The 5 interview questions you should always ask (and might not be)

Asking the right interview questions can be the difference between hiring someone who is a valuable, long term employee who fulfills not just the role requirements but also the right cultural fit, or the hire of someone who resigns after 6 weeks – or worse yet has to be terminated which is a cost to the business both financially and in lost time.

With this in mind, Joanne and I have rounded up the 5 interview questions we believe everyone should be asking – in every interview.

  1. Describe to me what your ideal position would look like, including day to day responsibilities and work environment.

It doesn’t take long to see the red flags with this one. If there’s a disconnect between the role you’re interviewing them for, and what they’re ideally after, you’ve got a potential problem.  The same applies if they’re talking about working for an organisation who can offer career advancement and promotion opportunities, and you’re a small business which is not in a position to make these offers.

  1. How would your current co-workers and manager describe you in terms of your personality and work performance?

This is a good indicator of how well they get on with others at work, as well as how they believe they’re viewed by their colleagues and manager. It can also give you an idea of how well they take feedback and criticism. Past practice and behaviour is often a pretty good indicator of future results and performance.

  1. What would you consider to be your greatest accomplishment in your current role?

 This is a great way to gain an insight into what they consider to be an achievement, and what they believe is important. It’s also a really nice way to get them talking about something they feel good about and are proud of, which can help to ease any nerves.

  1. Why do you want to leave your current employer?

What you really want to gain from this question are some positives in their response. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to move on from a role but someone who talks very negatively about their employer can be a red flag.  This may also highlight a disconnect between what they’re seeking in a new role and what you’re offering.

  1. Have you applied for other positions? Tell me about them.

This is always an interesting one and it’s two-fold. It’s amazing how often a candidate will tell you they don’t enjoy customer service or accounts receivable or managing staff – whatever it might be, but these are the exact roles they’re applying for – and lots of them! What you’re hoping to hear is that they’ve applied to a few select roles, all in-line with the position you have on offer.

The other benefit to this question is that it gives you an indication of where they’re at with their job search. Have they just attended a second interview for a role and chances are they’ll be offered the position – best to find this out sooner rather than later!

There are so many great interview questions that can be asked, these are just a few of our favourites which could potentially help you uncover your next long-term hire and a star employee!


Written by Melanie Mansfield