4 of the most revealing interview questions to ask candidates

If you followed our six week series on how to answer questions on core skills then you should be well versed on how to answer standard interview questions. Everyone should be able to answer questions on teamwork, communications and time management at the very least.

As part of the interview process, you need to delve a bit deeper to really get to know the person. The chances the candidate has scripted most of their answers, which is fine, it shows that they are prepared. But as an interviewer or hiring manager you need to get behind the script by asking more telling questions.


You will get to know the candidate’s true potential to perform well in the role or the company by asking some more revealing questions: 

1 – What did you learn from our website?

We want to know how prepared the candidate is, and if they can do their homework before attending an interview. If they are interested in the role and the company, they will read the interview and memorise some key points. It’s an opportunity to see if the candidate can take the initiative.

2 – If you were the recruiter for this role what are the top 3 things that you’d look for?

From this question you are likely to find out the fundamental values and skills the candidate has and what they find most important. It gives you an insight as to their cultural fit at the organisation. If you ask the candidate to rank themselves against those skills, then you will get an insight into whether they are self-confident, cocky or disingenuous.

3 – Have you ever made a decision that was unpopular with your team? How did you handle it?

This is a behavioural question that needs to be used more. We’ve all made decisions that have rubbed people up the wrong way. So how do you handle it? You want to know if the candidate compromised with the team, ignored the problem or addressed it with some form of authority. Whatever way the candidate responds will be, and it will give you a more in-depth look at how they work in a team.

4. What is your motivation for looking for a new job?

This is a great question to ask in the first round of interviews once you have established some trust with the candidate. This opens you up to a few scenarios; they were asked to leave or politely pushed out the door due to underperformance, they didn’t get along with their manager or team, or they wanted a change or more money. You will likely get a more emotional response to this, and it will give you an idea of what the real motivation is.

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