7 MIN READ

Top 20 Interview Questions To Ask Job Candidates In 2021

David Garcia CEO

by David Garcia

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The secret to a successful business truly lies in the quality of the team.

But how can you ensure you are filling open positions with the best candidates?

When you consider that the future success of your company is at stake, there is a lot of pressure on the interview process. It's essential that prospective new hires are thoroughly vetted, so you’ll get the absolute perfect fit for the job. If you don’t get a clear assessment of a candidate and hire an employee who doesn’t meet the needs of the role, it can be incredibly challenging to backtrack.

Having an arsenal of thoughtful interview questions can help prevent this type of hiring mistake from the get-go.
Here are some of the best interview questions to ask an applicant.

1. Why do you want to work for our company?

This is a go-to question to ask job seekers for good reason. Asking an interviewee why they chose to apply to your company can plainly show if they conducted thorough research during their job search and really read the job description.

In a matter of moments, you’ll be able to separate the candidates who are enthusiastic about your specific company versus those who simply need any old job.

2. In what ways do you believe you fit into our company culture?

Another one of the best interview questions to illuminate if a candidate has read up about your business. Asking about someone’s potential culture fit can also help you determine if they mesh with the standards, beliefs, and priorities of your organization. This can help you decide if they’ll be a good addition to the workplace atmosphere you’ve cultivated.

3. What accomplishment in your professional life are you most proud of?

This is one of those questions that really allows individuals to shine and showcase themselves in their best light. It’s important to know that a potential employee has the capacity to be confident in their abilities and successes. Plus, you’ll get a true glimpse at the type of work they find fulfilling.

4. How would your current boss describe you?

Asking about someone’s perception of their boss’ perception, while a bit meta, demonstrates a person’s ability to take on other perspectives and view situations objectively.

5. What do you look for in a coworker or team?

This question not only shows if the interviewee would be a good culture fit for the dynamics of your team, but it also gives you a sense of their professional style and personal priorities.

6. What type of management style do you respond to best?

Asking job seekers about what style of management they respond to can give you useful information on how to train and manage the interviewee if they are hired. Plus, the answer can tell you how much knowledge of their own needs and self-awareness the candidate possesses.

7. If you suspect a supervisor is breaking company policy, what would you do?

One of the best interview questions to ask, this tends to put folks on the spot. If you are a hiring manager or supervisor, the question can be tricky for folks to answer honestly given your role. You can watch a potential employee weigh the pros and cons of a decision in real-time and get an accurate depiction of their personal ethics and integrity.

8. If I were your boss at your current workplace, what would you suggest we can improve upon?

This is an opportunity to assess someone’s critical thinking skills and see how they relay feedback. Can they offer constructive criticism and suggest solutions, or are they merely complaining?

9. Why are you leaving your current job?

A question like this is another opportunity for folks to demonstrate honest, constructive critique and gives you an idea of what a candidate will and will not tolerate in a workplace.

10. Tell me about a time you were faced with a significant challenge and what you did to resolve it.

While traditionally disliked by job seekers, this type of question gives someone the chance to show themselves in a positive light and demonstrates their ability to recall a specific event. Depending on the type of job you are recruiting for, soft skills like story-telling and effective communication could be essential.

11. Tell me about a time you had a conflict with a supervisor or coworker and how you handled the situation.

Workplace conflicts arise, even in the most transparent and communicative of environments. It is important to know if an applicant’s conflict resolution style fits your company’s procedures.

12. What are your top 3 strengths?

An all-time classic, this topic allows a candidate to shine. The hiring manager can judge a person’s ability to balance speaking highly of themselves without coming off as overly cocky.

13. What is your biggest weakness?

How an interviewee answers this question speaks volumes. Are they being honest with themselves about the areas they can grow or is the “weakness” they describe actually a masked strength? Depending on the type of job you’re hiring for, this could be seen as clever or deceptive.

14. How do you handle deadlines?

This question sheds light on an applicant’s approach to organization and handling stress. Soft skills such as time management are important to assess during an interview, as these attributes are harder to perceive from a resume or LinkedIn profile.

15. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

How far ahead is the interviewee looking down their professional path? A good boss not only looks out for their company’s success but also the welfare and future goals of their staff. The answer can help you determine if their ultimate career goals line up with the role they are applying for.

16. How would your involvement in our company play into that 5-year plan?

Similarly, asking a candidate if they’ve considered how accepting this role would affect their long-term goals showcases if a person is applying for the job for the right reasons. It can also tell you if the individual intends to grow as part of your organization or if your company would merely be a jumping-off point for their larger plans.

17. What’s your favorite project you’ve been a part of and why?

In hearing an applicant’s response, you can determine if they enjoy projects and challenges that align with the job description. If their all-time favorite assignment used a totally different wheelhouse of skills than required by the role, it begs the question of why they’re currently applying for this type of job.

18. What’s a fact about you that we can’t learn from your resume?

This question is a fun one during an interview. It gives the candidate a chance to share an interesting tidbit about themselves that is hard to encapsulate on paper. The information they choose to share can tell you a lot about the type of person they are and what they would bring to your company culture.

19. Tell me about your life outside of work.

Asking about someone’s personal life during an interview may be perceived as too intimate right off the bat, but it can provide your company valuable insight into a candidate’s outside obligations and activities.

20. Do you have any questions for me?

The ultimate final move in any good interview is not one that ends the conversation, but one that passes the power over to the candidate. It is equally important that the interviewee applying for a job feels confident they would be a good fit and is eager to join the team.

Plus, you can see if they came to the meeting prepared and get a sense of their curiosity about the company. Make sure you allow enough time for the conversation to continue and address any questions as honestly as possible.

Final Thoughts

Just like a job search can be tough for an applicant, a candidate search is no walk in the park for employers.

It can be incredibly challenging to find someone with a balance of all the skills and qualities you're after.

While there are no definitive wrong or right questions to ask, you can prepare an arsenal of points to paint a complete picture of a candidate and empower you to make the best call for your company’s needs. This list of the Top 20 Best Interview Questions to ask is a great place to start.

So, while you focus your energy on the interview, ScoutLogic is here to help handle any extensive background checks you require for staff.

Get in touch with us if you need assistance or have any questions about new and recurring background screening checks.