Top Ten Questions to Ask a Job Candidate

by | Oct 26, 2021 | Human Resources, Small Business | 0 comments

When there’s a vacancy on your team, then odds are you will need to fill that position. The recruiting and hiring process can be tedious for some business owners. Among the more tedious aspects, the job interview. How do you know what questions to ask? How can you understand how someone will fit with the rest of your team? What can you tell from their answers?

Business owners may not necessarily enjoy the interviewing process, but it is essential to running and operating a successful business. You want people working for you who believe in what you are doing and who will acclimate well to your company culture. Your employees represent the company. Its values and its offerings. So, ensuring that the interview process is thorough and relevant is critical. Below are ten questions every employer should ask a job candidate during an interview.

1) Why do want to work for this company?

Start with the important one. If their answer is generic and has nothing to do with your specific company, then odds are they may not be the best person for the job. Ideally, a candidate will know about your company, and because of what they see, they will be excited about the prospect of working within your business. The more they know, the more enthusiastic they seem, the better fit they will inevitably be.

2) Tell me something about your current position.

Not only will this give you some background information on the candidate, but you will get to see something about how they perceive their work in general. If they proceed only to bad-mouth and bash their current company, this could be a red flag. An excellent answer to this question will balance critical insight with their understanding of the experience gained on the job.

3) What strengths do you have that you will bring to your new role?

This question gets to the matter of do they fit your current needs. They will ideally not simply talk about strengths in a vague and more general sense but instead pinpoint those strengths that speak to the position for which they are applying. And again, this should tell you something about their understanding of your company.

4) How would you characterize your ability to work within a team?

Working in a team is critical for just about every employee, in some context or another. While some people may be more comfortable working alone, they still need to engage with their colleagues on occasion for the benefit of the company as a whole. Gaining insight into their idea of teamwork can tell you a lot about someone.

5) How would co-workers describe you?

This ties in with the above question. If they are not a team player, their co-workers may not have the best things to say, though it is unlikely they would reveal this. That said, really listen to the adjectives and phrases they choose here. You could learn something about the candidate’s inherent strengths and weaknesses.

6) Where do you see yourself five years from now?

The best job candidates tend to be those who have ambition and possess drive. They will want to be a step ahead and, to that end, work to advance in their career. If the job applicant does speak about opportunities to move forward within the company, this can be an excellent thing. Keep in mind. There is a line between ambition and arrogance.

7) What is the most interesting project you’ve worked on?

Someone engaged and excited about their work is generally someone who can contribute to a company in a valuable way. It is not just the type of project they might describe here, but how they talk about it. Gauge their level of enthusiasm—this can tell you something about their dedication to their job.

8) Discuss a significant challenge you’ve had to overcome in the course of a work-related task.

A prospective employee should be able to knowledgeably discuss both their strengths and also potential weaknesses—in this category also falls the struggles and challenges they faced. The key is to see what they gained and the perspective they now have due to having gone through this.

9) What are your reasons for leaving your current job?

Now, of course, this question doesn’t apply if they are currently between jobs, but if they are looking to move from one position to another, it’s essential to find out why—at least from a potential employer’s perspective. They may have unrealistic expectations. You want to listen to their answer as you will tell something about their understanding of job roles and consequent payoffs.

10) Do you have any questions for me?

Ideally, they should have at least a couple of questions for you. If the interview was rather long and comprehensive, then there is a chance that you may have covered everything. You want to see that the candidate is genuinely interested in getting to know the company.

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