• Employee Management

10 essential questions to ask a candidate

Aude Creveau
Aude Creveau

Asking the right interview questions is a crucial part of your company's success. Hiring the right team members can raise your entire business to new heights.

Hire the wrong team members and you have high turnover rates, deep employee and customer impact, and lost profits to the hiring, training, and replacement of unsuitable new hires.

Human Resources departments are busy enough without wasting time hiring, firing, and searching to fill the same positions over again.

Keep reading to learn the best interview questions to ask and the vital information you'll learn from their answers.

Let's dive right in!


Get to know how committed they are

You don't want to hire someone who's already planning their exit strategy. You need to figure out how committed they are to the company and the position they're applying for.

Why do you think you're a good candidate for this position? Where do you see yourself in five years?

These two questions will give you a sense of the applicant's enthusiasm for the position they're applying for and what their goals are for their career.

If they see themselves five years from now in a role that has nothing to do with the position they're applying for you know they are not expecting to keep the job for a long period of time.

You want a candidate that's motivated and inspired to grow as a team member but will be fulfilled and satisfied with the position they're applying for.

What aspects of the role do you think you'll like and dislike about this role?

The candidate's answer to this question will help you gauge how satisfied they'll be with this position. It will also help you know how well they understand the role they're applying for and whether they focus on the positives or negatives of their duties.

What did you like about your last job? Why did you decide to move on?

These two questions will tell you a lot about the person's attitude about work environments, their employer and their work ethic.

When someone puts down their past employers it shows how they may talk about you in the future. If they left for what seems like a small reason, you know they may leave your company for the same sized issue.

You want them to be honest, not too negative but not fake in their positivity. Knowing why they left their last position from their point of view gives you insight into their mindset.


Find out if they really are team players

Your team is only as good as their weakest player, you don't want to hire someone who is going to cause issues for the rest of the team. Ask them questions that will give you an idea of their ability to adapt and thrive within your team.

Ask them to describe a time they have gone above and beyond their job description to help their team finish a project on time.

Answers to this question will help you ascertain what the candidate sees as above and beyond, how they interact with their team and what lengths they'll go to help their team succeed.

Do you work better in a team environment or do you prefer to work alone? What are the positive and negative aspects of both?

You'll learn a bit about their preferred working environment, how they feel about working alone and as part of a team. This gives you more insight into whether they are the right person for the position in question.

What is your current or most recent supervisor's management style? What did you appreciate most about them as a manager and what do you wish they were better at?

The answers to this question will help you determine whether they will respond well to the management they will work with and what their priorities are when it comes to team and management interactions.


How do they handle conflict?

Conflict happens whether we like it or not. It's not about never having conflict but how they deal with it when it does arise.

Have them tell you of a time when they had an issue with another team member and how they were able to resolve it.

You don't want to be spending your entire day dealing with team personality conflicts. Answers to this question may help you figure out who will find ways to solve issues on their own and who will be knocking down your door with complaints or issues they want management to deal with.

Ask them to describe a time they disagreed with the rules or policies of an employer and how they dealt with that situation.

You want free thinkers but not individuals who will defiantly work against the policies and rules of management. This question may help you weed out candidates who may be difficult to deal with or manage. It may also show the leadership and work qualities you value such as open communication, respect and company loyalty.

What would you do if you saw a manager or co-worker blatantly disregard company policies and rules? What if you saw a co-worker stealing office supplies? 

These answers will help you understand whether the candidate will be honest and mature in their dealings with the company. You want someone who will protect and support the vision of your business without causing undue stress and conflict within the team.


Who are they as a person?

You want candidates that will complement the team you have and be driven to give 100% to what they do. Learning about them as a person can give you a better idea of how they will fit with the team they'll be joining and if they're committed to giving their all when at work.

Tell me about your hobbies, talents or extracurricular activities that you enjoy in your time off?

A person who is a member of a sports team may understand team loyalty and team building better than one who has never played sports. Someone who is improving public speaking could be an asset for your company.

Someone who never misses a football game at home or away may frequently call in sick to get to the games. A person who parties every Thursday may be completely useless every Friday as they nurse a hangover.

What are the three most important things to you in your life?

This can tell you a lot about each candidate. You can learn of their priorities, their passions, hidden talents and personality as they talk about the things and people that are important to them and why.


Know your candidates through your interview questions

You don't want to waste time, money and resources with the hiring and onboarding process of the wrong candidates. If you ask the right interview questions you can avoid hiring mistakes and build a team for success.

Nonetheless, the probation period is also essential to obtain a good hiring process. To learn more about the objectives of good staff management or other human resource topics check out our blog or connect with us today.

Looking for an efficient HR system to manage your team? Check out our employee directory start your free trial today and discover the rest of the HR software kiwiHR offers to optimise your HR department.

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