Find the Right Candidate – Five Key Questions to Ask

The job is posted, resumes received, preliminary reviews conducted and now it’s time to conduct interviews. This is the stage in the process when you will have the most direct contact with potential employees so it is critical to be prepared. A poor interview experience may leave a negative impression with a potential candidate or, worse yet, lead to an inadequate hire. A well-executed interview will provide the information needed to select the right candidate for the job. What questions should you ask? What questions are appropriate? Below are the top five questions most employers forget to ask. These should be standard to every interview process.

  1. What do you already know about the organization and position you are interviewing for? This shows whether the candidate has done his/her homework, if he/she has researched your business, and whether the individual is excited about the position or just simply looking for any available opportunity.
  2. Why are you currently looking for other opportunities? Open-ended questions, like this, reveal if there are problems with a current employer. Additionally, this question provides a chance for candidates to sell themselves or explain why their traits or skills fit the position in which they are being interviewed.
  3. What are your salary expectations? Some individuals may be hesitant to answer this question at this stage in the interview process. However, it is important to ensure that you and the candidate are within the same general ballpark with regard to compensation. If there is a large gap this can be discussed and you can determine whether to continue with the interview. It is far better to make this discovery at the beginning of the process rather than surprising a candidate with an unacceptable offer after you have both spent time on the interview and selection process.
  4. Are you currently authorized to work in the United States? Some employers have the ability to sponsor Visas or Work Authorizations for particular positions while others may have difficulties doing so. Therefore it is critical to determine the status of each candidate and what may be required in the event of an offer.
  5. If you received two different job offers from two different companies, what would be the top 3 criteria you would use to make a decision? This is not a trick question and there is no right or wrong answer. The information obtained will give you insight into what is most important to a particular candidate. Some may be driven by compensation while others may place a priority on job content or flexibility in their work schedule. This information is invaluable when determining how to structure an appropriate offer and may be difficult to obtain if you wait until the end of the interview.

The remaining interview time should be spent asking questions directly related to the skills and qualifications required for your particular opportunity. To avoid potential discrimination claims ask the same job-related questions during each interview and take adequate notes. Taking the time to prepare for interviews will increase your chances of making the right selection. Ultimately, better hires will lead to a stronger and more productive organization.

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As a recruiter, I’m exposed to new opportunities and information on a daily basis. I thrive on learning about new industries, new technology, new positions—and then using what I’ve learned to help make a great candidate-company match.