10 Questions to ask in your next candidate interview

You have shortlisted your candidates carefully and have now got them in to determine how appropriate they really are for the job. It’s time to see if they are as good in person as they appear on paper. Here is a list of questions for you to include in your next interview to help you find out.

1. Why did you apply for this particular position? And what can you bring to it?

Asking why a candidate is interested in a specific role and why they think they may be a good fit for it will allow you to find out if they have taken the time to do their research and prepare accordingly. It will also illustrate how aware they are of their own strengths and how they relate to the position they are applying for. As well as displaying their ability to read through specifics and match what is required of them.

2. What was your best role that you have worked in and why?

This question will demonstrate whether the candidate will be the right fit for the company culture that they will be potentially entering. For example, if your candidate would prefer to work independently and you require a team player then they are likely not to be right for the role.
It’s important to take into account that everyone is unique in their approach to their preferred working environment, therefore applicants that say they are comfortable with anywhere are probably not fully telling the truth. In this case a good approach is to be sure to clarify exactly what environments candidates have previously worked in and which they found most productive for them.

3. What management style do you prefer to work under? And who was your best boss and why?

The candidate’s response to this question will indicate the level of responsibility they are comfortable with and if the job that they are interviewing for’s management style will match their expectations. It will also give them the chance to list what particular management traits they found worked well for them when working for their best boss.

4. What did you like most and least about [job role on their CV]?

Asking this question will help you to quickly find out how motivated a candidate is along with their ability to fit into a particular company culture and their personality within a work environment.

5. What is your current salary? And are you wanting to match this salary?

Generally applicants tend to avoid mentioning their salary requirements at the start of a call for fear of over pricing themselves and deterring an employer in the process. If you are unable to get an exact number out of them then try and get a range.

6. Can you tell me about your greatest success and greatest failure?

When describing their greatest success it will provide insight into your candidate’s accomplishments and their main life goals. It will show you what strategy they used to achieve their success and what they have had to give up in the process.
Discussing a candidate’s failures will allow you to see how they are able to learn and improve from negative experiences. It also illustrates their thought process and how determined they can be. Do they use their failures to learn? Or were they unable to move past a bad experience?

7. What factors have motivated you to change your role?

This is a good way to find out what motivates a candidate – money, flexible working or maybe innovation. Once you know what is a key motivator for a specific candidate it is easier to tailor your responses about a specific role to match their needs.

8. What kind of projects do you prefer to work on?

This will allow you to see based on a candidate’s responses whether their interests match the job specification that they are applying for and you will be able to easily tell whether they are an appropriate fit for it.

9. Are you happy for us to verify your employment eligibility and carry out an employment/background checks?

It’s vital to get a signed application or electronic signature prior to carrying out either of these. So, in future if you don’t already do so make sure you include this in the interview process. If they answer no, this undoubtedly is a cause for concern and is better to be flagged up earlier rather than later down the line.

10. Have you got any specific questions about the role or the company?

Their response to this question will soon tell you how much they were paying attention during the course of the interview and how eager they are to secure the role.
If their key question is related to how many holidays they are likely to get, how long lunch breaks generally are or what the pay is then these are immediate red flags that you should be wary of.