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Five interview questions you should always ask a job candidate

Employer’s interview questions, styles and formats vary greatly from company to company and interviewer to interviewer, but the end goal is always the same – to find out as much as possible about the candidate to give you the information you need to make a hiring decision. Get it right and you have an employee who will be a productive and motivated member of the team. Get it wrong and you have to deal with costs of rehiring and the negative impact on both the rest of the team, your customers and potentially your brand.

Written by Michele Ridland, Business Manager for our sister brand, Supertemps – here are five interview questions that will help you to assess the candidate’s motivations, personality and working style:

1. Given what you know about the company and this position, why should we hire you?

Shows whether or not the candidate has researched the position/company and taken time to prepare for the interview, identifies strengths and ability to sell themselves, allows them the chance to tell you something relevant about themselves that you might otherwise miss, exposes motivations and expectations (ie do they want THIS job or A job).

2. Describe your ideal job, including what your ideal boss would be like.

Shows goals and aspirations, motivations and preferred working styles. Look for elements of the described job that are relevant or completely at odds with the job they are applying for. All of this information is useful in determining how well this person fits within your corporate culture and existing team and whether they will be motivated to perform in the job at hand.

3. What’s one thing you would like to do better? How do you plan on improving? 

Asks for their weaknesses, but more importantly how they compensate for them, shows approach to Personal Development and goal setting and what they might expect from you in relation to ongoing training etc.

4. When have you failed? What happened and what did you learn from it?

Demonstrates resilience, problem solving, approach to team work and potentially leadership abilities, how they handle setbacks – watch for the ability to take responsibility for their own mistakes (or are they blaming everyone else), and a learning approach to processing the information that came from the experience and how they used that to improve.

5. What tools/habits do you use to keep yourself organised?

Not are you an organised person, but how do you organise yourself. You are looking for concrete plans of action, good habits like diary management, forward planning and goal setting. Almost all CVs claim that the candidate is “organised”, get them to prove it.

With all interview questions don’t be afraid to probe deeper if you think there is more information there. Tag on questions like “how did you do that” or “why did that happen” encourage the candidate to open up and provide unscripted answers that can be very revealing.

Add these five questions to your interviews and watch the amount and quality of information you have about your candidates soar.

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