5 questions to ask candidates during an interview

You’ve shortlisted your candidates and set the interviews up. Now it’s down to you to find the best out of the bunch. However, deciding what to ask is a big decision to make. Especially as time seems to fly in an interview and you’re under pressure to get all the necessary information in a short space of time.


  1. What skill would like to improve on and how will you achieve this?

This question can tell you if a candidate is self-aware and whether they recognise when something needs to be improved or changed. It’s also a nice variation of the overused ‘what are your strengths and weaknesses’ question. Knowing your weaknesses is important for progression. If a candidate can identify this, it’s a good sign that they’re aware of the areas where they may underperform. But are prepared to ask for help, think of ways to improve and strive for the best results.

What’s more, this question could identity if your candidate is lacking in any skills that are a key requirement for the role. For example, if good communication is essential criteria and a candidate says they need to improve on this, you might feel that they’re not the right fit for the position.

  1. What interests you most about this position?

Here you can find out what drives your candidates. Many will have several reasons for being interested in your position but posing this question ensures you can discover their main goals. Find out if they’re looking at it as an opportunity to develop in their career or if they can apply the skills that they have already learnt to your workplace. Alternatively, some candidates are only interested in the financial elements. Asking this question reveals how motivated they might be in the position.

Therefore, if they’re only interested in the salary, you may decide that they’re not your top pick. Being motivated by money may not translate into a driven and enthusiastic employee. You should be looking out for a response that shows the individual is interested in the day-to-day roles and responsibilities of the job, and how their existing skills can be applied to this.

  1. What kind of working environment do you excel in?

Now it’s time to find out if your company’s working environment is going to match with the candidate’s personality. Asking this question can help you to gain an idea of what motivates them at work. For example, whether they enjoy a lively buzzing work environment, or to work in silence with minimal contact. If the candidate’s ideal working environment sounds like the opposite of your workplace, they may not be the best pick.

As part of this question, you can ask your interviewee about the type of co-workers they like to work with. This will provide an indicator on how they will fit in with your team. This question is important for finding an employee who will be happy in your company. And equally, to make sure the new person won’t upset the team dynamic.

  1. What experience do you have that will help you succeed in this position?

You should already have a basic understanding of a candidate’s experience from their CV. However, asking this question gives them an opportunity to expand upon this and explain how they can apply this experience to your workplace. When answering the question, your candidate should be selling themselves. They need to explain what they have learnt from previous roles that will enable them to perform well in your company.

This question is important to make sure your candidate has enough of the right experience to be the perfect fit for your role. Alongside this, it’s also helpful to see how they sell themselves and if they show passion and enthusiasm. They need to be convincing you to hire them and their answer could be the deciding factor between two candidates!

  1. What are your hobbies outside of work?

Asking this question helps to add a human element to the interview. Often, if not planned correctly, interviews can be too structured and rigid, preventing employers from building a rapport with the candidate. Asking about their hobbies will help you to understand how this person will fit with your team and company culture. After all, they may even have similar hobbies or interests to members of your team.

Look out for how they talk about their hobbies too. If they are passionate about them, it could indicate that they’re a dedicated and enthusiastic person. What’s more, you might find that they’ve learnt some great skills as part of these hobbies, which they could bring to your company.


Asking the right questions is extremely important. Especially as you only have a brief time to impress the candidate and understand what they can bring to the role. While this isn’t a definitive list of everything you should ask, it should provide some food for thought and the questions can open up wider conversations.


Article Courtesy of CV Library.