Sample Interview Question Bank

General Tips:

  • As a rule of thumb, assume that every question should be followed up with “how?” and “why?”.
  • There are seldom right or wrong answers in an interview. The candidate’s tone, reasoning, and depth of their answers is where you’ll get the most signal.
  • Interviewing is not a perfect science. If you don’t feel like you’re getting a strong read from candidates based on a line of questioning, adjust the questioning.
  • If you don’t specifically know what you’re looking for in a role, you probably shouldn’t be interviewing candidates.
  • Biases are far more present in our thinking than we are aware. Be aware of your own.
  • Use interviews as a way to qualify candidates, not disqualify. Remind yourself of this before any interview.
  • Work Sessions are a great way to assess candidates, as well. Those are not covered in this document, but should be considered when building an interview process.
  • Interviews favor the confident. The most confident candidates do not necessarily make the best hires. Focus on what matters in the role, and listen for cues of humility, depth, knowledge, and resilience rather than seek a super-engaging, high-energy conversation.

[Softer Skillset/Values Fit Questions]

Startup DNA

  • Before integrating this into your interview, ensure you know what “Startup DNA” means for you and your team. Put it into words so there are no assumptions being made.
  • Measure how they’ve reacted to changing environments in the past. Their tone, resilience, and ability to understand reasoning they might not agree with will tell you a lot about how they’ll react to being in a changing startup environment.
  • What are you looking to be doing in your next role? What are you hoping to not be doing? [And does this align with what we need at XXX?]
  • Given the size and stage of our team, this is an all-hands-on-deck environment when the needs arise. What does all-hands-on-deck look like to you? Is that something you’re open to? Excited about?
  • What would you hope to accomplish in the first 30/60/90 days of your time here? How would you expect to be spending your time to accomplish everything?
  • What do you need from your manager to be successful? What do you explicitly NOT need from your manager? [“no micromanagement” is not a good enough answer :) this answer should help determine their self-awareness in their work style, too]
  • How have you determined in your past roles whether you’ve been successful or not? How do you expect to measure your success in this role (both quantitative and qualitative - see if you can hone into some numbers or a realistic framework).
  • Tell me about the last time you disagreed with a decision that was made in your company, or a project/initiative of yours was cut short (or failed). [seek optimism, pragmatism, and understanding in their answer].

Mission/Values Fit

  • If you don’t know what Mission/Values Fit means to you and your team, then this section is useless. Establish it for yourself before you attempt an “I’ll know it when you see it” interview process.
  • There are a million questions that could be asked here, and the ones listed below are pretty boilerplate. Don’t be afraid to be creative and find something that fits your team’s values.
  • What is it about XXX that gets you excited to work here? What part of our mission statement do you identify with?
  • What would your teammates tell me about your work style?
  • Who do you think you’ve had the opportunity to learn the most from in your career? Why?
  • Everyone cares about who they work with. But what do you specifically seek in your colleagues? How would you describe your colleagues at your last company (and was that a good or bad fit for you)?
  • Take a minute to think about someone who you think lives the most meaningful, impactful life [or role model, or most successful, etc]. Who is it and why?
  • Hypothetically, if you could go back in time and change your career path from the time you finished high school, what career would you choose for yourself?
  • What are you not getting in your current role that you’d hope to get at XXX?

[Harder Skillset/Functional Questions]


Basic Functional

  • Tell me about your current role at [Company]. What were you hired to do, what did you accomplish, and what did you change?
  • In retrospect, what would you have done differently? Why?
  • Knowing what you know about XXX, how do you expect your role to differ from your last company? What do you expect to be the biggest challenge for you?
  • What kind of infrastructure existed in your last company/function when you joined (tools, processes, best practices, teams, etc)? What role did you specifically play in making changes and/or adding to that infrastructure?


