How to Write Interview Questions

How to Write Interview Questions

This worksheet will help you design interview questions for a job. You’ll start by identifying the Essential Functions and the Preferred Functions of the job. Then for each function, you’ll identify the competencies one must have to perform it. Next, you’ll answer if this is a Technical Skill or Behavioral Skill. From this information, you’ll develop your interview question. The comments are meant to provide context and additional help for navigating each column. 

There are three types of skills you’re trying to identify and assess in an interview: 

  • Job-Specific: the candidate has 2 years of barista experience and is interviewing for a barista position
  • Transferable: the candidate has 2 years of experience as a cashier and scooper at an ice cream shop and is interviewing for a server position
  • Behavioral: Can the candidate adapt to challenges, navigate conflict and possess emotional intelligence? Self-awareness, expressing their needs, keeping their cool. For example, the candidate says “I was moved to a dishwashing position after the manager and I decided being a host wasn’t for me” this may be an indicator that this individual doesn’t have great interpersonal skills, or may struggle with complex priorities. It would be good to ask a follow-up question here: “tell me about that, why was the dishwasher position better suited for you than a busser?” Behavioral Skills are possibly more crucial than job-specific or transferable skills. When an employee is fired, it’s usually because of behavioral skills, not job-specific skills.

You’ll need the job description to reference for this activity. If you have any questions, you can e-mail us at or chat with us on Instagram or Facebook! 

The examples below are for a bartender job:

Essential Functions of the jobCompetencyIs this a Behavioral skill or Technical skill? Write your interview question! 
Example: takes OrdersExample: can understand spoken and written English, prioritize orders and organize them to ensure none are missed. TechnicalTell me about your process for organizing and prioritizing orders. How did you receive and fulfill orders in your last job? We use a point of sale system where all orders are logged, do you have experience fulfilling orders from a POS? 
Example: Ensures Customers are Satisfied with their drinksExample: Ensures accuracy in making drink orders, Can identify order mistakes and make it right, service recovery. BehavioralTell me about a time you had an upset customer who got the wrong drink order, how did you handle that? Tell me about a time you got negative feedback about a drink you made, how did you handle that? 
Nice to have functions off the jobCompetencyIs this a Behavioral skill or technical skill? Write your interview question! 
Example: creates and invents new drinks to pair with seasonal menusThorough knowledge of mixology theory and practice

Technical SkillHave you developed your own drink specials in the past? Can you tell me about one that you are particularly proud of and your process for developing it? Have you studied Mixology? What’s your favorite mixology reference? 

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