The Most Important Interview Questions You Can Ask

The Most Important Interview Questions You Can Ask

April 8, 2016 Recruitment
The Most Important Interview Questions You Can Ask -

Interviewing is one of the most common techniques used during the selection of new hires however it is also one of the most difficult skills to master.

We have all been there – the candidate who “wows” us with their charisma, who impresses us with their technical expertise or has worked for such an impressive range of businesses they must know something that we don’t! We fall in love with them, take a massive leap of faith to bring them into our well formed teams only to find out within the first six months that we have made a hiring mistake.

The cost to our business? Research will tell us that the cost will range from 150% – 300% of a candidate’s base salary however as we all know, if they we put someone into a sales or customer facing role the cost can be significantly more.

I am often asked what are the best interview questions, so I would like to share with you one of the most important – but first, here are two important tips:

Tip #1: You can ask the best interview questions in the world however it is knowing what to look for in a great answer that makes all the difference.

Tip #2: There are questions within questions. Being able to listen to what a candidate is saying and using your skill and judgement to ask the right probing questions can be the difference between obtaining really insightful information and getting a “textbook” response that is really quite useless.

So here it is:

What has been your biggest accomplishment in your career to date?

This questions is so valuable as it opens the door to asking a whole range of follow up questions that will provide significant insight into the candidate’s technical capabilities, leadership, sales or management skills, their cultural fit with your business and their attitude.

Here are some of the follow up questions you may consider asking:

  • Tell me about the most challenging aspects of this project / period?
  • If you had your time again what would you do differently to make it even more successful?
  • What did you learn during this period?
  • Who were the key stakeholders that you needed to influence during this time? How did you go about doing this?
  • What aspects of your work did you enjoy most during this time?
  • What aspects of your work did you least enjoy during this time?
  • On a 1-5 scale where 5 represents as high level of challenge and 1 represented a low level of challenge, how challenged did you feel during this time? What coping strategies did you use?

Now the trick is what to look out for in the candidate’s responses. Make sure you listen for:

  • Their attitude and how they feel as they express their answers
  • The level of ownership and accountability they take for things that went wrong
  • How they interacted, collaborated and demonstrated leadership
  • If the aspects of work culture that they responded poorly to are representative of your culture

Preparing for the interview before you meet with the candidate is critical and having a set of questions written down is essential to keep the interview on track.

For more information or help on how to conduct interviews that work, contact Talent Code on 1300 559585 or

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