5 Tough Questions to Ask Candidates

Asking the tough questions produces the best candidates at the end of the interview process. Don’t be in fear of asking the hard questions. Its all about your company and hiring the best; a bad hire could cost too much of a loss culturally, monetarily as well as emotionally.

  1. Is it about the effort or the result? Those who focus on the effort, are not looking for results and are thereby, more interested to show someone they can do everything under the sun but when it comes to results, its NOT their fault if they cant produce…since they are doing X,Y and Z. We need result oriented individuals.

  2. How would you describe the Sun to a Blind Person? This question really helps with understanding the candidate’s creativity, communication and putting the candidate on the “spot” to see how they think on their toes.

  3. Accomplishments? They have been working for 3-5 years and they cant list a real solid accomplishment? Hmmm….well, I think its safe to say you don’t just need someone with a pulse, rather someone that can actually make things more efficient, create new streams of revenue, has the ability to be promoted quickly due to taking on more responsibilities, etc. Don’t ever settle for someone that is just average, hire the smartest & best and surround your organization with talent that makes a difference.

  4. Digging into reasons for leaving: If you are hiring a Sales Rep who bounced jobs every 1-2 years, figure out the why. Dig in…don’t take the answer “ mutual decision” and “layoff”, figure out what happened. There was a layoff? What happened internally with the company, was there a financial problem? Howe many others got laid off? Was it just that candidate in a large 500+ employee company? Hmmmm…….be smart and really search for the true answers. Ask if they would get a positive reference from their former manager. How many times have we hired the job jumper and we now clearly see the reason why they never worked out…don’t be fooled by simplistic candidate answers!

Why are you looking to make a change? Everyone is going to tell you, “for growth”. But sometimes it just doesn’t make sense. If a receptionist applies to a receptionist role, how much growth is there actually going to be. We need to expand on it and really figure out the true reason for these individuals to be looking. Sometimes we all waste our time interviewing candidates who get to the end of the interview process and decide not to leave their current employer since they are actually happy and this role is just a “lateral move”. What happened? What is really the true reason for these people to go on an interview in the first place!? Figure out where they are compensation wise and where they need to be, align where they see themselves in 5 years with this potential role. Really make sure it all makes sense, because if it doesn’t, I can guarantee you, these candidates will decline the offer, take the job and leave, or take the job and you realize they are bad at what they do and that is why they decided to leave their former role thinking the same role will actually be different in a new company.