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4 Key Questions You Should be Asking Candidates

Every hiring manager wishes they had a crystal ball. Hiring a new employee is a big investment, and there is a certain amount of risk involved any time you make that decision. There will inevitably be times when a poor hiring choice is made, and it’s only natural to wonder if there was some way you could’ve seen it coming. While you probably aren’t going to find a crystal ball that will work for you, there are ways to tell if candidates are going to be the right choice. You simply have to ask the right questions!

  1.       Is there any reason why you wouldn’t take this job?

       This question is a powerful way to uncover any hidden reservations a candidate might have about the role. It is direct and to the point, giving the candidate the opportunity to express any hesitations they might have and you the opportunity to pick up on any potential causes for concern. Asking this of candidates before making an offer can also put you in the best position possible to get an acceptance since you’ll know in advance what obstacles you may need to overcome.

  1.       Walk me through your career – how did you get to where you are today?

       Asking for a step-by-step walkthrough of a person’s career can tell you a lot more than just what they’ve done; it gives you insight into why they have made the moves they made. Have they simply drifted along aimlessly, or has their career been deliberate? Do they seem to be the “victim of circumstance” too often, or have they chosen to make moves on their own? This simple question can give you deep insights into the background and intent of the candidate you’re interviewing.

  1.       Where have you made the biggest impact in your career?

       This is a great question because it gives the candidate plenty of room to maneuver. The subject matter is open to interpretation, leaving your interviewee to speak to what they found most meaningful in their careers without the burden of an overly specific topic to speak to. Their answer should help you gauge what is most important to them and where their strengths have been best applied.

  1.       In a perfect world, what would you do next?

       It’s another open-ended question that can help you draw out the candidate’s motivation further. Asking what they are looking for is also to-the-point enough to help zero in on whether the role you’re considering them for is aligned with their objectives and needs. Giving a candidate the opportunity to speak about their wants can also give you a lot of valuable information that can help you set them up for success if they join your team.

       The common thread that these questions share is that they are all thought provoking and designed to solicit meaningful responses. Communication is the key to discovering potential roadblocks before they can become an issue. From the first interview to the offer letter, you should make it a goal to engage your candidates with meaningful questions that give them the opportunity to tell you what matters to them and to define and qualify their accomplishments.


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