15 Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Candidate

In 2015, Glassdoor conducted a comparative study between interview ratings to satisfaction ratings for the groups who were hired. The following were the conclusions:

  1. The job interview process which was 10% tougher received 2.6% higher employee satisfaction subsequently
  2. The selected future employees who went through a rigorous interview process were likely to perceive that the company had placed a strong emphasis on finding employees who were a perfect fit for the position and the company culture

Guidelines for an Interviewer

Surprisingly the so-called rigorous process was based on the framework of questions involving situation, task, action, and a result that are associated with understanding the underlying human tendency, i.e. intangible in nature. It is important to understand that the skills and experience are an outcome of the different aspects of the tangible and intangible zones the candidate demonstrates.

15 Insightful Questions to Ask

The preliminary step for starting a selective process must be taken by creating an eased-out atmosphere with a salutation. The process of interview and job search is at times stressful for the candidate. It is their right to be in a comfortable, pleasant zone before taking the heat!

1. Please introduce yourself

Purpose: This breaks the ice for the candidate and bridges in the gap in impeding the impulsive imaginary doubts and questions arising in the mind of the candidate

2. What is it that I don’t know about you after going through your resume

Purpose: This type of question brings in a sense of amazement in the candidate who might have not faced such type of question before. Framing a question slightly different gives in the room to explore about the candidate which might not have come out asking a conventional set of related questions

3. Can you briefly explain your previous roles and responsibilities

Purpose: This helps in understanding the candidate’s presentation skills. Although this has been written on the resume, it assists in asking follow up questions covering the candidate’s competency and accountability

4. Describe any one of your war stories

Purpose: It is important to evaluate a candidate’s communication skills through his/her narrative or description of related events. This also reflects the problem-solving ability and willingness of the candidate to take part in any conundrums.

5. Explain in detail any two of your accomplishments you are proud of

Purpose: Now right after this question is put, the non-verbal actions of the candidate is a poke-yoke (foolproof) in itself. This strongly reflects towards the ethics and commitment of the person towards his work and associates

6. What is your intuition with the current job role you are interviewed for

Purpose: From this phase, the real questioning starts in favor of the interviewer. Moreover, it gives a clear picture of whether the candidate understands the offered opportunity

7. Tell me how can you tackle a situation when a customer is unhappy

Purpose: Customer satisfaction and centricity is the top priority. This type of question where suddenly a situation is depicted creates an odd-ball scenario for the candidate and can be a little challenging for the candidate as he now has to switch towards thinking in that direction.

8. Suppose you are hired, how do you plan to work with this company

Purpose: This is a very typical – ‘Why should you be hired’ type, but with a different approach in assessing the behavior, competency and cognition. Also, this can tell whether the employee is willing to implement his past learnings and experiences.

9. If your ex-work colleagues can describe you, what would that be?

Purpose: Here comes an intangible one – a question to predict the behavior and ethics of the candidate and his attitude towards seniors and peers.

10. Do you think this industry is challenged by any aspect?

Purpose: This opens up a new dimension towards analyzing the knowledge, awareness, and social exposures the candidate has had in the past.

11. What is your motivation?

Purpose: It reflects how the person infers from society and looks up to.  

12. What are your hobbies?

Purpose: It is equally important to unveil the co-curricular & extra-curricular activities he/she is involved which keeps them going.

13. What is your vision?

 Purpose: This is a slightly tricky question. It opens up most of the intangible qualities of the person such as the behavioral, visionary, and social aspects. It shows how much responsible the person is towards his duties.

14. What is your aim in life?

Purpose: Better than ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years. With most of the questions already asked, a picture is already projected in the employer’s mind. Now with this question, a new sphere of possibilities are embarked upon. The underlying potential of the candidate is very evident in how he/she presents.

15. Any questions for me?

Purpose: The candidate should get a fair chance to know what he should through the questions he asks the interviewer. 

It is vital to follow a regime in challenging a candidate to open up in terms of what the underlying capabilities are. However, with this being said, there is no specific pre-conceived notion needed before knowing a candidate through a question based on the selective process. The sequence can be a little different, but the questions to assess aptitude, understandings, skills, and experiences should be in a way that truly reflects the real-time capabilities, attitude, perception, ethics, and morale of a person.


Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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