Interviews & Job Hunting / 9th Nov 2018

Top 10 questions to ask candidates in an interview

When it comes to job interviews, preparation is vital, and that doesn’t just apply to the candidate – it’s equally as important for you as the interviewer.

Interviewing a candidate is your chance to determine whether they’re the right fit for the job, the team and the company in general. However, that information is only revealed if you ask the right questions.

Are you, as an interviewer, prepared? Here are the top 10 questions to ask at your next sit down with a potential employee.

Tell me something about you that others may be surprised to know

Interviews can be extremely nerve-wracking for candidates. This light-hearted type of question not only breaks the ice to make the candidate feel more comfortable, but it’s an opportunity to learn something interesting and candid about the candidate. Something which doesn’t always happen in a standard interview.

 Do you have any questions for me?

This question is a real favourite for interviewers. If candidates are genuinely interested in the role, they’ll have a whole list full of questions to ask. Typical examples include questions about the company ethos, working hours, salary bands and promotion opportunities.

Candidates who answer ‘no’ are generally less interested in the role, which makes your final decision a little easier.

What career accomplishment makes you most proud?

Whilst it’s good to employ someone who has the right skills, you also want to hire an individual who takes great pride in their work. Asking the candidate to share their success stories gives you an idea of their strengths and abilities, but will also help you better understand the type of work that they find rewarding and determine whether it’s aligned with the job they’re applying for.

What excites you most about this position?

There’s one thing that can’t be taught in the world of employment – enthusiasm. If a candidate is truly excited about the job opportunity, it will typically translate into high standards of work, a greater work ethic and longevity within the company.

Ask the candidate what initially attracted them to the role. Doing so will confirm their understanding of the role, but will also give you the opportunity to grasp which aspects of the job interests them the most.

What are your greatest weaknesses?

This question can be a tricky one for candidates, but will ultimately give you the opportunity to quickly learn a lot about that person. This question will enable to you discover whether the candidate’s weakness could conflict with job requirements and how a candidate is working to improve on those weaknesses.

What are your greatest strengths?

Like addressing weaknesses, asking the candidate to talk about their strengths will give you the chance to see how their greatest qualities align with the needs of the role. You’ll even be able to determine whether their strengths will assist the company in reaching their end-of-year targets.

Why are you leaving your current employer?

Nobody wants to seem like they’re bad-mouthing their employer; however, posing this question will give you better insight into the candidate’s professional history and help you identify any red flags – complaining about their current work duties for example.

If any of their reasonings conflict with the job they’re applying for, it may indicate that they’re not the right fit for the job.

Tell me about a difficult work situation and how you overcame it

At some point during a person’s career, everyone has experienced challenges at work, but it’s often how you overcome them that makes professionals grow the most. Questions like these will give the candidate the opportunity to tell you how they perform under pressure, their ability to cope with stress and discuss their problem-solving skills.

What are your career aspirations?

A candidate who has a professional drive to succeed in their career is valuable. Look for a job seeker who is committed to their career and has targets, and consider mentioning how your company can assist them in reaching their goals.

How would your co-workers describe you?

If you’re unsure of how a candidate will fit in with other members of your team, this question will help you understand just that. Before interviewing the candidate, get to grips with the personalities of your current employees and use that as a basis for finding a candidate who will complement the team. For example, certain employees may thrive with an assertive new team member, whilst others may find it challenging.

The recruitment process can be a lengthy experience for employers.  Let the S4R team take the stress away by assisting you with those hard-to-fill roles. Get in touch with us by calling 01489 890 276 or emailing