our bag of tricks, we polled the whip-smart 99U Twitter followers for their favorite job interview questions and curated the best into this list.

Whether you’re hiring or looking for work, 20 questions you’ll want to have in your arsenal:

1. What is a common misperception about you? (There’s often a seed of truth in the answer.)
– @aarondignan

2. What do you do on your days off?
– @nicolemwms
3. Whose website would you want to design or redesign?
– @hugeinc (jessica bauer-greene)

4. What would your previous boss say is your greatest weakness / strength?
– @brannonmc

5. Are there any accounts or types of work you would not want to do?
– @tfollowell

6. What are you reading? 
– @kbordwell@oktlouisa@rumblestrut

7. What are your dislikes/pet peeves/frustrations? (Reveals more than asking about their likes.)
– @reneefishman

8. Who do you follow on Twitter, and why?
– @samwilson1

9. What would you do in a panicky situation (e.g. the printer calls at 5:59pm to say a file is corrupted, and your boss already left)?
– @fitforpaper

10. What’s your dream job?
– @toflee

11. How many pianos are there in New York? (A variation on this classic question.)
– @CalinBalauru  

12. If your boss offered your choice of reward for a job well done, what would you pick?
– @spence7zero

13. What sort of education are you looking for in your next job?
– @scottbelsky

14. How does this position relate to what you really want to be doing?
– @POVevolving

15. What was your first ever job, and how did you get it?
– @MShahab

16. Pepsi or Coke? (Shows me how the interviewee responds to the unexpected.)
– @JaseMiller

17. If you weren’t getting paid for what you do, would you still be doing it?
– @DeElgena

18. What do you know about us?
– @pylondesigninc

19. Why are manhole covers round? (This comes from an old Microsoft interview question.)
– @Halaylah@johnnyfyve

20. When is it okay to break the rules?
– @coopbranding

What Do You Ask?

Any great questions we missed? What’s in your job interview arsenal?

More Posts by Jocelyn K. Glei

A writer and the founding editor of 99U, Jocelyn K. Glei is obsessed with how to make great creative work in the Age of Distraction. Her latest book is Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distraction, and Get Real Work Done. Her previous works include the 99U’s own bestselling book series: Manage Your Day-to-Day, Maximize Your Potential, and Make Your Mark. Follow her @jkglei.

Comments (12)
  • Jody Earley

    “Tell me a funny joke.” Puts people on the spot, but good to know they have a sense of humor.

  • maya

    some of these are great ways of approaching common sense questions in an interesting fashion. but some of them just scream pretension or the desire to put the interviewee on their back foot by ‘surprising’ them or trying to unbalance them. to me, an interview owes as much to those conducting it as those being interviewed. honestly, if someone asked me one of those fermi questions i would be immediately put off. why do interviewers feel like they need to ‘catch’ people out? if you have no faith in the interview system to produce honest results then maybe you should use another system, instead of trying to ‘trick’ a candidates ‘real self’ out of them within the context of a manufactured interaction. i dont mean to sound like a grump but i have been to enough interviews where the interviewer has tried to shock me and i dont appreciate the sentiment – it shows a fundamental lack of sensitivity about the inherent imbalance of power in such interactions.

  • Charles Lee

    What makes you laugh and what makes you cry?

  • Ana

    I also expect to know more about people in an interview. I think this questions are very funny and useful. Maybe not all, but most of them.

  • Jocelyn

    @maya – I hear your criticism in terms of “tricking candidates.” I don’t think the interview process should be about trying to make someone feel foolish, or to put them back on their heels. That said, I think the interview style – and questions asked – should be tailored to the job at hand. Some positions are keenly dependent on being able to think on your feet – say, a position like live events production – while others are not. If you’re hiring for a position for which quick thinking is imperative, I think there’s some justification for asking questions that draw that type of thinking out. But I think that such questions should always be framed sensitively as you suggest.

  • dominik

    At the very end of the interview:
    “Picture this morning. What was the question you hoped not to be asked?”

    In general I don´t think an interview is a way to get to know someone…
    It´s just a result of a wrong “modern world approach” to “manage” everything. To control, to standardize processes and make them more “efficient”, because “time is money”. Imo that logic should not be applied when you deal with people. If you look for new team members you do something very essential that might gain a lot of impact: you change the DNA of your team/ company.

    So imo the ONLY way to get an impression of someone, that might help you to decide is: spend time with her/ him, have a dinner, do a brainstorm …
    And don´t just sit there and ask questions you yourself would hate to answer.

  • Common Interview Questions

    Please may leave jobs because of 2 things..first is job satisfaction issue and next hike in salary. Thats it. The questions was great help to me..hope you share this link on to face book also!!

  • Employment Interview Questions

    Thanks for sharing the question and answers! Hope this will for sure help people searching for jobs!

  • Kate Russell

    I just interviewed someone as a Web writer and asked three things:
    1. What skill did she most recently learn? (Is she always trying to get better)
    2. What blogs does she subscribe to? (Anyone writing for Web should, in my opinion, be reading blogs)
    3. Have you heard of the career position of conversation manager? (How up-to-date is she on Web jobs)

    Sadly, she “failed” all three, which told me that she wasn’t the right person to fill this job.

  • drope

    I’m wondering if these questions can also be used during the interviewers selection and not only candidates?

  • randyrojar

    This is really nice article to read about. All the question is rally good to ask and may be possible if you are going to interviews and somebody will ask you same question. Thanks for sharing useful question about interview.

    Ruby on Rails Jobs

  • interview coaching

    A job interview in which you only answer questions is bound to end badly. One of your job interview objectives is to determine if the prospective employer and the job would be a good fit for you.

  • Kate Niller

    great career advices!
    and they may be used by many pofessional to feel themself more confident and comfortable duing job interviews.
    and I recommend to listen the following tips:

  • Free bets uk

    Question 10……My dream job would to be a great singer!!!

  • Jyothika S
  • jen l

    i always ask if they are easily offended … since we are such a small office (3-4 people typically) we would rather not have someone that will be offended by everything … by asking an off handed question like that you can usually tell if not by their answer by their reaction! 🙂


    Job interviews are a necessary evil for the work I do. I personally
    think they are weighed far too heavily and that people’s ability to
    perform at a high level can hardly be judged just by sitting down with
    them for 20-30 minutes, but nevertheless they are important for anyone
    looking for a job (or looking to hire someone for a job). I enjoyed
    your tips

  • luke

    hi people drop me a text or call some time I have loads of good interview Question for you or ask me for my number on a comment thank you ??????

  • luke

    hi darling that is really true what you have put up x

  • luke

    that is really true darlin keep the good work up xx

  • luke

    same as me FREE BETS UK

  • swissmiss

    I once asked my audience this exact questions. Lots of good answers to be found in the comment section:

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