An important part of the interview process is getting the most out of the questions you are asking in the short time frame you have with a candidate. In the world of talent management, the art of asking the right questions is something that we get little training on and we are all learning as we go!

Here are some of the questions we like to ask every candidate we interview to get the best understanding of their interest in the job, the company, and approach to work and whether there is a fit from both the candidate and client perspective.

  1. What’s motivated you to make your career moves in the past?

What made them leave their previous jobs? By asking this question, you want to see the logic behind their career moves. What were their main motivators? What were the circumstances? Change in the business? A higher salary? A new challenge in a different industry or position? Work experience is fluid and careers seem to be constantly changing, so how and why did your candidate decide to apply for this role with you? This is a good indicator of how they are managing their career path.

  1. What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in the 5 years?

One of our favourite questions to ask! This allows candidates to branch into what they are passionate about, which can change the tone of the interview from the get-go. When people talk about what they are passionate about, they feel heard and excited! How can the role they are applying for help them reach their goal? It can also help give you an idea of their long-term career path. Will they be able to progress in the company? Or will they move on quickly? Most importantly what are their dreams and aspirations, and how can you help them get there?

  1. Can you tell me about a time where you’ve gone above and beyond in your job?

Look for stars! This can be above and beyond for a customer or client, going the extra mile on a project or in a sale. Asking them to give a specific situation allows you to see their process and not just give a general answer about how they did their previous job. If they’re smart, they’ll tailor their answer to relate to the role they are interviewing for! Essentially, what your gauging for here is discretionary effort. What type of engagement did have in their last role and how they contributed beyond what was required or asked of them? Candidates with initiative are the ones you want to look out for.

  1. What kind of leader/culture/environment do you work best with?

Used to determine culture fit, the best way to do this is to ask about their previous work relationships, environments and how they found them and why. An ideal candidate will share and agree with the core ideas, values and mission of the organisation but also add their own personal values. And beyond fit, what kind of leadership and environment a candidate thrives in is also important to note, as it determines how they operate, their adaptability and possibly what they can bring to the team. It’s a great way to understand how to get the best out them from the leaders that they will work with.

  1. What’s your approach to change and how do you cope with it?

Stress management is essential, especially with competing priorities in the workplace and also at home. How a candidate deals with a constantly changing workplace and environment can be a really easy question to answer. To prevent the stock standard answer of “I deal well with change,” and “I manage stress fine,” asking a candidate what their approach is towards coping with change gets them to think about what they prioritise in difficult work situations and then explain their process and how they communicate that with others. It will also give you an indication of their personality and how they deal with adversity and change in their personal life.

Another tip – ask the interviewee if they have any questions? Remember, interviews are a two-way conversation. If they do, it shows that they are interested, have done their research and have a desire to learn about the role they are applying for – it will also help them answer the questions you ask!

We hope this gives you some ideas around what to ask the candidates and helps you to become even more confident in your interview techniques.