A Recruiter’s Handy Guide to Asking Interview Questions
A Recruiter’s Handy Guide to Asking Interview Questions

Posted on 29 April 2015

Interviews can be a long and arduous process, as most hiring managers can attest. To make the interview an effective one, hiring managers should assess candidates based on their responses to questions asked at the interview, in addition to their prerequisite qualifications and past work experience.

If you are a new manager unfamiliar with the recruiting game, make a mental note to ask these basic questions (on top of more in-depth ones) in order to better measure a candidate’s suitability for the position he/she applied for.

Tell me more yourself

Asking this question helps you kick-start the interview on a friendly note. The candidate’s response to this question will give you a preview of his/her personality – and perhaps afford you the discovery that you both share common interests outside working hours!

The way your candidate answers this question – with passion and vigour, or with dead eyes? – will also help you gauge his/her level of enthusiasm and confidence. A combination of both these qualities is tantamount to a passion for his/her interests and work.

Why do you think you would make a good fit for this job?

If a candidate was truly excited at the prospect of a job offer from your organisation, he/she will answer this question with genuineness and after much clear thought. His/her answers should ideally incorporate elements of the organisation’s vision and mission, for only then would it be a true demonstration that he/she has done homework.

An opportunity to answer this question will also allow candidates the chance to highlight their skills and achievements, acquired from their polytechnic/university education or previous work experiences.

What do you think is your biggest weakness?

This is not an easy question to answer. It is indeed easier to communicate your strengths than your weaknesses – this is not because it is wiser to, but it is generally tougher to identify where your weaknesses lie.

In an ideal interview situation, a candidate would give you a real-life challenge he has encountered owing to a weakness and the measures he took to overcome them.

What do you hope to achieve in this organisation in five years?

Some candidates would respond by saying that they hope to see themselves in a higher position than the one they are applying for. While this is not wrong and makes for an ambitious and goal-oriented candidate, a more desirable answer would lie along the lines of helping to set and achieve greater goals for the company at large.

If a candidate says something like “I hope to help expand the company by touching base and making connections with our other regional offices”, or “I hope to improve our sales by 20%”, you’d know that you have yourself a keeper.

Do you have any questions for us?

Should the candidate choose to answer this question by making references to his/her salary or leave entitlements, alarm bells should start ringing in your head. If a candidate was wise, he/she would take this opportunity to ask more questions about the company’s culture or plans for the future.

Asking these questions helps you determine if candidates are willing to adopt a keen awareness of the company’s mission and aims, and if they are likely to work towards aligning their goals with that of the company.
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