The 5 Question Job Interview

How to get everything you need in an interview from 5 simple questions

Dread interviewing job candidates? We understand.

Need to Hire?  Post Jobs for Free

Heck, even HR professionals who interview for a living dread interviewing. But it has to be done.

Want to keep the interview short and to the point?

Then consider this 5 question interview guide, with tips and insight provided by Alissa Henriksen, Chief Recruiting Officer and Talent Search Strategist at Grey Collaborative, a strategic search and recruiting consultancy for global manufacturing and sales organizations.

Here are the only 5 interview questions you need to ask job candidates:

What is motivating you to look for a new job?

Everyone is motivated to make a change for a specific reason, says Henriksen. More money. Bad boss. Shorter commute. No career advancement. Dream job. It varies for each individual. “You have to learn what truly motivates that individual and find the consistencies/patterns,” says Henriksen. “Does that pattern align with your opportunity?”

What job have you disliked most in your career and why?

Everyone has a least favorite job. Remember yours? You sure do. I know I remember mine (furniture mover). “I’ve been part of several interviews where the employer doesn’t like it when a candidate opens up about why they did not like a position in their past,” says Henriksen. “Why is that such an issue? You just gained insight into why the individual would be or would not be a fit for your opening.”

What are you passionate about? What is your most unique skill? 

Okay, we know this is two questions, but they go together because this is where we find out what makes the individual get out of bed in the morning and what they are most proud of in life and at work. This question can tell more about their passion, personality and character – which can often be more important than skill set and experience.

Describe, in detail, your perfect job.  

Having the individual describe their perfect job is a way to see right into what this person REALLY wants to be doing. Says Henriksen: “I’ve even asked some of the individuals I am interviewing to write their ideal job description. You get so much from this exercise.”

What single project or task would you consider your biggest accomplishment?

What is this candidate most proud of and why? Who was involved, what was the outcome and how did it impact the company, department and teams? What were some of the challenges, mistakes made and what did they enjoyed most? This will get them talking about what they did at work that led to success. Imagine them doing that for your company. Is it a fit?

There you have it – 5 questions to guide you to hiring success.

“You will get more than you would ever need by asking these five main questions” says Henriksen. “Yes, you will definitely dig deeper with each question, but you just learned exactly what you needed to in order to make a great hire.”

Written by

Matt Krumrie is a career columnist and professional resume writer who has been providing helpful information and resources for job seekers and employers for 15+ years. Learn more about Krumrie via, connect with him on LinkedIn ( and follow him on Twitter via @MattKrumrie.

More Articles by Matt Krumrie