Management & Leadership

7 Thought-Provoking Questions to Ask Candidates

When interviewing a candidate, there are so many questions you want to ask them – from their background to work style to their priorities when it comes to the workplace. While you may want to get to know everything you possibly can about the candidate, you only have a limited amount of time to ask the important questions. Therefore, you want to zero in on the questions that will truly help you understand if the candidate is the best fit for the role. 

Thought-provoking questions will help you get to know the candidate better and understand their motivations and how they’d react in certain situations. These questions are also important in determining culture fit and go beyond just technical skills which could be screened by screening tests.  

7 Big Questions to Ask Your Interviewee 

These are the important questions you should consider adding to the interview (along with other questions you have prepared, of course!). 

Question 1: How do you motivate yourself? 

Understanding what motivates someone is a good way to learn more about their working style, how they will perform, and what incentives help them be productive. It also shows what the professional values and what they look forward to doing in their roles.  

Question 2: Tell me about a time of conflict or disagreement in your workplace. How did you manage it? 

This is an opportunity to learn about how the candidate manages conflict and other challenges in the workplace. Hearing about how they handle conflict can teach you a lot about the person’s personality and whether or not they will be a good fit for the role and culture of the team. You want to see them reflect on this and talk about what they learned from the situation. (And if they use this as an opportunity to bad-mouth their past coworkers or manager, that should be a red flag!) 

Question 3: What is something new you have learned about the industry lately? 

This is a thought-provoking question that will demonstrate how engaged and informed the candidate is about the industry and if they have taken the individual initiative to educate themselves and stay informed about their field. 

Question 4: What would your former managers or coworkers say about you? 

Asking this question will allow the candidate to talk about their relationships with their managers and coworkers and how they work within a team. The candidate will typically share their soft skills and other traits that have helped them succeed in their former role which is a good gauge for you to learn about their personality and strengths. 

Question 5: What is the most interesting project you have worked on? 

This question provides an opportunity for the candidate to talk about something they are passionate about. You also want to learn about what type of projects the candidate enjoys working on so that you can better estimate if this role is a good fit for them. You can also learn about their goals and what they are interested in as they pursue their career growth at the company. 

Question 6: What does success mean to you? 

Success can mean a lot of different things to different people. You can learn about the individual’s goals and what it means to them when it comes to their aspirations for their future. While this might not relate to the role, it’s a great way to get to know the candidate a little bit better and get to know their motivations for career success

Question 7: Tell me something that is not on your LinkedIn profile. 

This question is very open-ended so how the candidate answers will give you insight into their thought process. They may choose to mention a career-related item or to discuss something in their personal life, such as a hobby or other interest. Take the opportunity to get to know them better. Also keep in mind that while an individual’s technical skills and experience may be the exact fit for the role, you want to make sure your candidate is also a good fit for your organization’s culture.  

When interviewing candidates, you want to keep the conversation flowing and have the candidate be comfortable. Having challenging yet interesting questions will keep the interviewee engaged and will get them to think. Make them comfortable by letting them know that it’s okay to take some time to reflect because you would rather have honest answers rather than made-up ones because they feel they are on a time crunch.

Looking to hire? From administrative, to finance & accounting, to technology and legal staffing, discover how our recruiters can help with your staffing needs.