Good Questions to Ask When Interviewing Someone

Your company is growing and that’s a phenomenal thing. However, your current employees and yourself are struggling to meet the demands of all of the new work you’re getting. It’s time to bring in someone new.

You can recruit through social media recruitment, job ads, and word of mouth. Once you have those resumés the real work begins.

In order to find the right job candidate, you have to know the right questions to ask your potential employee. Whether you’ll be meeting for an in-person interview, a phone interview, or a Zoom interview (as many interviews are done these days), you’ll need to get important information from them that their resumé may not show.

So how do you do that? Let’s discuss some good questions to ask when interviewing someone.

 

What You Want to Know

In the past, you may have conducted interviews by asking only job-based, generic questions. This may have led you to a candidate that sounded great on paper and in their interview, but they just didn’t click with the team the way you needed them to.

That’s why it’s important to not only check the job applicant’s qualifications and experience but also try to get an idea of what kind of team player they will be if you hire them.

Be Specific

Before we get into this list, we have to stress the importance of specificity. Vague questions will get vague answers, and you want to make sure your candidate is the absolutely perfect fit for you.

That’s why you won’t find anything along the lines of the common interview question, “tell me about yourself” here. Anyone can say anything when they’re asked that, and you don’t want just anyone working for you. A specific question will yield a specific answer that will allow you to see if there is a culture fit with the job applicant.

 

To Vet Their Qualifications and Experience

The first step is to make sure they will be able to do the job you’re interviewing them for, and a resumé can only tell you so much.

Why did you leave your last position?

The first thing you need to know is why they left their previous job. Were they fired? Did the company just not work for them? Either way, you should know.

What makes you want to work at our company?

Make sure you create a LinkedIn business page so that your candidates can get a feel for the company culture before their interview. Whether they’ve reached you through your company’s LinkedIn page or have checked out your website, they should be able to give you a clear response as to why they chose your company. This shows that they’ve done their research.

Can you show me an example of your previous work?

They’ve sold their work to you through their resumé, now check the receipts. Ask them to pull up their most recent ad design, the last proposal they typed up, or anything else relevant to the position they’ve applied for.

What was your favorite project that you worked on and why? Did you achieve your desired result?

Now you get the chance to see what kind of work they are passionate about and why they’re passionate about it. Was it the best outcome they could have hoped for? How did they succeed?

What was the most challenging project that you worked on and why? Did you achieve your desired result?

It’s easy for someone to brag about themselves in an interview, but harder for them to be honest about their struggles. Why was this particular project so challenging for them? Were they able to achieve success despite the challenge?

Have Them Audition

In acting auditions, performers have to prove their skills on the spot in order to be considered for a position. Find a way to do that with your prospective employee. If they need to be proficient in a specific type of software, sit them at a computer and have them show you how to do something.

 

To Gauge Personality

You’re going to be hiring a person, not just a worker, so you want to make sure that their personality will fit well with the team. You can use your own employees as a good barometer for who would be a good fit and who may cause a clash in personalities. Better yet, you can incorporate an employee referral program to attract candidates that fit seamlessly within your company.

How would previous higher-ups describe you? How about your co-workers?

Granted, this response will just be from their perspective, but it’s a good question to ask anyway. Would their coworkers consider them enthusiastic, easygoing, and a team player? Would their boss say they were punctual and dependable?

These two different perspectives can show you how a person in charge of them feels about them as well as their peers.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Goals and ambitions are invaluable in a potential employee. You want your interviewee to give a precise, positive answer. It’s better if this response is a bit lofty versus a response that seems vague and like they have never thought about it before.

What is one thing that I should know about you that I won’t find on your LinkedIn?

This is a great way for the candidate to have a moment to tell you a bit more about themselves personally. Notice it’s not a generic “tell me about yourself,” but a bit more of a specific question that gives the person more of a direction to go in.

How have you handled disagreements among co-workers in the past?

At some point or another, many of us will butt heads with a coworker on something. That’s pretty normal. What really matters is how we handle these disagreements and how we respond to conflict.

Were they able to settle things directly with the person in a calm way? Could they eventually see things from the other person’s point of view and make the other person understand their own? Or did they avoid the confrontation altogether?

This is an important indicator of just how much of a team player they will be.

 

Do You Have Any Questions for Me?

This one deserves a category all its own. At the end of your series of questions, once you have a good feel for who the candidate is and what they have to offer, ask if they have any questions.

Good candidates will usually want a bit more information and asking you a question will show an openness to communicate and a sign of true interest in the position.

 

When You Have Multiple Good Candidates

At the end of your interview, you may find yourself with a few great candidates. This is a great problem to have, but you may not know what to do with the ones you don’t end up hiring.

Stay in touch with them. The next time you have an opening on your team, reach out to them and see if they’re looking for employment at that time.

Doing the work on the front end, building up your business with business coaching with Maui Mastermind, and knowing what questions to ask when interviewing someone will lead you to the perfect candidate.

Business David is a Wall Street Journal and Business Week bestselling author of 11 business and financial books. A syndicated columnist for Inc.com and HuffingtonPost.com, David’s articles have appeared in over 6,500 publications. As the founder and CEO of Maui Mastermind®, David has worked with 100,000+ business coaching clients and community members to buy, build, and sell over $5 billion of businesses.