Paper Trails

What are the most strategic interview questions to ask a candidate?

In today’s competitive job market, where a study by Glassdoor reveals that each corporate job opening attracts an average of 250 resumes, standing out as a candidate is more challenging than ever. Similarly, for employers, finding the right fit requires more than just a glance at their application. This is where the art of interviewing becomes crucial. In this article, we will explore some of the most strategic questions to ask candidates during an interview. These questions are designed not only to assess the candidate’s skills and experience but also allows employers to gain a deeper understanding of their career aspirations and compatibility with your organization’s culture and values.

Understanding the candidate’s perspective is vital in this process. A well-structured interview can tell a lot about a candidate that may not be apparent from their resume alone. As an employer, knowing the right questions to ask can make all the difference in selecting the ideal candidate for your organization. Let’s look into 11 of the best strategic questions to ask candidates.

Best strategic questions to ask candidates

Coming up with the best questions to ask can be a difficult process.  Below we offer some strategic questions that hit different areas of a candidates experience and expertise.  These questions may not work for every position you may be hiring for, or may not be worded in a way that works for your business, so tailor them to your specific job opening.

1. Can you walk me through your experience at a high level?

This question is critical as it assesses a candidate’s ability to articulate their professional journey and its relevance to the role in question. It reveals their self-awareness, clarity in career progression, and the ability to communicate their experiences.

2. What piqued your interest about this opportunity?

The importance of this question lies in understanding the candidate’s motivation and their specific interest in your company and the role. It separates candidates who are genuinely interested in your organization from those who might be applying to multiple jobs without much thought.

3. What are you looking for in your next role and what will you be assessing about our organization?

This question is designed to gauge alignment between the candidate’s career goals and your organization’s offerings. It’s an effective way to ascertain whether their expectations and values are a fit for your company’s culture and future prospects.

4. What are your compensation expectations given what you’ve learned about the role so far?

Discussing compensation early in the process is vital for transparency and ensures that both parties are on the same page. This question helps avoid any future misunderstandings and sets a clear expectation regarding the candidate’s salary requirements.  Not discussing compensation until submitting an offer letter can result in wasted time for your HR department.

5. What kind of technology have you used in your most recent role and how have you used it?

This strategic question is essential for understanding the candidate’s technical proficiency and how they apply their skills in a practical setting. It provides insight into their adaptability and ability to leverage technology effectively in their work.

6. What type of work have you enjoyed the most so far?

Here, you uncover the candidate’s passions and preferences, which is crucial for determining job satisfaction and long-term engagement and retention. This question helps in identifying if the candidate’s interests align with the responsibilities of the role they are applying for.

7. Could you describe the team you work with right now?

Understanding a candidate’s current working environment offers valuable context about their preferred work style, adaptability, and how they might integrate into your team’s dynamic. It also reveals their perception of teamwork and collaboration.

8. Tell me about an especially difficult problem you had to solve.

This question is instrumental in evaluating a candidate’s problem-solving skills and creativity. It provides insight into how they approach complex challenges, their resilience, and their ability to think critically under pressure.

9. Tell me about a time you worked on a project under a tight deadline.

Time management and efficiency are key skills in any role. This question helps in understanding how the candidate prioritizes tasks, manages stress, and collaborates with others under tight deadlines.

10. What are your areas of opportunity for growth?

This introspective question is crucial for assessing a candidate’s self-awareness and commitment to professional development. It reveals their ability to critically evaluate their own skills and their willingness to invest in self-improvement.

11. What’s a professional accomplishment you’re most proud of?

This question allows candidates to showcase their achievements and highlights what they value in their professional life. It offers a glimpse into their work ethic, dedication, and the impact they’ve had in their previous roles.

Why are these strategic interview questions important?

Strategic questions are essential in job interviews because they help to learn more about a candidate than what’s written on their resume. These questions go deeper, helping to understand not only what skills a candidate has, but also how they think, solve problems, and work with others. They are important because they help interviewers figure out if the candidate will fit well with the company’s culture and values, and if they have the potential to grow and succeed in the company. By using strategic questions, interviewers can make better choices about who to hire, ensuring that the new employee will work well with the team and help the company achieve its goals.

Conclusion

Interviews are a two-way street where both the candidate and the employer learn about each other. The strategic questions outlined above will help you delve deeper into the candidate’s profile, providing a comprehensive view that goes beyond the resume.

Remember, the key to a successful interview is not just in the questions you ask but also in how you interpret the answers. It’s about finding that perfect match where the candidate and your organization align. By asking these strategic questions, you can ensure that you’re on the right path to finding the ideal candidate for your organization. Contact our team here for help with your applicant tracking and hiring processes.