11 Interview Questions to Help You Find the Right Employees

/ Best Practices, Human Resources


As an employer, the hiring process can be overwhelming. Finding the time for interviews on top of your regular workload is challenging, and filling a vacant position is expensive. In some industries, the cost of hiring a new employee can be as high as $5,000!

However, if you find the right fit, it’s worth it. While it’s true that a good interview doesn’t necessarily predict a candidate’s success, the right interview questions can help you thoroughly vet candidates. By asking smart questions, you’re doing your due diligence to find the right employees, which can lead to higher retention rates (and save you money!).

To help guide you, we’ve put together a list of the must-ask interview questions.

1. Tell me about yourself.

It’s not a question, per se, but it’s a good opener. It gives you a chance to see if your candidate can communicate confidently and concisely. While you’ve seen their resume, this is an opportunity for an open-ended response, which lets your candidate add more color to their work experience and explain why it’s relevant to the open position. Obviously, the candidate shouldn’t take this opportunity to talk about their personal life, but by leaving it general, you can evaluate how they navigate the question.

2. Why do you want to work here?

This question will help you determine if the candidate is a good fit for your workplace culture, and it also tells you if they’ve done their research. Do they have a solid understanding of your company’s history and culture? Ideally, when the candidate answers this question, they’ll draw some parallels between your company, their values and their career goals.

3. What interests you most about this position?

This one’s important for a couple of reasons. First, your candidate’s answer to this question should demonstrate their understanding of the role. Secondly, if your candidate seems genuinely excited about the role, it’s a good indication they’ll be engaged in their work. Engaged employees are more productive, more content, and more likely to be loyal to your company.

4. Why do you want to leave your current position?

Sure, this has the potential to make your candidate squirm, but it’s a reasonable question. Regardless of their situation, they should be able to answer this question professionally, without being negative. If they don’t, it’s a red flag. Listen to their answer closely. You want to be sure they have good rationale for leaving, and it’s a well-thought-out decision. That way, if you decide to hire them, you can feel confident they won’t leave for unfounded reasons.

5. What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

Instead of asking the predictable “What are some of your strengths?” question, this gives your candidate the opportunity to illustrate their strengths with a specific example. In their answer, you can discern skills or character traits that are relevant to the job they’re applying for. This can also reveal what’s important to your candidate, which may tell you whether they’d be a good fit and thrive in your work environment.

6. When have you made a mistake? Describe this time in your career.

Similar to the question above, this question is an alternative way of asking “What are some of your weaknesses?” Since employers often ask about weaknesses, candidates know to prepare for that. By asking them about a time when they’ve made a mistake, you’re more likely to get an authentic answer that reveals a real weakness (rather than a canned response where they put a positive spin on a shortcoming).

7. How do you manage your workload when you have conflicting deadlines?

By asking this question, you’ll gain insight into whether the candidate is competent at prioritizing tasks. Additionally, you’ll get an idea of how the candidate performs under pressure without explicitly asking them. Most likely, they’re going to deal with competing priorities at work and their answer to this question will indicate whether they’re proficient in managing their time.

8. What’s a challenge you’ve had to overcome at work? How did you deal with it?

While this can be a difficult question to answer, it’s an effective way to learn about your candidate’s problem-solving skills. Inevitably, everyone deals with challenges at work, especially when they start a new position. By understanding how your candidate has managed difficult circumstances in previous positions, you can get a sense of whether they’re well-equipped for the role.

9. What are your long-term career goals?

With this question, you can determine if your candidate’s professional goals align with what your company can offer. Your goal is to find a candidate who will thrive (and stay) with your company, so it’s important to understand how your open position fits into their long-term plans. If the role you’re hiring for is part of their larger career strategy, they’re more likely to perform well and be motivated.

10. Why should we hire you?

This question gives your candidate an opportunity to sell themselves and leave the interview on a high note. If they’ve done their research and truly feel they’re qualified for the position, they should be able to clearly communicate how they’d add value to the company. This is a good, final opportunity to assess the candidate’s self-confidence in their qualifications for the job.

11. Do you have any questions for me?

This one may sound cliché, but there’s a reason why interviewers frequently ask it. Not only does it indicate an applicant’s interest in the company, but it also shows preparedness (or lack thereof). If your candidate asks a question related to something discussed during the interview, that’s a good sign too, as it demonstrates they’re engaged and can think on their feet.

Find a fit that’s just right!

Finding the right employee the first time around saves you time and money. Plus, a strong new hire adds value to your company and helps propel your business forward. At Payroll Data we understand that there’s a lot of work that goes into finding and managing employees. That’s why we offer a variety of tools and services to help you with everything from recruiting to applicant tracking, employee management, benefits, compliance and more. If you’re already a client, but aren’t taking advantage of Orbit Human Resources, contact your client service representative (CSR) for more information. If you’re new to our services, we can help as well. Send us a note today!  

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