Favorite Interview Question?



  • What interview question do you like to ask prospective candidates that is different from the standard list folks might use? I had to interview someone today for a position as an IT Intern at our company, and I realized after the interview that I could have used some better questions. I do enjoy hearing what the person perceives are his / her strengths and weaknesses and how the person uses his / her weakness to better himself / herself.



  • @NetworkNerd The most frustrating of interview questions that have been posed to me were seemingly simple situations where conventional methods did not resolve the issue.
    The idea was to gain understanding of the thought process behind the solution, rather than the actual resolution itself.


  • Service Provider

    I prefer conversations to questions.



  • I have found getting to know the person makes more sense than standard interview questions. Also pick a community question or two (even if you are positive it is out of their skill level) and see how they would work through it.


  • Service Provider

    Or watch them in the community over time.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    I prefer conversations to questions.

    Same here, you can't script those. I never did like answering generic questions. Funny and true story, during one of my first interviews for a real IT position for a local IT service provider the owner asked me why he should hire me and I shot back, "Because I'm the best."

    He laughed and said, "OK then. You start Monday." I was with that place almost 3 years but left because I didn't feel like I was growing enough and the work started to get repetitive.



  • Throw them on the Help Desk for a few calls πŸ˜›

    See how resourceful they are



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    I prefer conversations to questions.

    True. It happen last time that i have to interview someone. The interview goes fine.He is pretty good in answering everything .Now when he is started to support in Production,he really don't know how to figure things out without my help.


  • Service Provider

    @Joyfano said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    I prefer conversations to questions.

    True. It happen last time that i have to interview someone. The interview goes fine.He is pretty good in answering everything .Now when he is started to support in Production,he really don't know how to figure things out without my help.

    Most people know how to interview. They train for it.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Joyfano said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    I prefer conversations to questions.

    True. It happen last time that i have to interview someone. The interview goes fine.He is pretty good in answering everything .Now when he is started to support in Production,he really don't know how to figure things out without my help.

    Most people know how to interview. They train for it.

    Hahaha yes I guess.. He answered perfectly like he really knows everything πŸ™‚



  • @networknerd @minion-queen
    Been tossing this one outβ€”

    Part funny, part truth. Consider being in the candidate's shoes, those are the open ended questions. For what the company needs, a pre-interview test or some form of technical challenge can work. Depending on area, interviews are required to be standard to mitigate job hiring discrimination (written tests are good; conversations, less so).

    Always interesting: If the candidate has post-interview follow-up.



  • you should definitely get into politics and religion. Oh and favorite ice cream flavor.



  • @Hubtech said:

    you should definitely get into politics and religion. Oh and favorite ice cream flavor.

    Hmmm Now i have a new Trainee so i ask him Do you drink? is that a valid question? haha


  • Service Provider

    Well since he is a trainee that means that you already hired him.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Well since he is a trainee that means that you already hired him.

    Oh Sorry..yes he is now. But i mean before.. Next time i will make my post clear πŸ™‚



  • You can't ask someone that here in the US



  • VisualDNA have quite cool application forms on their website. They're worth checking out.

    Sample questions:

    1. Your manager asks you to delivery a project and you estimate 4 weeks to deliver it. He tells you he needs it in 5 days. What do you do?

    2. Task: write a function called GCD that prints the greatest common divisor of two positive integers (a and b ). Hint: you can use the fact that GCD(a,b ) = GCD(b, a mod b ) and GCD(a,0 ) = a. Please provide code in any language you want (Java, Scala, PHP or bash preferred).

    Despite 20 years of programming, I think I'd struggle with 2! Especially during an interview.

    When I started out, years ago, there used to be a lot of talk about hobbies and outside interest in interviews, but that's frowned upon these days. You have to keep it more sterile/professional.



  • @Minion-Queen said:

    You can't ask someone that here in the US

    oh Sorry Ma'am.Now i know..thanks πŸ™‚



  • @joyfano don't apologize! Just not allowed to here 😞


  • Service Provider

    I prefer questions like "How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?"

    Do they start right in, or ask "Who am I making it for?" Do they check to see if they have everything they need before they start, or make an assumption? Do they point out how efficient they are with the utensils? Do they ask how many they have to make?

    You can see where this is going. If you can think of an off the wall question that they probably didn't prepare for, you will see how they respond under pressure because they will revert to their natural strengths.


  • Service Provider

    Although with that approach you might deal more in measuring surprise, dealing with ambiguity or literal interpretation more than what you mean to and might not recognize what you just tested. So be careful as a big piece will be seeing how they guess at what you mean to ask, not what you did ask so the feedback might not be useful as they don't know you yet.


  • Service Provider

    Remember that an interviewer is an unknown and a candidate has to assume that you aren't very smart. It's like answer a newbie SW post - they ask X but most experienced people assume that they meant Y because X is crazy.

    But do you really want to judge them based on them trying to compensate for your weirdness or for them giving you the benefit of the doubt? Maybe you do. But there are better ways.



  • My favorite question was a bit hands-on. It involved a whiteboard and creating a network that composed of a certain number of types of devices set by the interviewer.



  • General thought to be alert forβ€”

    • Are you interviewing the candidate, or is the candidate interviewing you? Related, are you seeking a subordinate, direct report, equal, or something else?


  • There is this one question that caught me off-guard..

    "Tell me why is the manhole round?"


  • Service Provider

    @cripher said:

    There is this one question that caught me off-guard..

    "Tell me why is the manhole round?"

    That should be easy... assuming you live in a place where manholes are common (they didn't exist where I grew up - its a question for people in cities.) It's the only shape where it can't accidentally fall through the hole when turned in the wrong way. It is also the cheapest to produce, uses the least metal and the strongest design.



  • @scottalanmiller by the answers you gave me, now i believe that my answers are correct.

    Here's my answer to the interviewer:

    • It is round and can be rolled by one person
    • you don't need to properly place it since it is round.
    • If you put a circle inside a square, you can conserve additional metals on the corners.

    The interviewer just smiled at me and moved to another question.


  • Service Provider

    The key reason is safety. So that it is impossible for it to fall through and kill a person working inside the manhole.


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