3 questions every employer should ask in an interview

Candidates today are increasingly prepared for classic interview questions. To find out what you really need to know you may need to ask a few unusual questions.

In today’s market roles are becoming increasingly specialised and organisations are arming themselves by ensuring that their candidates, whether they’ve come through a recruitment agency or their own interview process, have the right skills and competencies for the role.

Yet according to research, cultural and motivational fit are a higher indication of success in a role than skills or competencies. So therefore as a hiring manager, apart from making sure the person can do the job, you should ask questions that will give insight into how well they will do the job and if they really want the job.

Here are three questions that will help you achieve that.

“If you were in my shoes, what would be the biggest concern about hiring you right now?”

People come into interviews to sell themselves. If they’re doing that well, and you as an employer start considering them a good fit for the role, then the risk is you stop looking at potential issues, gaps and problems. This is dangerous because even if you do want to hire the person, you need to ensure you have a balanced view of them and that you understand both their positives and negatives.

So if you feel the interview is going well, this question allows you to see if the person is just ‘selling’ or if they’re actually viewing and presenting themselves realistically. It may also give you an insight into their development areas, which other questions may not have given you.

What would make you stay in your current organisation?” (Or “How will your boss react if you resign?”)

What you’re trying to find out here is whether the person has actually thought this through. Have they made the emotional journey and are now genuinely ready to move, even if they’ve had strong mentors at their current organisation or have worked there for a long time?

Counter offers in today’s talent-short market are a reality. It’s not only up to a recruiter to gauge how ready a candidate is for change, but a hiring manager too.

If people are leaving only for more money then if they’ve been successful at their role and are offered more money to stay, they may accept that counter offer. Getting a feeling for this early on can help you better plan back-up candidates for the role, should they be needed.

“Based on our conversation today, what do you think are the main challenges in this role?”

As an employer it’s really important you strike the right balance between selling the opportunity and ensuring the candidate has a good understanding of the challenges that come with it.

In our experience candidates resign from a role after just a few months when they have underestimated the challenges related to the role, culture or team. It’s really important therefore to tell them about the reality of the working environment, the challenges they will certainly face in the role and potential issues that may arise.

By asking them this question you can see not only whether they have understood you but their willingness to take on and face those challenges.