Hiring process

50 application questions to find the right candidate for every job

Add these questions to your job applications to help you get to know candidates on multiple levels: personal, professional and more.

50 application questions to find the right candidate for every job
Listen to this article. Audio recording by
Alessia Musso

The job application form plays a huge role in your job hiring process. When the questions work for you, you get the information you need from candidates to make a sound and insightful hiring decision.

Besides helping you narrow down your candidate list, an application form also adds to a memorable candidate experience. The best way to do this? Ask bias-free, fun and effective application questions on your application forms.

Here's a list of 50 thoughtful job application questions that'll inspire you to create a great application experience for candidates.

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TL;DR — Five unique, go-to job application questions to ask candidates

These are the top five job application questions we always turn to in our job applications. Choose the ones that would work best for your company and each specific job role:

  • What was it about this job post that enticed you to apply? 
  • What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are you looking for in a new role?
  • Could you briefly describe your work background?
  • Why are you interested in working at this company?

📣 How to make a job application form that’s a joy for candidates to fill in (and a solution to your hiring chaos).

Job application questions to get to know your candidate's personality

The right job application questions can help give you insight into who your candidate really is, besides what their qualifications and job experience might be. Gain a full picture of who they are by adding one of these personality-focused questions to your next job application form:

1. Who inspires you in your work and why?

2. What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing you love?

3. What are you reading right now?

4. What was the last thing, personal or professional, that you nerded out on?

5. Send us your favorite meme.

6. What's something outside of your work that you're passionate about?

7. Describe your character in a couple of sentences.

8. What do you listen to, if anything, while you work?

9. What do you work towards in your free time?

📣 Further along in your hiring process? Get smart tips here on how to conduct a job interview.

Application questions to find out if your candidate is a value fit

A good hire not only has the right skills and qualifications, but also the right values. Narrow down your candidate list by including application questions that aim to evaluate a candidate's values, ambitions and beliefs. Include any of these questions on your job application to dig deep and make sure your candidate’s values align with your company values:

10. Which one of our company values do you identify with the most and why?

11. What type of role do you see yourself in in the future?

12. What does your ideal work environment look like?

13. What's one of the most valuable lessons you've learned in your career? How would you apply it in this role?

14. What should we absolutely know about you?

15. What’s something you’re good at that you don’t really want to do anymore?

16. What motivates you to do your best work?

17. What's the biggest mistake you've made in your career and how did you handle it?

18. Among the people you've worked with, who do you admire and why?

19. Looking back on the last three years of your career, what’s the highlight?

20. What do you think you can achieve in this role that you can't at other companies?

21. What do you think you would add to our company culture?

22. When was the last time you changed your mind about something and can you explain the situation?

23. What's the most important thing you've learned from a co-worker? How do you apply that in your work?

24. In your opinion, is it better to do work that's perfect but late, or good and on time?

25. What feedback have you received that was difficult to hear and why?

26. Give an example of when you took initiative when it wasn't expected of you.

27. What makes you the most excited about potentially working here?

Skill set and experience-focused job application questions

Before you can send a candidate to a phone screen stage, you first need to understand their abilities. Use these job application question examples to find out if your candidates’ experience and skills align with those of the role you're hiring for:

28. If anything was possible, what would you do to improve our company?

29. What's something you’ve worked on that you’re especially proud of and how long did it take to complete?

30. What skills would you want to develop in this role?

31. What would be the first thing you would change about our business?

32. What is it about this role that makes it a good fit for you?

33. What's the greatest achievement in your career up until now?

34. What would you like to do differently in your next role?

35. What does your next ideal role look like?

36. What impact do you think you would have on the company in your first year?

37. What's your superpower?

38. What do you excel at?

39. What challenges are you looking for in your next position?

40. What's a goal you set that you didn't meet and can you explain what happened?

41. What would you do in your first 30 days in this role?

📣 Check out these stunning job post templates you can customize and publish in minutes.

Application questions to test candidates' industry knowledge

When you’re weighing up your candidate pool, industry knowledge might just be the deciding factor between your top candidates. These questions can help to dig into what your candidates know about the field and who is most suited for the role:

42. How do you like to keep up with trends and industry knowledge?

43. What interests you about our industry?

44. What recent industry developments are you excited about and why?

45. What magazines/blogs/publications do you like to read?

Important practical job application questions

Don't forget the practical stuff! If there are deal-breakers — like not being eligible to work in the country your company is located — ask these questions early on in the job application form. This ensures you don’t waste your time and you don’t drag your candidate through a hiring process they never had a fair shot at.

46. What are your salary expectations?

47. Are you eligible to work in the country we're located?

48. Could we contact your current or former employer as a reference?

49. When would you be able to start?

50. Do you have any questions for us about the role or the company?

Frequently asked questions

Why is it important to have candidates complete a job application?

Job application forms are an easy way to get the high-level, must-have information from a candidate in a digestible format. They help you narrow down a candidate list so that you can easily assess and compare candidates and decide who makes it to the next stage.

A job application form is also the first impression you give your candidates. When done right, a well-designed and thoughtfully put together application form can elevate the candidate experience. All to help give candidates an idea of if they’d like to work at your company.

Why use an online application form instead of asking candidates to email a CV and cover letter?

Getting candidates to email a CV and cover letter is not great for your candidate experience or your hiring process. Here’s how an online application form can help. 

  • Improve your hiring process: An online application form allows you to ask candidates for the information you’re looking for in a digestible format. This way you don’t have have to sift through endless email threads, docs and pdfs. It’s also easier to compare the answers to an application form than it is to compare candidates’ CVs — each one with a different format and structure. Use it to evaluate candidate’s more objectively with less bias.
  • Level up your candidate experience: When you use an online application form that’s short and easy to fill out, you show your candidates that you’re a forward-thinking business with a thoughtful hiring process. A well-designed application process reflects well on your company and helps to attract the right talent for your team.

What questions should you avoid including on job applications to avoid hiring bias?

Certain job application questions could lead to hiring bias and even dissuade candidates from applying to your company. To avoid hiring bias, steer clear of including these topics in your job application forms:

  • Age (unless it’s a legal requirement of the job, for example, to serve alcohol)
  • Disabilities or medical conditions
  • Gender, sex or sexual orientation
  • Race, color or ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Birthplace
  • Family or marital status, or pregnancy
  • Arrests or criminal convictions

Always be mindful of why you’re asking certain questions in an application form. Stick to the information you really need to be able to evaluate whether candidates might be a fit for the job and no more than that. Save lengthy, more extensive questions for a first interview.

Make the right first impression with Homerun’s job application forms

Now that you have a selection of application questions to choose from, you’re ready to create a job application form that actually attracts talent. But how can you make sure you’re impressing candidates while also giving them a top-notch hiring experience?

That’s where the application form comes in. Attract the right talent with a modern, user-friendly and customizable application form using Homerun (have you heard about our free 15-day trial where you can test out our free job application form creator?).

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About the author
Alessia is a Content Writer at Homerun based in London. She’s been writing B2B content for small and medium-sized businesses for the last seven years and is passionate about helping people feel more confident in their jobs. When she’s not researching all the ways growing teams can improve their hiring, she’s probably thinking about pasta, books, craft beer, and the importance of the Oxford comma.

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