Hiring Leadership Management Workplace

5 insightful questions to ask candidates during an interview

interviewBuilding up a team is one of the most important responsibilities you’ll ever have as a manager. Each employee you screen for an open position will bring a unique set of skills, expertise, and background experience to the table. For that reason, during an interview, it can often be challenging to determine which candidate out of your hiring pool may be the best suited for the job at hand.

Add onto that the fact that the typical interview questions don’t offer much in the way of big insights. Questions like ‘tell me more about yourself’ or ‘what would you say is your greatest weakness?’ might be common recommendations, but they aren’t going to tell you too much about the person sitting across from you.

To truly better understand potential hires, it’s essential to ask insightful questions during interviews that will help you peel back the layers of each candidate.

Below, we share just 5 such questions, which you can begin using for your next hiring process:


  1. Why are you interested in working for us?

Has the candidate done their homework about your company? With the ease of access to information in today’s digital age, there’s no reason why they should lack an answer to this question. If they do, it raises a red flag.

A candidate who hasn’t researched the type of business your company engages in, the values it upholds, or the achievements it has made…is a candidate who may lack a sincere interest in working for you.

A question like this also ensures that candidates are in alignment with the company’s purpose, vision, and values, and helps you see whether or not candidates have given considerable thought to how they fit into the big picture.


  1. Why are you the most qualified candidate for this position?

A question like this gives you a comprehensive look into a candidate’s own self-awareness. What do they believe to be their foremost skills and core competencies? What do they bring to the table? What sets them apart from their peers?

If they can clearly communicate this, then they have an excellent sense of the value they bring. More than that, this question allows you to confirm that a candidate understands the responsibilities of the role to which they’re applying, and that they’ve thought about how their unique experiences can contribute to a position with your company.


  1. If hired, what would be your first priority in this position?

“This is a great question to ask in a later interview round when you’re choosing between the final candidates that you’ve narrowed down,” writes career expert Kat Boogard.

‘This one is effective for a couple of reasons. First, it’s yet another opportunity to confirm that the interviewee has the right understanding of all that the position will be responsible for. Secondly, it gives you the chance to understand their priorities. What do they believe should be at the top of the position’s to-do list?

“Last but not least, a question like this one means you can extend beyond the generalities that often come along with interviewing and get some insight into how that candidate would actually perform in the role.”


  1. What could your current company do to be more successful?

A question like this offers insight into the way a candidate sees the big picture at their current organisation. It also allows you to see their sense of creativity and the way they would approach a problem.

For instance, have they given any consideration at all as to how their current company could improve upon itself? If not, they might not be driven by continual improvement, or they may have a more short-sighted sense of their contribution to the workplace.

Candidates who enjoy going above and beyond, however, tend to look for ways to do things better. They enjoy making processes more efficient, and they are motivated by helping the company be the best it can be.


  1. What motivates you and how do you motivate yourself in difficult situations?

Everyone wants an employee who takes initiative. If a candidate speaks about being motivated by achievement, excellence, growth, etc.—then you can rest assured that such a person will be motivated to put forth their best work as a member of your team.

It’s equally important to get a glimpse into their sense of resiliency. How do they cope when things get challenging? Do they withdraw to self-sooth at the expense of their work? Or do they keep moving forward? Do they innovate and find new ways to solve the problem at hand? Do they stay focused and get the work done?



When it’s time to begin the hiring process and conduct interview after interview, it can be challenging to find the perfect fit for the open position on your team. With so much to consider, it’s no wonder that hiring processes often take companies weeks or months to complete.

That’s why it’s important to ask the right questions at every stage. Doing so will allow you to get a clearer and more detailed look into the way your candidates think. As a result, you’ll better position your company to bring the right team member on board.

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