You have an interview in 10 minutes and you’re not sure what the best interview questions are. Don’t worry, this list has you covered! Yes I know, you’re probably a seasoned interviewer and would never, ever be in this position – but it’s hypothetically an interesting situation. The 10 questions I’ve included below are generic enough to be applicable for any first interview but insightful enough that they’ll give you a complete understanding of the personality and attitude of the candidate.

1. How’s your Monday going?

I have a friend who only conducts interviews on Monday’s just so he can start with this question. Why? Because straight away he’ll know if the person is a half glass empty or half full kind of person. Sneaky!

2. Tell me about yourself.

This question is a 2 edged sword. As simple as it is, it gets the candidate relaxed enough to answer the tough questions that will come up while also giving you fodder to probe into.

3. Tell me about a time you failed at a goal you needed to achieve.

This question is a good alternative to “tell me about your weaknesses”. It gets people to talk about a challenging time and really get into their contributions (i.e. weaknesses) to why they failed.

4. Tell me about a time you succeeded at a difficult task.

Opposite to the question above, this one gets them to talk about their strengths. Note that smart candidates will also weave in the role of the entire team for both this and the other question.

5. What do you hope to gain from this job?

I had a friend who’s first thought in their head was “a good paycheck” and they totally ended up messing up a supposedly basic question! Ask yourself this question for a hypothetical position. Trust me, it’s not as easy as it seems.

6. Why do you want to work for our company?

Also a deceivingly difficult question. You can also complicate it a bit more by asking the candidate to compare working for your company with a larger (or smaller) one from the same industry. You’ll be able to see if this person is a good fit or not.

7. Who was your best team lead and why?

The why is obviously the most important part of this question. It reveals whether someone appreciates being pushed hard, being autonomous, flexibility and many other “in between the line” characteristics

8. Who is your role model and why?

The difference between this question and the one above is that it extracts the candidate form the work they’ve done and may provide characteristics they value beyond traditional business ones.

9. If you had a work crisis and you had no way to contact your team, what would you do?

Is your candidate hands on and do they have the ability to solve problems themselves or would they rather shoot out an email and try to get their team to resolve the issue “asap”? There’s no right or wrong answer. Just a right fit.

10. We know you’re a great candidate, but why do you think we should hire you?

You’ve already sort of answered the question so you end up pushing the candidate deeper into what they can bring to the table. Also, because you probably throw them off by using a little bit of flattery, you’ll get a really honest answer.

The thing with any question that falls under the category of “best interview questions” is that they’re all trick questions. They ask something very straight forward which is best supported by a story, but you as a recruiter can and should be able to extract a lot more than what the candidate provides. Their answers are also not easy to “tailor” so you’re going to get more truthful ones than most other questions you’ll ask. Do you have any you would like to include in this list?