Questions to ask in an interview as an employer

Use these key interview questions to gauge whether candidates align with your company’s culture and job requirements. Evaluate potential hires effectively with tailored queries in any interview setting.

By Brad Nakase, Attorney

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Have a quick question? I answered nearly 1500 FAQs.

Introduction

So you’re about to hire a new employee but are worried about how to ensure candidates are a good fit for your company. In addition to checking that the candidate has the right skills for the job, it is important to check whether the employee is a good culture fit for your organization and whether they want to stay on long-term. The only problem is you can’t always know what an employee is like until they start working for your company, right? Wrong. Here are some interview questions for employers that will help you to make effective hiring decisions.

These interview questions will help you to get a read on your candidates, no matter whether you are conducting interviews in-person or virtually. They don’t just focus on the candidates skills, but the way they work and their future aspirations. If you ask these interview questions for employers, then you will get a well-rounded picture of the type of person you are hiring for your organization.

Why Are Interview Questions for Employers Important?

Even though most candidates prepare for interviews, their answers can still tell you a lot about them – especially if you ask a few unexpected questions. For starters, while prepared answers may be a little whitewashed, it shows that the candidate does their research and prepares. This points to diligence and perhaps ambition. It also allows you to see how they are both prepared and off the cuff.

However, the benefit of employers preparing interview questions in advance is that you, as the employer, are more prepared. You can ensure that you get a well-rounded perspective of each candidate by having a list of questions you ask in each interview. These uniform questions also give you a level playing field to compare the candidates against each other. Your interviewers can still ask follow up questions, but they at least have a similar framework.

Interview Questions for Employers

Without any further ado, let’s get into the interview questions for employers.

1. Why Do You Want to Work At Our Company?

This is a good, broad interview question to start the interview. All candidates expect to be asked this question, so it will put the candidate at ease and give you an opportunity to see how much research and thought they have put into their preparation.

This interview question for employers will also often tell you a lot about an employee’s motivations. Even though their goal is to represent themselves in the best light possible, there will still be truth to their answer.

2. What Will You Bring to This Role?

This interview question for employers is designed to understand the candidate’s strengths and skills and how they intend to apply them to the role. It will show whether your candidates are self-aware or not. You’ll also be able to see if they believe that they are a good fit for the role or if they are just applying for the sake of applying.

3. Tell Me About Your Current Job

It is sometimes good to ask some open-ended interview questions to see how the candidate responds to them. There are a number of ways the job applicant could answer this question, all of which will tell you a lot about them as a person and as an employee. It is also unlikely that the candidate will have prepared for such an open-ended question, so you will see their communication and problem-solving skills as they think of an answer or adapt something they have prepared for the question.

4. Do You Prefer to Work in a Team or Alone?

The ideal answer will vary depending on the type of role you are hiring. Some job roles may require teamwork; some may require independent work. However, ideally, you would be able to see that the candidate is capable of working independently when needed and as part of a team, as in most roles, a little of both is required. This interview question will show you their skills and their preferences in terms of working styles.

Currently, employers should also consider whether the role is hybrid, work-from-home, or in-person. Someone who prefers a lot of teamwork may not thrive in a remote position.

5. In the Past, When You have Disagreed with a Colleague, How Did You Handle It?

The way the candidate answers this interview question for employers will give you valuable information about their communication and conflict resolution skills. You’ll be able to see if they speak up when they disagree. Are they someone who nitpicks or harps on every insignificant detail? Are they able to give and take constructive feedback and troubleshoot a solution? Do they have the emotional intelligence to navigate conflicting opinions?

This will be particularly important when collaboration is a key part of the job role. The ideal candidate would be able to navigate disagreements and conflicting opinions.

6. How Would Your Coworkers Describe You?

This interview question for employers is a great way to get insight into each of the job candidates’ soft skills. You can gain insight into how the candidates may fit (or not) into the current team and what opportunities or challenges may arise. The way the candidate answers the question will also tell you what traits they value in themselves and other people.

7. Why Are You Leaving Your Current Position?

This is a standard interview question that each of the candidates will be expecting. However, usually the answer that the candidates give will reveal what is important to them and will help you to pitch the job to your favorite candidate. For example, if they say they are leaving because there are no opportunities for progression, then you can highlight the training, accreditations, and promotions at your company when selling the company.

8. Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

This interview question for employers is another standard question that candidates will expect. You will be able to see if their expectations are realistic or unrealistic and get insight into their desired career path. This helps you as an employer see if it is likely that the candidate will still be in your company in the next 5 years or if your company cannot fulfil their career aspirations.

Answers that may be a cause for concern include:

  • An unrealistic rise in seniority over 5 years.
  • Career aspirations that would mean the candidate is likely to leave your organization within 3 years.
  • Uncertain or wishy-washy career aspirations

A candidate who sees themselves in the same role in 5 years is not necessarily a cause for concern. Some people like to master what they do and prefer to stay in roles for a while and get comfortable there.

9. How Would Your Boss Describe You?

Similar to the interview question of how would your coworkers describe you, this question forces the interview candidates to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses as an employee. Ideally you would get a read on both strengths and weaknesses, but you are asking the candidate themselves, so it is likely to be an answer that paints them in a good light.

10. How Do You Handle Stress/How Do You Handle the Pressure of Deadlines?

Depending on the type of role you are hiring for, being able to handle deadlines or multiple projects may be an important quality. This interview question will elicit information about the ways that each candidate copes with stress and examples of how they have handled deadlines in the past.

You may even instruct the interviewer to ask follow-up questions about situations when the candidate has not been able to meet a deadline or how they handle a deadline that is too tight.

11. What Is 1 Fact That is Not on Your LinkedIn Profile?

This is another open-ended interview question that can often lead to getting to know your candidates a little better. You may find out about their hobbies, their childhood, or interesting skills they possess. There is no wrong answer here; it is about seeing the job applicant’s personality.

This is a great interview question for employers to ask at the start of the interview, as it can relax the candidate and help both the interviewer and candidate to connect better.

12. What Is an Achievement You Are Particularly Proud Of?

Candidates may answer this interview question with an achievement from their personal life or professional life, but it will show you a little bit about who they are as a person and the things they value. The valuable information is not usually in the what (though the what can be interesting); it is in the way. The why will give insight into the job applicant’s personality traits and values. If the candidate does not volunteer why they are proud of their selected achievement, instruct the interviewer to ask why they are especially proud of that achievement.

Have a quick question? We answered nearly 2000 FAQs.

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