6 Interview Questions to Ask Potential Employees (And The Reasons For Doing So)

Hiring for a position can be challenging – especially when the choice isn’t obvious, and you find yourself choosing between two or three equally good candidates. This is when the importance of crafting good interview questions come to play.

Besides helping you assess the capabilities of potential employees, asking the right interview questions can help you determine a candidate working style, and whether or not they will be a good fit for your company. 

To help you in this important endeavor, here are five important interview questions that you can consider asking good candidates that you are thinking of hiring.

#1 What makes you most suitable for the role?

In addition to having the candidates elaborate more on their core competencies, this question allows you to have a better sensing of the skills that they have which is relevant to the role. Most importantly, the answers from the candidates will allow you to assess their understanding of what the role entails, to avoid a mismatch of expectations between what candidates think their roles are, against what the roles actually requires.

What to look out for: If they are not able to explain why they are suitable for the role, it could mean 1) that they may lack the skills or experience for the role. Alternatively, if they are able to elaborate on their core competencies but this doesn’t fit what you are looking for, it may suggest that they are not entirely clear on the job scope as well.

#2 What excites you most about the role?

Passion often translates into quality work. Hence, it’s essential to know what your potential employees are excited about the work that they will be doing. Understanding what interests your employees have can also be used as a source of motivation. Plus, having passionate individuals onboard your team will help to create a more positive work environment for everyone else.

What to look out for: This is a good question to ask in order to evaluate whether the candidate is genuinely excited about the position, or whether he/she simply sees it as just another job. 

#3 What are some of the first things you’d tackle if hired?

At its core, this question allows you to understand candidates work approach and style, and if they are compatible with the company’s culture. Of course, the actual answer matters, as it will tell you about the candidate’s understanding of the company’s work. 

What to look out for: The answers will give you an indication of just how much candidates have thought about the role they are applying for. Of course, if you are hiring for a junior position, this question may be redundant. 

#4 Tell me about a time when you committed a major mistake.

Being able to admit to a mistake is important, and this question paves the way for just that. Additionally, the candidates’ answers allows you to understand what they have learnt from the mistakes they have made and how they have moved on from it.

What to look out for: The answer will give you a good proxy of how self-aware the candidate is.

#5 What is your ideal work environment?

Simple yet straightforward, this will tell you if the candidates are capable of fitting into the existing work culture. Work dynamics are important, especially if you’re working in a team. So, you’ll want to assess your candidates working style before having them on board. 

What to look out for: The answer will give you some insights into the ideal work environment and expectations that the candidate has. 

#6 Do you have any questions for us?

Opening the interview to questions the candidate might have allows for a better sense of what the person is expecting or looking for in the job. It also shows that you are an open-minded employer who is willing to address questions, a trait that a younger workforce might appreciate more.

What to look out for: If the candidate has no questions it might require more nudging to get a sense of what they are expecting at a workplace. A candidate that asks too many questions might also mean that the person is opinionated and has a certain expectation of their employer.

Read Also: Here’s Why Offboarding Employees Is As Important As Your Onboarding Processes

Ultimately, do bear in mind that while skills are important, the candidate’s ability to fit in within the company should also be worthy of consideration when hiring. Good luck! 

The article was first published on January 23, 2020 and updated wth new information.

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