  • Tell me about how you know whether your team is doing well in any given quarter. What kind of tools and metrics are you using to track your team’s progress and success? What additional resources would you have liked to have at your last company and why?
  • What metrics do you think are most important to share upward with leadership when it comes to your function? How do you share these metrics (Looker/platform, shared google sheet, weekly email, biweekly presentation, etc)?
  • What are you optimizing for when you are building out a functional infrastructure for your whole function? When (if ever) do you make concessions to the structure? Walk me through how this worked at your last company.
  • Given our current size and growth trajectory, what resources do you think we need, and what resources do you think would be unnecessary/overkill in your function?
  • What metrics have you used to measure your efficacy & effectiveness? [rather than simply hitting goals.]


  • When you started at your last company, what processes/programs existed? What didn’t? What did you build, and in what order of priority? Why?
  • Tell me about the last process or program you were responsible for building and maintaining. Why did you build it that way, and what is the state of it today? What did you learn from it, and given the chance, would you have done things differently?
  • Tell me about a process or program that you owned, but that failed. Why did it fail? What would you have done differently?
  • Knowing our size and our growth plan, what do you think are the most important processes AND programs to put in place in the first 1-3 months, and 6-12 months? How would you get these off the ground?
  • Our biggest pain point right now is ______. How would we work together to solve it? Where would you start?
  • Currently, we have X, Y, and Z in place, but we know we have a lot more to build. Where do we start? What are we missing? What do we don’t know we don’t know?
  • How would you expect your first 90 days to look at XXX? What would you hope to build, and how would you do it differently from your last company? How would me/the team be involved in that process?
  • At what point do you recognize that a process or program that you’ve built isn’t working? Give me an example.

Strategy & Vision

  • The question is always Speed vs Perfection. How do you approach this in your day-to-day? How do you expect to approach this given what you know about our company?
  • How do you work with your leadership to ensure that goals are realistic? What do you do when your projects start to fall behind? Give me an example.
  • What would you hope to accomplish in the first 30/60/90 days of your time here?
  • Based on what you know so far about XXX, what do you anticipate to be the biggest challenge for you in this role?
  • Based on what you know so far about XXX, what do you think is the biggest risk for our failure/what do you think we should be prioritizing?
  • What do we need to prioritize now that’ll help us get to where we want to be in 2-3 years? Why?

Day-to-Day Partnership

  • How do you manage your relationship with functional leaders across a company, and with whom do you expect to partner the closest? In an ideal world, what does that relationship look like?
  • Describe a time when you fundamentally disagreed with a peer or leader on their approach to something you were working on. How did you manage that? What was the outcome?
  • Tell me about a leader you loved working with in the past. What was so great about that relationship? Why did it work so well?
  • Tell me about the most difficult leader you’ve worked with. What made it difficult, and how did you (both) make it work?
  • What personality traits in colleagues do you find most difficult to work with? How have you gone about adapting to and managing those types of personalities?

[Management/Leadership Specific Questions]

Manage to Results

  • Tell me about how you measured your team’s success in your last role.
    • How did you track this information, and why did you use these metrics?
    • How did your team members use these metrics in their own work?
    • How do you balance qualitative and quantitative success metrics when measuring your team members’ performance?
    • How do you calculate the appropriate workload for each team member?
    • How did you manage the shifting goals of a company with the focus/bandwidth of your team?

Hiring & Developing Teams

  • What do you think is most important when hiring new team members for your own team? What do you evaluate most deeply?
  • What do you think is the best way to utilize weekly 1:1s with your team?
  • How do you keep your team motivated in times of difficulty or high stress?
  • Tell me about the last time one of your team members was underperforming. How did you manage that?
  • Tell me about the person on your last team who was hardest to manage. Why was it so difficult? What was the outcome?
  • How do you think you could be a stronger overall manager? What is your biggest development area?
  • How has your approach to management changed due to the remote nature of work?
  • How would your previous direct reports describe you? Does this differ from how you hope they’d describe you?
  • How do you support your team members in their professional goals? What if those professional goals don’t align with their current function?
  • How do you track the progress of your team members against their growth goals? How do you expect your team members to track their own progress?
  • What kind of team growth do you anticipate needing as XXX scales? How would you calculate that?