Three Great Questions to Ask Your Next Interviewee

DMVG Staffing Interview

Interviewing candidates for an open position in your organization can be a daunting task. After all, it is difficult to truly get to know someone - and assess whether or not they would be a good fit in your company - in one brief face-to-face meeting.

In order to conduct an effective interview, you need to get beyond the surface-level questions about basic job history and credentials and focus on the applicant's personality, character, and motivations. Here are three creative questions to ask your next candidate that will give you an edge in identifying new talent for your team.

1) "If you could start your career over again, what would you do differently?"

This question comes from Brendan Courtney, a staffing-firm executive, in an interview with recruiting website He says that he likes asking candidates about their past because it gives insight into how they learn from experience as well as their ability to make strategic decisions moving forward.

Asking this question might also give you the opportunity to learn about what motivates the candidate in a work environment, which in turn may reveal whether or not they will be a good fit as part of your team.

2) "If we're sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it's been for you in this role, what did we achieve together?"

Randy Garutti, CEO of Shake Shack, recommended this question in an interview with the Huffington Post. The answer to this question, he says, can give you a glimpse of how well they understand what your organization does as well as how they view their potential role in relation to the priorities of the organization as a whole.

He says, "[t]he candidate should have enough strategic vision to not only talk about how good the year has been but to answer with an eye towards that bigger-picture understanding of the company—and why they want to be here."

3) "If not this, then what?"

This question comes from Robin Reshwan, founder of staffing firm Collegial Services, in an article written for U.S. News & World Report. The point of the question, she writes, is to get a candid glimpse into how this job fits into the bigger picture of the candidate's career goals and aspirations.

"The key here is to get an unrehearsed answer, so that you can verify whether it aligns with what works well for your business," she writes. 

Answers to this question can also reveal a lot about the personality and character of the candidate, Reshwan says. "A candidate who replies that he would like to learn more about what skills he's missing displays comfort with being coached," she writes. "Another applicant may explain that, while your role is an ideal match for her ability to work with children, she would pursue two or three other roles that would accomplish that same goal. This person has a strong sense of herself and what she values."

At its heart, a job interview is an opportunity for you to get to know the applicant and determine whether or not they will be a good fit for your team. Questions like these, which get past the basics and dig more deeply into goals, dreams, and character, can be tremendously useful in assessing new talent to bring to your organization. 

For more information and insights into finding the very best people for your team, contact us today!


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