Skills Management

7 Important Interview Questions You Probably Aren't Asking

Asking the right questions will help get the right talents into your company. How can you narrow down on the best interview questions?


Asking the right questions will help get the right talents into your company. But with so many possible interview questions available, how can you narrow down on some of the best.

Recruiting and training new employees costs a wad of company dollars and resources. Add the fact that about 46% of hires wash out within the first 18 months, and you begin to see why you need to be sure, every time, that you are hiring the right candidate.

While the right candidate should be someone who has the skills and experience needed for the position, other factors come into play in determining if this is someone who will also stay with the company.

An interview with prospective candidates no doubt provides the golden opportunity to make this decision.

Truth be told though, there is nothing fun about interviews, not for the interviewer, and certainly not for the candidate. Even after reading this article, interviews will still not be fun.

But they will be more effective because in here, we have zoned-in on some of the most important and revealing interview questions.

1. How will your skills and experience enable you to fulfill the requirements of this position?

Note how this question is worded. The aim is to get candidates talking about their skills and experience.

It is one thing to write a set of skills on a resume, and quite another to show how the various facets of a skill will fit into the various requirements of a job position, and that is why this question is so important.

It gives candidates an opportunity to put their skills into dynamic situations and show how deeply rooted they really are.

To make this question more effective, you might mention a unique situation, read out a few skills from the candidate’s resume, and ask how they will use these skills to handle the situation. 

2. Mention five work related activities you really enjoy doing.

The purpose of this question is to establish ‘purpose’ (this will make more sense in a bit.)

A Forbes article that focused solely on this question phrases it this way – “When in your life have you been so passionately focused on an activity that you lost track of time, and what were you doing?”

This line of questioning is important because candidates are naturally more suitable for a position if their passion and purpose align with that of the position and company.

Asking candidates to list work related activities they enjoy doing, possibly up to the point of losing track of time is a great way to know their passion and purpose, and if these fit into the activities of the open position.

If they do fit, you can be fairly certain this is a candidate who will work, not just for the next paycheck, but to see the company succeed. 

3. Walk me through the first five things you would do if you got this job

Kristi Hedges, a Leadership Development Consultant stated (and we very much agree) that this question can help you understand some of a candidate’s work-related qualities, such as “Strategic Thinking, Prioritization Skills, and Execution Style.” 

4. Why should we hire you?

Be prepared to get a wide range of responses on this one. Some candidates may even consider “Because I’m pretty” to be good enough.


One reason this question is so important is how challenging it is. It prompts candidates to market themselves and show exactly why they are a better choice than everybody else.

And a candidate’s self-marketing pitch is vital in selecting the right candidate from the torrent of applications you get for each open position.

It helps you see what this candidate brings to the table that others might not. In the process, you also get to gauge the candidate’s confidence and self-awareness – qualities that are important for strong careers.

5. Have you noticed anything about the company that you think should be improved? Please explain.

If the response to this question is “Not at the moment”, it doesn’t mean the person is not the right candidate. It often takes time to understand how a business works, and how it should be improved. In fact, a candidate who responds “No” is far better than one who utters gibberish instead.

However, if a candidate takes a moment to arrange his thoughts, and then articulately explains where your company sucks, and what can be done to make things better, you’ve got yourself a winner.

6. What are your weaknesses?

There could hardly be a better question to gauge a person’s attitude and honesty. If a candidate cannot think of one single weakness they possess, it is likely because their weaknesses are deal breakers, and they have decided to keep them all hidden.

Then again, for those who are honest enough to respond with actual weaknesses, if the response is something like “I feel sleepy 23 hours a day”, then you can understand why some people choose to say they’re perfect instead. With a weakness like this, a candidate is not getting this or any other job until something is done to change the situation.

And so above all else, this question helps you identify weaknesses that would make a person unsuitable for the job.

7. Talk about a time that you took a risk and failed, and one where you took a risk and succeeded. What was the difference?

We want to believe you are recruiting workers who will stay with your company, and can grow to become leaders. That is why this question found a spot on our top 7 list.

Leaders take decisions, often involving a fair amount of risk. A new recruit who plans to grow with the company should thus show a fair amount of entrepreneurship.

(Read this blog post to find out how to prepare employees to handle leadership positions from the beginning of their careers.)

In her article, Kristi suggests that you ask this question to identify a candidate’s “risk-taking ability and tolerance, self-awareness, honesty, and conceptual thinking.” 

Yes, the right questions can help you get the right candidate

Factually, you cannot be completely certain each time you hire that you made the right choice, it just doesn’t work that way.

But if your interview questions are able to reveal, among other things, that the candidate truly has the necessary skills, and that their purpose aligns with the position and company, you have a much better shot at recruiting the right fit. 

By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support

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