5 must-ask questions when hiring someone new


Nearly three in four companies use traditional, structured interviews to find new employees. But how do you ensure that your interview process is effective?

To start, you need a few go-to interview questions that allow you to gain valuable insight about your candidates.

Having a set of standard questions ensures consistency when evaluating interviewees. It also allows interviewers to evaluate the effectiveness of their own interview process and improve it over time.

Here are a few great options you can use in your interview process.

1. What is your greatest weakness?

This classic question requires interviewees to open up about aspects of their professional career that have been challenging. It’s a question any prepared interviewee should be ready to answer, however it can still be valuable.

After asking this question, you should make sure to follow up by asking how the interviewee has attempted to remedy this weakness. As an interviewer, you’ll want to hear how the interviewee has grown.

Finally, it is worth noting that you may need to steer interviewees away from answers that frame good traits as weaknesses, or weaknesses that are not relevant to the job.

2. What was the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

Here, you will be able to ask the interviewee an open-ended question that will elicit varying responses. It would be unwise to judge candidates by the scale of their risk.

For instance, not every candidate dropped out of school to start a business. The important thing here is to find out why the candidate felt it was necessary to take a risk, regardless of what the risk was, and what they learned from it.

Ultimately, a good answer will help you understand the interviewee’s critical thinking and risk assessment process, skills that are required to perform well in almost any job.

3. Why did you leave your former job?

This is an essential question for risk management. You don’t want to hire a candidate who was fired for poor performance or is willing to be disrespectful of their former coworkers.

While most candidates won’t be this brazen, this question should still help you weed out interviewees who may lack a minimum level of discretion.

Typically, candidates seek new jobs when re-locating to a different city, for higher wages, to switch industries or to broaden their experience and skills.

4. Imagine you are magically given four extra hours this weekend. How would you use this time?

Because “time is money”, this question will give you an insight into what each candidate values.

Perhaps they’d rather spend that time with their family, or exercising, or reading. There are no right or wrong answers here; instead, it is a behavioural question that lets you learn more about your prospective employees and assess whether they will be a good fit for your firm’s culture and its value system.

5. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Similar to the greatest risk question, you are not looking to judge candidates on the magnitude of their accomplishments. Instead, this question aims to determine what each candidate is proud of (further identifying their core values and motivations), how they achieved it (assessing various skills like teamwork or problem solving) and how they feel about the achievement (are they appropriately modest or overly confident).


As you prepare to hire employees, make sure you have developed a list of interview questions that will give you valuable insights about them.

Your list should give you the chance to learn how your candidates think and what they value. These insights will help you hire the right employees for you business.

This article first appeared in thenewsavvy.com

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