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    Workstream | 4 min read

    How to Interview Hourly Applicants: Best & Worst Questions

    A recent study conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) found that the average cost-per-hire for hourly employees is $4,129 when you factor in recruitment and training costs. The best way of reducing this cost? Smarter hiring. Hiring managers need to ask more questions to understand whether an applicant is a good cultural fit and likely to stick around. 

    In this interview pack we've compiled top indicator and interview questions to help you identify the best applicants. Interview indicators help you better interpret and evaluate your applicants’ responses. Use them to build your own a rating scale of applicants’ responses.


    1. Are you legally eligible to work in the US?
    2. Have you previously worked in the same industry?
    3. Are you looking for a: Full-time Position / Part-time Position / Seasonal Position
    4. Which days of the week are you available to work? 
    5. What shift(s) are you available to work? Morning (8:00 am to 12:00 pm); Afternoon (12:00 pm to 5:00 pm); Evening (5:00 pm to 10:00 pm)
    6. Total Hours Available Per Week?
    7. Are you available to work on: Weekends; Holidays; Neither?


    1. What is your salary expectation?

    Work History

    1. Please indicate the Current/Last Employer details: Job Title, Address (street, state, city, zip)
    2. What were your major responsibilities and what is/are the reasons for you to leave your previous/current position?
    3. Work reference (at least one, with name, phone number, relation, years).

    Scenario Questions

    1. What would you do if you disagree with your superior?
    2. What did you do when you encounter stressful situations with your teammates? 
    3. How would you deal with a situation when your coworker is unresponsive?
    4. When working with people, in general, describe your preferred relationship with them.
    5. Tell us about an occasion when you believe that you delighted a customer, either an internal or an external customer.


    1. Give an example when you weren't able to be at work on time?
    2. Give an example when you weren't able to meet your work schedule requirements?


    1. What is the highest level of education you've received? Or currently enrolled in?
    2. Are you currently enrolled?
    3. What is your school name, years attended, and field of study?

    Job Description Questions

    1. What is your understanding of the skills necessary to perform this job?
    2. What special training have you completed that qualifies you for this job?
    3. Name one skill that makes you qualified for this position?
    4. What is your understanding of the skills necessary to perform this job?

    General Questions

    1. Have you ever felt like you are not qualified for a job assigned to you?
    2. How do you handle a situation when you made a mistake?
    3. What motivates you to come into work every day?
    4. What attracted you to this company?

    Problem Solving

    1. Provide some examples when you need to work under a lot of pressure. How did you get through it?
    2. Give an example when you were forced to improvise a solution to solve a problem.

    What NOT to Ask in an Interview

    When interviewing job candidates for your open hourly positions, be sure to stick to questions that will give you insight into the kind of person you are hiring. Avoid questions about personal or sensitive information.

    Avoid any questions about:

    • Race
    • Religion
    • Sex, Gender Identity, or Sexual Orientation
    • Disability
    • Age or Genetic Information
    • Citizenship
    • Marital Status
    • Number of Children or Pregnancy Status

    It's common for interviews to feel more like conversations - this is a good thing. You'll get more honest answers from applicants. No one wants to feel interrogated. When this happens, it's common for hiring managers to slip in some inappropriate questions. Make sure this doesn't happen to you.

    Top 5 questions hiring managers should not ask (but often do): 

    1. How many years ago did you first start working? <-- this is age discrimination
    2. Do you need time off for church on Sunday?
    3. Do you have kids / what's your childcare situation?
    4. You have a unique last name - what's the origin?
    5. Is that your married name? 

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    Nigel Seah

    Nigel is not just a marketer at Workstream, he is also a graduate of Psychology and Marketing of Singapore Management University. He has multiple experiences in various areas of marketing - advertising, email marketing, and content writing. Fun fact, prior to joining Workstream, he took a semester off school to intern at SAP in Brazil.

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