Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

5 Best Interview Questions to Ask Your Candidate

We recently discussed some of the best questions that candidates will ask you in an interview. If you are interviewing a talented and savvy job seeker, then chances are they will slip you a couple of those questions. If you intend on keeping that talent, then you had better be ready to answer them! On the flip side though, what are some of the best questions you can ask a candidate in an interview to determine if they are right for your open position?

The questions you ask your job seekers are the foundation of your interview. In fact, they pretty much make up the whole thing. You will get the information you need based on the kinds of questions you ask. If you ask the right questions, then you will get some very good and insightful answers. If you ask close-ended questions that give you little to no insight into how these candidates work, then you’re only cheating yourself.

Let’s take a look at what some of the best interview questions for candidates are.

What are the first five things you would do if you got this job?
Phew! Talk about getting right to the meat of it. In order to truly answer this question, the candidate needs to have a firm understanding of what this position entails. You need to make sure you have fully described this role and what is needed out of it. If you have done that, then this candidate will have to take a moment and really think about what they would do to excel in this position. It also gives you insight into how they view this position and what they think is needed in order to fill it.

What are your two greatest weaknesses?
This is certainly a popular question to ask in an interview, but there’s good reason for that. Asking this question assesses the candidates ability to recognize the areas they need to improve upon. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is when I ask a candidate what they think their greatest weakness is and they say, “Ohh, I don’t know.” Even worse is when they answer the question with a strength. Cliche! A great candidate will tell you an actual weakness and will follow it up with how they are trying to improve that weakness, or how they already have.

What is your preferred work environment?
This helps you determine if this candidate will fit into your company’s culture- which is a really big component of finding the right candidate. A highly qualified candidate that doesn’t fit in with the team likely won’t work up to their full potential.

Why did you leave, or why are you leaving, your last job?
This is one of the most common questions, but you can learn a lot from the candidate. If they answer this question with a negative about their last company or boss, then you probably don’t want to hire them. It should be known that speaking negatively of your last company is off limits in an interview. If they speak poorly of them what will stop them from speaking poorly of you?

Tell me about a time you took a risk and failed.

This is kind of like the weaknesses question. If they are smart, they will be honest and tell you about a time they really did fail. However, the key is elaborating upon that and telling you how they worked to fix it or what they are doing to better handle the situation next time. Failure to talk about failure is, well, failure.

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Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter