5 of the best questions to ask candidates in a job interview

What are the best interview questions to ask candidates? 

Job applicant having an interview

How many bins are there in New York? Name three different uses for a spoon? If you were stuck on a desert island what three objects would you bring?

While these puzzle type interview questions have become the new norm and sure as heck beat, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?’, are they more likely to help identify great potential employees?

Research from San Francisco Statue University, found the answer was no.

Here though are 5 questions that may actually help you find the right person for your business.

  1. What made you apply for this position? What interested you?

This is a great starting question that allows the candidate to tell you a bit about themselves, their work history and what motivates them. It allows gives some insight into what the candidate knows about your business.

  1. What resources do you use/follow to keep up with the industry?

For many industries it’s critical to keep yourself in the loop with new technologies. The candidate’s response provides an indication of their real knowledge and interest in the industry. Employees who continuously develop their skills are in it for the long run.

  1. What are the first three things you would do if given the position?

This allows you to understand what the candidate deems important, their priorities as well as their understanding of the position and their place in the business as a whole. It also gives insight into how your candidate will approach a new situation and how they may interact with other employees.

  1. Tell me about a time you stuffed up

This is a tried and tested question that will give you an insight into the candidate’s self-awareness. Most candidates will have somewhat prepared for this question but it is not so much the answer to the question but the manner in which it is delivered. If the candidate takes responsibility for the error and explains how they went about fixing it you have someone who is mindful and self-aware.

If the candidate deflects blame or can’t think of a time they made a mistake, this may be a red flag for someone who doesn’t take ownership of their actions.

  1. Have you ever been asked to undertake a task you thought you were well over-qualified for and how did you handle it?

The purpose for this question isn’t the question or the answer it is about the candidate’s attitude and approach. Small businesses are hard work and there can be unwelcome chores that come with it. The employees reaction to the question, their tone and body language will give you a good indication of how they will receive tasks they may perceive as ‘below them’.

There you have it, 5 go to questions to gain a better understanding of your candidates and where they would fit in your business. You may want to also check 5 questions to avoid asking candidates to ensure your interviews run smoothly.

Elizabeth Delaney

I love turning my knowledge into real world strategies for real world people. I'm a huge advocate for small business. l want to help you work smarter, not harder, so you have time to focus on what is important to you.