Top interview questions to ask
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When it comes to a company’s interview process, no matter the type or size of the company, there is one common goal that they all strive for; to find the right professional who is able to personify the key skills, attitude and qualities they need in order to ensure the right hiring choice is made. This might sound like a simple process, but there really is a lot more involved than what meets the eye.

“What matters most are the questions that hiring managers ask interviewees. There are some very important ones to ask in order to gain more in-depth insight into the candidate’s skill levels, their demeanor and overall attitude, to reduce the risk of making the wrong hire and have confidence in making the right one,” says Chantelle Smith, a Recruitment Specialist at HR Company Solutions.

Smith highlights these top questions that every hiring manager should be asking, and how the answers can assist you to make the right hire:

Q What do you know about our company and why do you want to work here?
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When this question is asked, you are able to determine upfront who’s truly interested and invested in the position you have available, because the most interested and invested applicant will actually do their research and access information from various sources about the company, its sector, its products or services, its key people and its vision and goals.

Most serious candidates like to know they’re aligning their core values with those of the company they are attending an interview for.

Q What are the key strengths and skills that you can bring to this role specifically?

This question will provide you with insight into who has read the job specifications properly and made sure that they have applied for it because their skills and experience align with the role at hand. You will know if they thought about how their skills will benefit the new team.

In the current job market, there is so much desperation for people to find a job that they blanketly and blindly apply for anything and everything out there, hoping to be seen by Recruiters, and their skills don’t even match.

Q Tell me more about your current role?

This question will give you some insight about how the person communicates and articulates their role and its associated duties.

It gives a candidate the freedom to express openly how they feel about their role, what they might enjoy and dislike and a bit about their background too.

Q Are you able to tell me about a time when you had a disagreement with either a manager or a colleague and how you handled it?

When it comes to conflict in the workplace, no matter where you work, it is inevitable at some point. People are different and have different opinions and views. This question allows you to get a view on their conflict resolution abilities and how they would cope in such instances. You can identify this by how they talk about conflict, the tone that they use, body language that might change.

You’ll be able to see if common ground and compromise was reached and, in any company, a candidate’s emotional intelligence is key to any job.

Q Why are you leaving your current role?

There are normally three ‘reasons’ a candidate will give for leaving their job – one is the reason they give their existing managers, the second is the one they tell their friends and family and the third, is the REAL reason. Asking this question will show you if their expectations of the new role are realistic and if the role can meet their needs.

For example, leaving for having no benefits showcases the ones that you have available, and how your role will meet any needs for career growth as well.

Q What kind of work environment is ideal for you?

This will allow you to determine if the person will flourish in your company’s environment. For example, if they prefer a private workspace where there is no interruption from noise and chatter, then an open plan workspace might not be the best fit for them.

Q How would your colleagues describe you?

When it comes to teamwork, this question will help give insight into how the candidate will work with others.

When you have an understanding of your current staff, you’ll get a feel for whether this candidate will complement the existing team or challenge it. Asking about how their Managers describe them would be something rather left for Reference Checks because a candidate’s answer to that would be entirely subjective.

Q Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This is a very common question and will show you if the candidate has professional drive and career goals – that they are a valuable person to have on your team.

Finding the person who has very clear career goals and sees themselves achieving it in your company, increases the likelihood that they will stay for the long-term and they won’t be leaving for ‘greener pastures’.

Q What is that one thing that you can tell me about that’s not on your public LinkedIn profile?

Most companies nowadays will research a candidate online, usually through LinkedIn, and asking this sort of question will uncover interesting insights into a candidate’s hobbies, their interests outside of work, family dynamics and what they hold dear apart from work, along with any other motivations and goals they have.

It allows for a free-flowing conversation and will reveal more about their character and personality that would otherwise not be shown.

Q And the most important question being – Do you have any questions for me?

This is vital – most hiring managers overlook this and don’t give the candidate the chance to interview them and the company as well.

It shows interest and wanting to find out about you too. If the candidate has a question to ask, it shows they have been truly invested in the interview and have held on to every word. They’ll have an enquiring mind and it shouldn’t be a tough question for them to answer.

These questions will help hiring managers uncover the deeper side of candidates that are not reflected on a CV. They will boost confidence in making the right hire and reduce the risk of making wrong decisions that are based purely on skills-fit for the role at hand.

This article first appeared in the Dec/Jan issue of Your Business Magazine. Read the free digital issue here.


Chantelle Smith, HR Company solutionsChantelle Smith is a Recruitment Specialist at HR Company Solutions, and is passionate about people and matching only the best talent with solid career opportunities.
Visit www.hrcompanysolutions.co.za


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