Debbie Hancock

Debbie Hancock

Owner of Southbourne Accountancy & Business Services

The five questions to ask every potential employee

Asking the correct questions will speed up the interview process. But you can avoid the cliché questions and still get the information you need from candidates.

The interview is a vital part of the hiring process. And the conversational tone and personal discussion between an employer and prospective employee can lead to interesting results.

Even if a candidate looks perfect on paper, the interview questions can identify whether they are indeed a proper fit with the existing company culture and management. These questions are also designed to dig deeper into their career and personality to provide valuable insights into their thought process and abilities.

There are so many questions you can ask every potential employee, but the following are among the most important. They may be quite familiar to you, but asking them is one of the quickest ways for you to gauge whether a candidate should join your team or not.

Question #1. What Are the [Three] Traits People Would Usually Use to Describe You?

While this is one of the more common questions, it’s a staple for a reason. This is the chance to get to know the potential employee better, and distilling their personality to three traits is the best way to weed out those that are not a good fit. 

Feel free to change the question to include more or fewer traits or ask for positives and negatives specifically.

Question #2. What Is the Skill That You Wish to Improve On and How Would You Accomplish That?

This is an alternative to the “name your worst weakness” cliché everyone has been asked at least once. This question goes a step further to ascertain whether the interviewee is aware of their shortcomings and can grow and improve beyond.

Question #3. What Are Your Ideal Qualities in a Company?

As one of the questions necessary to determine a culture fit, knowing how the candidate feels about working at the company is key. 

Before the hiring process, though, it might be better to answer the question yourself first and compare it to how things stand in the business. The company might need a few cultural clashes to change for the better.

Question #4. Why Are You Leaving (or Why Did You Leave) Your Current Employer?

This question can show how the candidate works with management and what they think is the biggest complaint within the previous company. It can also indicate whether the candidate has problems in their career and if they would be the most suitable for the position.

Question #5. How Do You Plan to Improve for the Next Year?

Asking potential employees where they see themselves in five years has quickly become a thing of the past, as employees are much more likely to switch companies on a whim. Giving them a more concrete time frame would be more reasonable to learn more about their plans for improvement.

Keeping It Simple

While there are scores of potential questions to ask, knowing how to distil the interview to the basics will provide the purest answers and the best results. Combining some of these questions with the most standard ones will allow for a proper assessment of the interviewee and their skillset.


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