10 questions to ask a candidate during an interview

Posted by Fed Finance Suisse in Our employment advice
Posted at 21/07/2023
10 questions to ask a candidate during an interview
Here's a list of 10 questions to ask during a job interview to help you get the information you need about your candidates:

Sometimes it is difficult for recruiters to select the right candidate. However, depending on the questions you ask them during the interview, you can gather information that will prove essential in your decision-making process. Here is a list of 10 frequently asked interview questions that will provide you with useful details about a candidate’s personality and skills. 

Can you introduce yourself in a few words? 

The candidate’s presentation is the most important step in a job interview. It is the first impression you, as recruiters, will have of the candidate. It gives you an overview of the candidate’s experience, skills and interpersonal skills. It allows you to verify the information given in the CV, and to gather information that will help you bounce back during the interview. It is important to analyze the candidate’s manner of expression, non-verbal communication, use of professional vocabulary, etc. This question also enables you to assess the candidate’s ability to synthetize their background and prioritize essential information, such as important professional experience. 

Why did you choose our company? 

This question will allow you to assess your candidate’s motivation. It is important to check that the candidate has researched the company’s activities and services, its values, the team and the content shared on the career site and company networks. By checking these elements, you will be able to know whether your candidate has applied for your vacancy by chance.

Your candidate’s response will also give you an insight into the effectiveness of your employer brand. In fact, this question provides you feedback on how well the candidates understand the message the company wants to convey. Furthermore, this question will tell you more about the candidate’s real motivations, i.e. the general spirit of the job, the missions, the career prospects, etc. 

What are your strengths/weaknesses? 

The purpose of this question is to determine the candidate’s self-image. Candidates must be careful not to oversell themselves or put themselves down in front of recruiters. Depending on the answer, you will be able to distinguish their level of self-confidence. A job description includes tasks that require specific qualities, so make sure your candidates do not have a flaw that would compromise one of the tasks. In addition to the answer they give you, it is important to analyze their arguments concerning both strenghts and flaws.

Take advantage of this question to ask about the way they deal with the problems they encounter: They should be able to provide examples of solutions they have implemented. 

Why should we hire you? 

It is at this point that the candidate needs to convince you of their added value. Through their response, you should be able to sense their motivation, experience and skills directly related to the position, along with something that sets them apart from other candidates. Once you have heard the candidate’s response, you should be able to tell whether they are right for the job. 

What is your language proficiency? 

These days, being able to speak several languages is a highly sought-after skill by companies. To check your candidate’s language skills, you can continue the interview with an exchange in the language concerned, or simply give them an exercise. This exchange allows you to find out more about your candidate’s ability to respond under stress, because yes, the candidate do not necessarily expect this question, and it is difficult to anticipate it. 

How do you see your career?

This question will help you judge whether the candidate fits the profile you are looking for, and whether they have set long-term goals. You need to make sure that these ambitions are in line with the development opportunities you can offer. The answer to this question will give you an idea of how the candidate is building their career. 

Are you a leader?

Once again, this question reveals more about your candidate’s skills, and more particularly their softskills. Even if the position you are offering do not require any managerial experience, it is still advisable to mention this human aspect. This question allows recruiters to project themselves into the future and find out whether it is possible to entrust candidates with responsibilities in the future. It is not uncommon for talented young people to have never encountered a position requiring responsibility and leadership skills. In such cases, candidates should not simply answer “yes” or “no”, they should be able to refer to a project they have carried out, and point to examples showing that they have demonstrated leadership. 

What are your salary expectations? 

One of the last questions to ask concerns the candidate’s salary expectations. It is important to make sure that the salary they expect is in line with what you plan to pay.  Furthermore, you will be able to tell from the candidate’s answer whether they have researched market prices. You can also ask your candidate about previous salaries. If your candidate does not have the same salary expectations as those you are proposing, it is advisable to ask them to argue and justify their reasoning. 

Why did you leave your previous position? 

This question gives you a better understanding of the candidate’s background and motivations. Here, you will test the candidate’s reliability and find out more about their state of mind. It is important to focus on the arguments that led to this decision, and to make sure that the candidate do not disparage any colleagues he or she has met in the past. It is important that the candidate has the ability to explain to recruiters the reasons for his or her departure in a well-argued manner. As recruiters, it is important to listen carefully: the information you receive from your candidate will be essential in establishing his or her compatibility with your organization. 

Do you have any questions? 

Finally, it is the candidate’s turn to ask questions. It is important to give them the opportunity to come back to one of the points raised, or to lead the discussion towards a subject that is important to them. Generally speaking, a candidate who asks questions is a sign of interest in the position. However, the reverse is not necessarily true!

Now you have a list of questions to ask when you first meet your candidates. However, do not forget that you also need to take into account the human factor, which often makes the difference between each profile. You will need to adapt your questions as the conversation progresses, to gather the most relevant information about your interviewee. Fed Finance is a recruitment firm specializing in finance, accounting and payroll, based in Geneva, Switzerland. Are you looking for a new colleague? Contact one of our consultants for advice and support in your search for candidates. Fill in our recruitment form on our website.