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Great Interview Questions That Will Peel Back The Onion Ring Layers...

Warp It's Daniel O'Connor is here to talk about asking the right questions...

I received a text from a friend who is Head of Sales at a multinational organisation. He has just gained several new sales staff and lost a few already, so he asked me for some good interview questions.

At the time I was looking for a distraction and this activity was perfect. I recorded a list of questions off the top of my head, into the audio recorder on my phone. I sent the audio to be transcribed using Rev. (Top service and a great tool to maximise productivity).

Before an interview I used to search Google for “the best interview questions” and then ask them during the session. Then I realized the candidates also did this, so it wasn't a great insight!

When I read back over the transcript I realised it might make for a useful blog post for anyone searching “Interview questions”.

This page will then become a resource for anyone searching LinkedIn or Google for interview questions!

All of these questions are about getting under the onion skin layers to find out who the interviewee really is, without resorting to silly questions (OK some are silly!).

I wanted to develop a list of:

Interview questions that penetrate

Unusual interview questions

Best but unusual interview questions


As usual our target audience is sustainability, waste, procurement, facilities and estates managers, to help find the best staff for your reuse program or project. 

onion peeling layer interview questions

The questions

What are you grateful for?


When did you last show appreciation and what was it for?


When did you last feel important and what was it for?


When did you last complain about something and why?


What is your favourite quote?


What's the best advice you ever received and from who?


What's your best habit?


What's your worst habit?


What habits would you like to develop?


Who do you admire?


Who would you say is successful?


When will you know you've made it? 


You're sensing hostility from a colleague or a customer, what do you do?


Someone is being hostile in a meeting, what do you do?


What has been your greatest mistake to date, how do you feel about it?


What did you learn today?


Who are you? Keep asking until they open up a bit.


What do you do? Keep asking until they open up a bit.


Tell us about the last time you failed at something and what was the outcome?


How do you stay motivated? How do you keep going?


What do you think about when you're feeling really down but you still need to deliver at work or at home?


What scares you? What scares you the most? They'll probably tell you about spiders or whatever but try find what makes them uncomfortable. Would they be scared to bargain 10% off a cup of coffee? Lie down in the middle of the street for 10 seconds?


What would be your personal plan for making sure you impress us in the first six months? What do you think your outcomes should be?


In six months time, what would make you feel, "Hmm, yes, I've really arrived here and I've got my feet under the table"?


If we say yes to the job appliction, what is going to be your first activity? How are you going to hit the floor running?


Something irritates you at work, it's causing you extra work, it's delaying you, it's making you duplicate effort. What do you do?


What's your party trick? (Hit them with this to soften them- then go for a serious one!)


If you had a time machine, and you can go back in time, what would you change about your life?


onion peeling interview questions 


What advice would you give your 20 year old self?


What advice would you give your 30 year old self?


What advice would you give me about interview questions?


What book, film, TV program or any other type of media do you gift or recommend to other people the most?


What's the greatest, most effective activity or method that you have learned to build rapport with people and how do you employ it?


Your department just missed their fourth quarterly sales targets in a row by 30%. How do you react? What do you do to change things?


How do you strategize about the future?


What is your opinion on targets?


Do you set realistic targets or do you set stretched targets?


We're all humans, we're all the same, we've all got the same features, we've all go the same thoughts. We're all the same right across this organization but we are all a little bit different. How are you different?


What do you want? How are you going to get it? What are the plans? In other words, what is your big dream? How are you going to attain it?


Your manager is becoming a bottleneck for decision making. This is affecting your progress. When do you first notice this? How do you rectify it?


What would you say is the best attribute for someone in the role you are applying for?


How do you cope with stress? How do you respond? What are your techniques? What do you do?


What makes for a good telephone manner?


Your colleague in the office is a serial complainer. What do you do to help them see the positives and the way forward?


You have a disagreement in a meeting with a coworker. It's hotting up, no one's backing down. What do you do?


You have a disagreement with a colleague in private. It's hotting up, it's turned into an argument. What do you do.


You have a disagreement with a customer. It's hotting up, it's turning into an argument. What do you do?


Have you made it?


What will you do when you’ve made it?


In six months time you're the best performer in the team. You're happy obviously, but what do you do? How do you stay on top?


How do you provide the most value to the company?


What do you want?


What do our customers want?


How do you see things from the other person’s perspective?



Prepare yourself for what I think is the ultimate interview question;

How do you define success?

Get our guide which will help you work out what success means to you.

define success project goals

Here's another Warp It hack

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Daniel O'Connor

Daniel O'Connor

I use my time and experience to contribute to the transition to a regenerative sustainable society for all.


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