It’s never plain sailing when you’re in the recruitment process for somebody with the right skillset, personality and business acumen for your enterprise. When you’re in the hot seat and evaluating candidates, what are the best questions for you to ask?

The interview gives an invaluable insight into the real traits of your potential candidate, and ‘behind the scenes’ characteristics that a CV alone doesn’t reveal.

Essential interview questions to ask

1. ‘Tell me about a time you faced a difficult situation?’

This open-ended question challenges the candidate to:

• Demonstrate the right positive working attitude
• Show how they handle potentially problematic situations
• Display their decision-making skills and business management

The ideal candidate will show how they successfully resolved the matter. They’ll talk about what they did, and even what they could have done better.

2. ‘What is your greatest achievement in life?’

This insightful question lets a candidate reveal their motivations, passions and priorities – whether they’re personal, voluntary or professional.

Either way, the answers can be illuminating. The ideal candidate may give you an example of showing teamwork skills in the workplace, or talk about an experience volunteering for charity fundraising or work.

3. ‘What kind of company culture are you happiest in?’

Recruiting a new candidate is like starting a new relationship with that person, so the interview gives the chance for both of you to figure out whether the role will be a right fit.

Ask your candidate(s) what type of culture and working environment they prefer (whether small or big, management driven or self-driven). Also, be sure to describe as much about your workplace so that they understand the type of company they’ll work in.

That way, both of you can be confident of a better long-term fit.

4. ‘How do you stay current in your field?’

It’s harder to keep up-to-date with your interests in today’s increasingly competitive job market. This question will ultimately reveal who simply wants a ‘job’, and who’s particularly searching for this type of role.

The ideal candidate will be actively reading blogs, following their industry influencers on the social media channel of choice, and attending conferences and courses.

Competency-based questions

‘Can you tell me about a time you…’

Use this phrase to build your own competency-based questions based on the job description. You fill in the blank with a competency question you’d like to ask your candidates to be sure they have the right skills and attitude for the job.

In-depth interview question guides

For more in-depth guides around interview questions for specific domains, visit our guides here:

Product Design


Product Management



If you are an employer looking to help with your next hiring process, contact us here today.



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