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A warm welcome to our blog! Today we wanted to provide you with the top 5 questions to ask your shortlist to identify your candidate’s skills, qualifications and fit. Although you can have 15 interview questions or more, it is usually best to limit the number of interview questions to five or ten and give room to converse with the candidate. 

A few insightful questions can give you a good picture of the candidate you are interviewing and also allow the person to give you more detailed answers. With an average interview lasting about 30 to 45 minutes, a candidate can take up to 5 minutes to answer each question. This way you can have time to answer any questions they also may have or to elaborate further on certain details. 


1. Tell me about yourself?

This is a go to question that you can use to ease into the interview and make the candidate feel more relaxed. They can easily show their speaking and confidence abilities as they go through their career. The question gives room to share with the interviewers the candidate’s personality as well. 

As they go through their professional or personal activities which describe who they are, you can ask questions that help you reflect on their skills and attitudes. You could follow up with “Describe yourself in five words”, “Why did you switch positions?”, “What are your passions?” or “How did you get interested in this area?”. Such questions will help you learn more about the candidate than what’s on their resume.


2. Why do you want to work here and in this role?

This question will let you know what the candidate liked about your company and inform you about their career goals. You could further ask them, “Why did you leave your last company?” or “What did you like and dislike about your previous role?”. This will help you identify what changes they were looking for and why.

Moreover, a candidate will either give you a generic answer or one that has a more specific link to what your company does. This will let you know if they are just looking for a job or particularly interested in working with you. The more they are interested and their goals aligned with your company, they are more likely to stay with your company than change jobs in the near future. 

You also want to know if the candidate has a good understanding of the role and industry. You could ask questions like “How much do you know about this industry?” and “What could you do better than other candidates in your role?”


3. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Even though the candidate’s accomplishments will be on their CV or resume, it is good to hear straight from them what success they had and how they achieved it. This will give you an insight into which goals they are proud of and why. It will also help you validate that the information on paper was an honest reflection of their career journey. 

You can further ask your candidate “Tell us about the project you led or team you supervised” or “What achievements are you proud of outside of work”. This will help you understand what your candidate views as success both professionally and personally. 


4. What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

This is a key question that will help you identify how a candidate overcomes challenges. It will give you their perspective of what they see as a challenge and their problem solving skills in making it a success. 

You could ask them “What was the most difficult decision you have had to make?”, “How did you handle critical feedback?” or “What solutions did you implement when your team had disagreements?” These elaborations will give you an idea of how your candidates deal with the more difficult aspects of the work at hand. It will also show you their attitude towards obstacles and how they may approach it. 


5. Do you have any questions?

Finally, at the end of the interview, it is important to ask the candidate if they have any questions or if they are unclear about aspects of the job or the interview. The fact that they may have questions will show you their interest in the job while you also give them a chance to clarify their understanding. 

Often interviewees at the end of the interview may be left with a feeling that they missed something or did not get something across. If you request “Do you have anything further to add or say to us?”, it then gives the candidate room to go back to a question that may not have been answered well or give any information that may be left out. 

Did this article help you through your journey in interviewing candidates? Please feel free to contact us if you would like more information or assistance. AJ Connect provides top notch recruitment services to businesses in the UK. 

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