What should you be asking your candidates in an interview?

Used alongside different evaluation methods, interviews are a key part of any hiring process. A great interview is a two-way street, you are interviewing for a role, and the candidate is interviewing you about the company. You should expect that qualified and prepared candidates will want to learn new things about the role and company, asking interviewers more questions than they may expect. This refreshing attitude usually expresses a high level of interest in the company they are applying to. Unfortunately, not all directors or managers find this a positive trait in an interview but may see it annoying, especially if they don’t know the answers.

When it comes to the interviewing process, not only should potential employees be prepared, it’s equally important for the interviewer to ask the right questions that go beyond ‘tell me about yourself. With different people such as recruiters, managers, or even C-suite executives, making up the rounds of interviews a candidate must undergo before landing the job, it is important that the right questions are being asked to properly evaluate the candidates.

So how do you create a good interview process?

The first part of ensuring consistent interviews is creating a standardised interview process. This can involve creating a list of questions for the interviewer to follow, which is especially important when there are different interviewers for different candidates. While conducting discussions with anyone who will be interviewing candidates, it’s key to educate them on the types of questions they should ask, and what style of an answer to look for, to avoid eliminating a perfectly qualified applicant based on the wrong, often personal, criteria.

Here are four good interviewing questions to put to work in your next round with a potential employee:

What excites you the most about this position?

When choosing between equally qualified applicants, always go for the enthusiastic candidate. Skills can be learned and honed, but passion is intrinsic. Passion sparks motivation, leading to excellent work and longevity with your organisation.

Work your way into figuring out what attracted them to the role. This way you will get a glimpse into what they understand about the job’s main duties and its overall value within the company.

Pro tip: follow up this question with why they want to work for the company to ensure you’re letting in someone who strongly believes in your mission, vision, and values.

If hired, what can the company expect from you?

This is a perfect question to ask in the later stages of the interviewing process, specifically when you’re already narrowing down your final candidates. By asking this gives you further confirmation that your prospective employee has the right understanding of the scope of the role.

Wouldn’t you be curious to know what’s on top of their to-do list on the first day on the job? This will also allow you to see where their priorities lie and how they may perform in the role.

What skill would you like to improve, and how are you developing it?

Instead of asking candidates what their biggest weakness is, frame it as a positive. Rather than asking an interviewee to point out their flaws, you can turn the tables by focusing on areas of improvement. You’ll get an answer that provides insight into what they are actively working towards as well as how they rate their skills.

The second half of this question gives that applicant a chance to explain what action plan they have for continuing to grow and develop. This provides additional insight as to how they may develop other skills as an employee.

Can you tell me about a time you overcame a challenge within your team/role?

Behavioural interview questions are nothing new, in fact, they are often the most dreaded among job seekers. But it’s proven an effective way to understand a person’s experience when dealing with different personalities, failure, success, and everything in between.

Applicants’ answers will give you an insight into how they cope with challenges, like a new project that’s completely out of their comfort zone or a challenging teammate. In the real world, starting a new job isn’t a piece of cake––even an already established employee still faces some roadblocks every now and then.

Interview questions are there to use at your discretion for a sit-down session with a promising candidate, you just need to make sure that you use the right ones for the role and your organisation. They make for great prompts to lessen interview jitters (yes, interviewers can get nervous too) and you can get the most valuable information to help you zone into the person’s key competencies, company knowledge, and their understanding of the duties for the role.


To gather candidate information before the interview (which helps you ask the right questions), be sure to check out Talegent’s candidate screening solutions to help you narrow the funnel of applicants in your talent pool.

Reach out to John

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