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The Top 10 Most Revealing Job Interview Questions you must ask

Imagine… you have 6 candidates to interview for one job. For each applicant you have only 40 minutes at your disposal and there are hundreds of interview questions you need to choose from. What are the right questions that will help you to determine who the most suitable candidate is? Here are my favourite Top 10 Questions.

# 1 - “Tell me about yourself.” The answer to this question will tell you to what extent the candidate is able to promote themselves in an impressive way right from the beginning. I would say that for sales-related positions this is an absolute must question. Here you will see how well prepared the candidate is and if s/he knows what relevant information needs to be highlighted in order to be seriously considered.

# 2 - “What are your strengths and weaknesses”. The answer to this question will reveal how well a candidate knows themselves. Ask yourself: Do these strengths add value to the job position and the company or are they irrelevant for this particular job? If the person is not able to mention any weaknesses – and we all know that nobody is perfect! – you need to question the honesty of the candidate. If a certain weakness was mentioned you need to ask yourself: Is it something that the company can easily accept or might it have a serious impact on the company’s bottom line?

# 3 – “What’s your reason for changing job?” Find out if the person has a clear understanding of what the new job involves and what the person’s reason for dissatisfaction is. And last but not least, is your company able to fill the gap?

# 4 – “What’s your ideal work environment?” Here you will need to find out to what extent the applicant’s preferences are compatible with the ones that your company is offering.

# 5 - “Describe me the perfect boss”. This answer will provide you with information about what a candidate values and appreciates in his future boss. Does the potential hire describe similar character traits that you? Does the answer make you think “I would love to work with this candidate” or “Oh my god, I would never get along with this person.”?

# 6 - “What did you enjoy and not enjoy in your previous jobs?” Let’s say you are looking for a Recruitment Consultant whose job consists 70 % of talking to people on the phone. The candidate mentions that talking to people on the phone in his current customer service job made him/her always feel uncomfortable. How effective do you think would this person be if hired? Thus, make sure that the new job responsibilities are similar to those that the future hire enjoyed doing in the past too. Since the person intends to change job you should ask yourself “Can my company give this person job responsibilities that the candidate would love to do but have not been offered by his current employer?”

# 7 - “Why did you apply for this particular job?” This answer will tell you if the candidate is fully aware of what the person is expected to do. It will also give you some real insights into the candidate’s level of motivation. How excited does the person sound? If the candidate tells you that his/her skills, experiences and motivation are the best fit for the job (and you can see and feel it!) you have found a potential great hire which you should seriously consider.

# 8 – “What are your hobbies and personal interests?” – This answer will tell you what the person is like outside of work. Does the candidate mention hobbies which help to improve their skills, do some charity work or play any groups sports that would make him a better team player or does the person prefer more passive activities such as watching TV, sleeping or playing computer games?

# 9 - Competency based interview questions are the ones that are crucial in order to test a candidate’s several abilities. Which ones you ask depends obviously on the job position and its competencies. However, an example would be “What do you do when a customer is upset? Please give me a specific example.” Is the person able to handle the situation calmly by solving the complainer’s problem quickly and effectively or does the person feel irritate and act rudely?

# 10 – “Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” The answer to this question will reveal whether the candidate wants just any job or the job you have to offer. Do you notice that the person already thought thoroughly about what it would be like to be working there and reflects that in the way s/he communicates? Furthermore, it will also tell you if the candidate has a real sense of what your company can offer.

Remember that effective interviewing means asking questions which will give a recruiter a clue to what extent the candidate’s and the company’s values and expectations are matching each other. One might be a great candidate with superb skills but whose work ethic, values and expectations might be very different from the company’s standards. Asking the right questions is therefore of paramount importance and will reveal some very useful information which the candidate might not always be able to realise instantly when being asked. 

Thanks for reading! If you got any value out of this, I’d really appreciate if you share it.

Karin Schroeck-Singh is a passionate Public Speaker, eBook Author, a Career Blogger at and a freelancing Online Content Producer. She has an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and gained 18 years of international work experience in Italy, the UK and India.