Asking the right questions is key to understanding if the candidate is right for your office. With dozens of different questions to ask, knowing which ones to ask to get the desired answers in order to make a decision can be overwhelming.
While we list out the top questions you should ask, looking at HOW the candidate answers will give you the insight you need. Consider looking at your office, the job and the required qualifications in detail prior to the interview. If you could hire the ideal person, what would they answer to each of these questions? Knowing the perfect answer before going into the interview gives you the power to determine how the interviewees answers measured up, instead of just looking at your “red flags” you identified during the interview.
What is the single greatest skill you have that makes you the most qualified for this position?
Think of this in terms of your office and the job they are applying for and then compare that to their answer. Without the capability to do the job at hand, it wont matter otherwise if this person fits your company culture. Being able to compare your ideal trait to theirs shows whether they hit the mark or are completely off base. It will also show you if they have done their homework or not.
What professional achievement would you like us to know about?
Allowing the candidate to share their proud moments should give them a chance to shine, open up, and show confidence. By talking about themselves, candidates should share an emotion and energy with you that shows strength in an area they really care about.
How do you describe your working style?
This question has a lot of company culture written into the answer. Think about how the current team works and what you would need from someone in this position to “fit in” and work effectively. Apply that to their answer and see how the two compare. If they are desiring a lot of teamwork and do best in teams, but the position is very siloed and needs a self-starter, then maybe they would not be a good fit.
Tell me about a time where you overcame a challenge.
This question is widely used in interviews because it gives insight into how a candidate can problem solve. You want to focus in on asking secondary questions on how they identified the problem or worked through the issue, if it isn’t obvious in the beginning.
What three words would describe your ideal work environment?
Also based in company culture, this will tell you what this person is looking for and if your office can deliver. If they like consistent and predictable work, but you are in a fast-paced, support environment, they may not be a good fit.
If hired, what is the first thing you would tackle in this position?
This is a great question that would allow them to further expand on this question, ask the questions they need to give you a good answer, or not know enough to provide the answer you looking for. Either way, knowing the answer to this question will also help you prepare their training when they first get started.
Why are you leaving your current employer?
Look for someone who does not badmouth their current employer, but rather is looking at moving up in their ranks or is ready for more responsibility.
Interviews are nerve wracking for both sides of the table. You only have an hour to determine if this person is going to meet your needs of the office, work well with their coworkers and produce the level of work needed to be successful in their position. The key is being prepared to ask the questions you need and listening to the answers. Take the questions with you and jot notes to refer back to at a later time after the interview, especially if you are interviewing more than one person.
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