You’ve got ten, 20, maybe 30 minutes with a candidate in an interview. How to you ensure you get the most out of the interview, so you’re left in little doubt about the candidate’s abilities and what he or she could bring to your team? You ask the right questions of course.
Best Interview Questions to Ask Candidates
If you’ve got an impending interview and want to make sure you optimize this short space of time, both for yourself and the candidate, take a look at the following 25 best interview questions to ask candidates.
What are your strengths?
Asking the candidate about their strengths will help you determine whether their main assets are relevant to your company and the role they are applying for.
What are your weaknesses?
We’ve all got weaknesses and if the candidate can answer this question honestly and articulately, will show self-awareness, particularly if they go on to inform you of the strategies they have in place to overcome their weaknesses.
Describe your character in less than 30 words
Another character-appraisal type question, which will help you determine if the candidate is self-aware and if he/she has the right character traits for the job.
What do you know about our organization?
This question will show how much or little research the interviewee has done about your company prior to the interview. If they manage to answer it comprehensively and correctly, will show commitment to the job, as well as possessing dedicated character traits.
Why do you want to work for our company?
Again, by answering this question in a positive and appropriate way, will show the candidate has taken the time to get to know your company, its culture and ethos, showing commitment and a good working attitude.
What prompted you to apply for this job?
This question will help you determine which of the candidates you interview are most interested in the position. The answer will also give you insight into what motivates the candidate and whether such motivations are relevant to your business and the role.
What interaction and oversight do you believe a boss should provide?
This question will provide evidence of how self-directed a candidate is. If they say they think a boss should provide constant interaction and oversight, they may require too much direction to fit into the culture of your business.
Describe your least favorite manager and why
Similar to the above question, this will give you a clearer understanding of what kind of leadership the applicant works best with, as well as their attitude to management and leadership.
Why are you leaving your current job?
Getting the candidate to tell you why they are leaving their current job will also give you an understanding of what career direction they are looking for and whether what you are offering is right for them.
What kind of working environment do you thrive in the most?
Again, the candidate’s answer to this question will help you determine if the working environment of your business is right for them.
Which achievement are you most proud of?
This achievement will also help you determine whether how well they candidate is likely to perform at your company. It will also give you insight into the candidate’s personality and what he or she deems as being important achievements,
Tell me about a time you overcame an obstacle
Problem solving skills are required at some point in almost every job. A proficient answer to this question will demonstrate the candidate has effective problem-solving skills that are likely to prove advantageous to your company.
Which are the most important attributes you will bring to our company?
This question will give you further insight into whether the candidate is right for your company and has the necessary attributes to make a successful go of the role.
What qualities make you a good team player?
Nearly every business relies on team playing and by asking this question you will have greater insight into the team playing capabilities of the candidate.
Give an example of when you used team playing skills
This question will help solidify whether you think the candidate is a true team player.
Do you work best alone or as part of a team?
Such a question will also help you decide what type of working environment the candidate is likely to work best in and whether the tasks they will carry out will be suited to their background and personality.
Describe a time when you have met a tight deadline
If the role is deadline-driven, asking this question with an example of successfully meeting deadlines will suggest the applicant is well-rehearsed in meeting tight deadlines.
What is the one thing you would like to do better?
Similar to the name your weaknesses question, this question will demonstrate the candidate’s aptitude for recognizing weaknesses and having the necessary strategies in place to make improvements.
Tell me about a time you experienced a difficult customer and how you overcame the problem
By answering this question will help you deduce whether the applicant has the customer service skills required for the role.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
By asking this question, you are inviting the candidate to tell you more about their long-term career plans to help you determine about whether such plans will fit into the long-term aims of your business.
What are your salary expectations?
If the salary hasn’t be outlined in the job description and in a previous part of the application process, now’s the time to check with the candidate what their salary expectation is. Naturally, if the expected salary is grossly over budget, the candidate might be too overqualified for the position.
How much notice would you need to give your current employer?
Use the interview to ask practical questions related to the job, such as how quickly the candidate could join your company if they were given the job?
How far away from the office do you live?
This question will help you understand the candidate’s situation and how far they would have to commute to get to work.
Would you consider flexi work / working from home arrangements?
If your business offers flexi work or working from home opportunities, ask the candidate if they would be happy to work such patterns, again to see if they are likely to fit into the culture of your company.
Do you have any questions for us?
The last question should give the candidate the opportunity to ask you questions. By asking relevant and articulate questions shows commitment and enthusiasm on the behalf of the candidate and an eagerness to learn more about the company they could soon be employed with.