The Top 10 Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

Talent Leaders Suggest Asking Interviewees These Questions

by Lauren Fenech

You’ve worked with a recruiter to find some top talent. The candidates have been through the screening process, and now it’s time for you to get to know them. When working with Hire for Hope, we supply you with an interview guide through Predictive Index to help with this process, but we also wanted to share ten of the top questions to ask a candidate.

These aren’t in any specific order, and we wanted to include unique, hard, and strategic interview questions to ask your candidates.

1. Why are you looking to make a change right now?

Many of the candidates we work with are passive. Knowing what is motivating them to make a change can help understand their needs and if they are a good fit for this position. This question can also reveal if the candidate has respect for their incumbent employer and can show true colors of how they will treat your team, as well.

2. What are you most proud of in your professional life so far?

Not only will this tell us about the candidate’s accomplishments, but this is also (typically) going to include what they are passionate about when it comes to their professional career – two birds with one stone!

3. What motivates you to work?

Because your candidate took the behavioral assessment through the Predictive Index, you already know how they are hard wired, but by asking this question, it can start a valuable discussion. If the candidate answers with something surface level, they might not be the exceptional candidate you are looking for.

4. Can you describe your ideal workspace?

A simple question, but certainly relevant these days! Essentially, this will show you if their ideal work environment matches your current office environment.

5. Have you had any other interviews lately?

If you’re speaking to your candidate and you know they are “the one”, this will help you establish a timeline to act fast and extend the job offer. It’s also great to know what type of competition you’re going up against!

6. What are you seeking for compensation?

Find out what is important to your candidate. Are they happy with a lower salary if that means they get a work-from-home/hybrid schedule? Is vacation time important to them? Talk full package! At Hire for Hope, we have our candidates complete a compensation worksheet, so that our clients get a full snapshot of what their candidate is seeking.

7. How do you deal with tight deadlines?

The ideal answer would be to review a list of tasks, figure out what is most urgent, and move through the list. This question will show you if the candidate knows how to prioritize, delegate, or ask for help, when necessary.

8. Tell me about a time you messed up.

This is a great test of self-awareness. No one is perfect. This question shows whether a person takes ownership of their work or if they play the blame game.

9. What’s your leadership style?

Good management techniques are what mold and grow a company. Bring in a terrible leader, and you could really mess up the culture. Is this person open to feedback from their employees? We love to hear candidates talk about one-on-one sessions with their team members.

10. What would you accomplish if you were hired for this position?

This question will show you if the candidate knows the job and the company. Did they do the research and do they know the role?


Learn more about how Hire for Hope can help you with your executive recruiting needs.