Hiring New Employees? 7 Interview Questions to Ask Job Candidates

If your interviewing process needs a fresh twist, here are seven interview questions to ask potential new employees.

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To be in charge of staffing and the recruitment process is both an enjoyable and taxing role. Whether you take on hiring as an early-stage startup, outsource HR staffing services or hire an internal HR manager there are key areas that should be addressed.

Once you sit down with a potential team member, the interviewer’s chair transforms into a front row seat of live theater — where candidates are vying to become your next top employee. Not only do you get to know a lot of people, in a literal sense, interviewing job candidates affords you the privilege of becoming more aware of human nature — what drives different people to arrive at certain decisions personally and professionally.

Doing this on a consistent basis, however, can turn the art of interviewing into a monotonous chore. For instance, how many times have you caught yourself asking the same lackluster interview questions to get it over with, quickly? Whether you can still remember or you’ve lost count, the point is, you should stay creative when screening job applicants to find the best applicant for the role.

If your interviewing process needs a fresh twist, here are seven interview questions to ask potential new employees:


1. What circumstances led you to seek employment with us?

While it’s easier to ask candidates why they want to be a part of your organization, this inquiry doesn’t really peel them away from their comfort zone. Practically every candidate has answered or at least imagined replying to this cliché question. Thus, you can expect an answer they rehearsed in the shower and on the day of the interview.

On the other hand, asking them what drives them to seek opportunities in your company will compel them to tell you a story. Meanwhile, this story doesn’t have to be limited to their career.

A jobseekers’ primary goal is to land the job they’re applying for; however, there are other dimensions to the story. There are candidates who just recently graduated from college, but are already assuming the role of their family’s breadwinner. Candidates also tend to share accounts from their previous jobs whether it’s problems, irreconcilable concerns, or a mere hankering for personal growth.

Whatever the reasons may be, their stories will reveal a lot about their personalities, including positive and negative traits. This type of question can give you a good idea of their character.


2. Can you tell me about a recent project you accomplished and are proud of?

A less hackneyed way of making candidates detail their strengths and weaknesses is to ask them to share with you an accomplishment they take pride in. By asking the applicants to recount experiences that called them to be their best and exposed their limitations, you’re not only showing interest on what they can and can’t do. More importantly, you’re communicating importance on the process they went through to achieve something. The stories candidates tell you will reveal insight into their attitude when faced with certain situations, and this can give you a good preview of their leadership skills or how collaborative they are as team members.


3. How do you cope with stress in the workplace?

If there were any workplaces in the world completely devoid of stress, people would kill to work there. But here’s the point: stress is a common reality in every office and the least we could all do is manage and cope with it. So, as early as the hiring process, pop this question to every candidate you’re interviewing.

This question forces the candidates to give what is possibly the wittiest or the most graceful answer they can come up with, so take note of replies that include hobbies and personal philosophies. Another way to ask this question is to make candidates gauge how easily they are distressed when the pressure rises.

Also, be wary of answers that involve vices or the use of possibly dangerous substances. While this is not to say that you judge them based on these factors alone, things like these may deter them from excelling on the job.

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