The 10 questions you should be asking potential employees

Finding the right candidate for a vacancy can be like searching for a needle in the haystack – but knowing which questions to ask to help identify the right person for the job can make all difference

CREDIT: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on Robert Half

Interviews are a great opportunity for you to find out how suitable someone is for the role, what their personality is like and whether they’ll fit in well to the team you already have. However, to truly take full advantage of getting to know someone in the limited time you have, you need to make sure you use your time wisely by asking the right questions. Here are 10 questions which you should be asking your potential employees.

Which aspect of the job do you find the most appealing?

An interview question like this can help you determine how much preparation a candidate has done prior to the interview, and whether their interests align with the tasks required for the role. A strong candidate will take this as an opportunity to show how their skills and interests match those mentioned in the job description.

Imagine you’re talking to someone who knows nothing about your current job — how might you tell them about a professional achievement you’ve had?

You can use questions like this to test how well a candidate might work with professionals outside of their team. Try to note how well they avoid jargon—are they clear and able to communicate the significance of the achievement without lapsing into technical talk?

By your six month milestone, what would you like to have achieved in this role?

This is another interview question which will help you understand how much the candidate knows about the role, and their research should come across in the answer. You’ll also get a good indication of how ambitious they are and how much they want the role.

Your CV has some gaps in it—can you tell me a little more about your decision to leave your last role and what you’ve been busy with since?

If your candidate’s CV has some gaps in it, you can use questions like this to explore whether the time was used productively. There are plenty of reasons why a professional takes time away from work, so it’s important to approach the topic without sounding judgemental and to listen actively to the response.

From what you’ve seen so far, how do you think our organisation could be improved? 

Of all the top 10 interview questions, this is one of the trickiest to answer. It will test your candidate’s tact and reveals the depths of their preparatory research on your organisation. You can also use questions like this to find out how up-to-date your candidate is on current industry events.

What was your biggest contribution towards your previous job?

It’s important to find out how much of an impact your candidate has had on their last role and ways they might have evolved it. As they answer, pay specific attention to how creative and forward-thinking they’ve been.

Describe your perfect workplace

This is a test of soft skills, cultural fit and honesty. The candidate’s answer will help you figure out whether they will be well-suited to the team, and the workplace as a whole, and how comfortable they’ll be working for you.

How could your previous manager have improved their leadership technique?

Here’s another question which probes the candidate’s honesty and tact. Are they positive and constructive in the language they use? Or do they tend towards negativity which might harm your existing company culture? In asking this question, you may also get an indication as to their management preferences.

Can you tell us how the skill set from your previous career might work well in this new one?

Is your candidate making a career change? You can try asking an interview question like this to explore their motivations, and which of their skills can be carried over into this new role.

What problems can you identify in this profession as a whole?

A question like this shows you how switched-on your candidate is regarding current sector events. Listen for original and innovative ideas and use the response to decide how the individual might be best managed.

Making sure you ask the right questions which will give you the most useful information to make a decision on who fill fit the job role best; this is incredibly important when it comes to hiring a new employee. Using open and impactful questions will ensure you conduct the most effective interview possible.

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