Questions you should ask candidates during an interview


woman sitting behind desk looking at man

During an interview, recruiters and staffing agencies have to determine the skill set and ability of an employee without seeing them work beforehand. So what's the best way to get to know a candidate? 

Some HR professionals choose to use an interview to help judge an individual's skills. For example, Founders of burrito chain, Dos Toros, would regularly interview candidates at loud coffee shops, according to Entrepreneur. Line cooks at their restaurants would need to take orders in a loud environment, so the excessive background noise provided a way to judge the candidates' ability to project their voices. Another hiring manager would "drop" a pen during the interview, reported Recruitee. If the applicant picked up the pen, it signaled kindness and helpfulness which could be important in customer service or caregiver roles. 

In addition to environmental tests, well-thought-out questions are a great way to probe into an interviewee's psyche. 

Here are some creative options to try out: 

What were you doing during your best day of work?
By asking this question, you can reveal what motivates an employee and what they value in a role, said Lori Goler, Facebook's head of people, according to Fast Company. 

How did you prepare for this interview? 
For Josh Millet, CEO of Criteria Corp, this is a standard question he asks all applicants to get a sense of how seriously they take the interview and also how detail oriented they are. 

What's the one thing you love about xyz university and what's the one thing you hate about xyz university?
This question is a favorite for any interviewees applying right out of college, based on an feedback from Mitch Roschelle for Radiate. He's looking for someone who can give him real, substantive answers that demonstrate a deep level of thought and self-awareness. This is a good way to see what a person's interests and strengths are, as well as how critical they are of an organization they're currently a part of. 

How would you find a needle in a haystack?
This is a great question to assess the ability of a candidate to think quickly and critically, as well as how they handle a curveball, according to Scott Kurnitt, Founder of

If all else fails, you can take a page from Philip Krim's book, Founder of Casper. He doesn't have a favorite interview question because he believes that an unstructured, genuine conversation is the best way to determine if a person is a good fit for the role and the company. 

Apply Now.

Find a job near you now.

Search Jobs