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17 Interview Questions to Ask Job Candidates

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The candidate you’re interviewing likes a challenge and wants to feel like their interviewer is keeping them engaged. Of course, you will ask about the candidate’s experience and qualifications, but you can also ask thought-provoking questions that will give you and the candidate a better understanding if this is the right fit for them. When you’ve found the perfect person for your role, pique their interest with intriguing questions to understand your candidate better.

Being well-prepared with good questions gives you the opportunity to really explore your candidate’s soft skills, thinking and other strengths that don’t show up on a resume. 

17 Interview Questions to Engage with Your Candidate 

These 17 questions will help you get to know your candidate beyond their technical skills and keep them challenged and excited for the opportunity to be a part of your team. 

1. What is something that’s not on your resume or LinkedIn profile? 

A compelling question to have the candidate talk about something outside of their professional life and talk about their hobbies or anything interesting that could help them grow in the position. You might get more of an insight into what drives them and what their passions and motivation might be. 

2. Did you ever have conflict at work? How did you manage it? 

A great question to understand how the candidate handles workplace conflict and their ability to manage challenges and situations where interpersonal skills are important.

3. If hired, what’s the first thing you would prioritize in this role?

This is a thought-provoking question because you will get to know what the candidate thinks of the role, what they think the priorities should be and how they might manage their responsibilities. A question like this will also help you gauge if the candidate truly understands the position and the company – great for when you must choose between candidates in the final round.

4. How would your manager describe you? 

As the answer is coming from their boss’s point of view, being able to cite examples from past performance reviews is helpful. You will be able to understand their relationships with their managers and cross-check their answers with the references provided. 

5. What type of workplace culture are you looking for?

A candidate should not only possess the skills needed for the role but also be a good fit for the culture. With their answer, you will get an insight into whether they would be a good fit for your company.

6. What is the most interesting project or task you have worked on?

Will the candidate enjoy their role and working at the company? Their answer to this question will help you further explore whether they are a good fit and if they are up to the responsibilities outlined in the job description.

7. Tell me about the biggest challenge you have faced at work and how you overcame it.

Another great way to understand whether they are solution-oriented and how they handle tough situations at work.

8. You’re running out of time for your project, how would you handle the pressure?

Deadlines creep up and sometimes tasks may need to be completed sooner than expected. This question will help you see how the candidate performs under pressure and what their time-management style is like.

9. What made you choose this career path?

A good question to get to know what motivates the candidate and what their vision is for their career growth.

10. Are you a collaborator or do you like working alone? 

Your team might be heavy with projects that require teamwork or projects that can be worked on alone. The way the candidate answers this question will help you understand their working style as well as whether they are a good fit for the team.

11. What would you want to do differently at a new job? 

You can truly get into the candidate’s thinking here. Did they give you a negative answer about their previous workplace and employer, or did they talk about their growth and how this new opportunity will help them grow in their career?

12. Why are you leaving your current role? 

Again, the way the candidate answers this will help you understand how they treat people and what their motivations are for choosing a different company.

13. Tell me your biggest achievement. 

This is a question for the candidate to point out their strengths to you and talk about something they are very proud of. If asked earlier in the interview, it helps to boost their confidence and may calm them as you get deeper into the interview. 

14. How do you set goals for yourself? 

The candidate should have a process of setting goals and a plan for how to achieve them. This answer will help you understand how goal-oriented they are and how they manage their goals and measure the outcome. 

15. What are some of the challenges you see impacting our industry? 

A tougher question but one that will gauge where the candidate sees the company in the industry and what some of the gaps are that need to be filled. The candidate will be able to share their knowledge of the industry and be able to share how they will be able to fill in the gaps at the company. 

16. How do you spend your time outside of work? 

Another way to see how the candidate spends their time outside of work and what interests them other than their work. A more relaxing question like this will help the interviewer and candidate get more comfortable with each other. 

17. Do you have any questions for me? 

Candidates that are engaged and passionate about the company and this opportunity will have questions they will want to ask you. Take this as a good marker to see which candidates are interested and have thought about it before the interview. 

The Candidate is Interviewing You, Too 

Remember that the candidate wants as much information about you and the company as you want to know about them. They want to know if this company is the right fit and if they will be able to grow in the workplace and fit in with the culture. Use this interview time to make sure it’s the right fit for both of you.

Looking to hire and need help? Our specialized recruiters are here to support your unique staffing needs. Contact us today.