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​7 of the best interview questions to ask a candidate

​7 of the best interview questions to ask a candidate

over 1 year ago

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Hiring mistakes are expensive and our experience shows that some interview questions help employers tease out whether a person is right for the role better than others.

Let’s take a look at 7 of the most effective questions to ask a potential new employee when you are looking to expand your team. These hiring questions are suitable for any setting, whether you are meeting in person or conducting a virtual interview. We have tested them in the HVAC, BMS and renewables markets, where we operate as specialist recruiters, but they can be used in any sector.

What was it about our company that made you want to apply? 

This is a variation on the standard interview questions that ask what a candidate knows about your company and why they want to work there. It gets straight to the point and challenges their motivation as well as the research they have done on their prospective employer. To answer this well, they need to know more than your website can tell them. They should be able to show that they understand your market and demonstrate whether they are seriously interested in working for you.

What skills and strengths can you bring to this position?

This question gives an indication of how the candidate sees themselves. It is useful because it allows them to expand on their CV and let you know what they would bring to your business. It’s a good question to ask early in the interview because you can build on the answers to explore areas of expertise and potential gaps. Essentially, you are asking candidates to think critically about how their abilities will benefit your business and the team they will be part of.

What could your current company do to be more successful?

This kind of question is designed to single out candidates who have a solid understanding of their industry and current market conditions. Even if they are coming from a different sector to yours, the answer they give will let you know if they have the capability to see the bigger picture. It may also reveal more about their motivations for changing job.

Tell me about a time when you had a disagreement with a boss or colleague and how you handled the situation

One of the key reasons a placement fails is because a candidate is not aligned with their new employer’s culture. This can create conflict within teams or other issues which usually materialise quite quickly after joining. This question is designed to tell you about the emotional intelligence of the person in front of you and, therefore, their ability to work as part of your team. Ideally, you want someone who can handle conflict well and manage relationships with co-workers effectively. Notice how the candidate talks about the people involved in the situation. Is there an understanding of different perspectives? Did they find common ground?

How would your co-workers describe you?

The candidate will be expecting a question along these lines. It’s the classic strengths and weaknesses question and can be asked in various ways. You might want to frame it slightly differently and ask how friends or family see them. The aim is to gauge the candidate’s soft skills and self-awareness. By gathering some detail on the candidate’s strengths you can see how these would complement the skills of your other team members.

What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on in your career?

What you are trying to establish here is whether the candidate in front of you would be excited by the work they are likely to do if they join your business. Their answer might relate to a different industry but it will let you know if they enjoy problem-solving, relationship building, selling, winning or something else. Ultimately, it will show whether the job they are applying for will be fulfilling. If so, it makes retention far more likely.

Tell me something about yourself that isn’t on your CV

This is an excellent open question that gives the candidate an opportunity to talk about something that isn’t directly related to their career or job search. It’s another chance to gain insight into their character, hobbies or passions outside of work. It allows you to see not just what they have done, but why.

Finally, every good interview should end by throwing the ball back into the candidate’s court by inviting them to ask you a question. This is their chance to find out whether this is the job for them and there’s an awful lot you can glean from the way they use this opportunity.

For tailored advice on selecting the best candidates for your role HVAC sales and engineering call our team on 0115 871 4777.

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