Questions to a Potential Employee in an Interview

Of all the factors of production including land, labour or human resources, capital, and enterprise, it does not need to be stressed that human resources or human capital is the most vital. The entrepreneur or investor, now matter how resourceful or business minded he might be, will not be able to turn his start-up into a successful venture if he does not have the right sort of people working for him. Having a team of quality employees is therefore instrumental and indispensable for the sustained growth and development of any organization, large or small.


How does a big multinational corporation or even a small time business go about recruiting the candidates or employees that’d be suitable for them? Anybody can prepare an impeccable resume using digital technology or provide reliable references but there is no way one can gauge the true potential of an employee simply on the basis of a candidate’s CV or referrals.

Holding face-to-face interviews is the best recourse you have as an employer or a human resource manager. A one-to-one session with a prospective employee where you ask basic, and behavioural or situational questions lets you have a fair idea of whether the candidate is the right fit for the specific position. An interview tempered with contextual questions is also a good way of getting an insight into the persona of the interviewee, as to how his activities and day-to-day dealings will contribute to the overall growth of an organization.

Questions that you ask a prospective employee will help you evaluate his problem solving skills; how much work experience he really has; and his interaction skills. Despite the fact no two interviews are the same and the questions asked vary from one job position to other, there is overriding similarity in the nature of questions posed and in the pattern of interviews as well.

These days a typical job interview starts with a warming up round where the candidate is asked some basic or routine questions that allows him to settle down. The next round is the most crucial part or phase of the interview where the interviewee has to answer situational questions that are related to his work experience, his decision making skills, and crisis management skills and so on. The interviewer enquiries about the candidate’s salary expectations and leaves the conversation open for the interviewee to ask questions about the job or the company, before concluding the interview.

As far as posing Questions to a Potential Employee in an Interview is concerned, there are an almost infinite number of questions, and it is beyond one’s capacity to be prepared for them all. Furthermore, don’t expect your interviewer to shoot all the posers you have in your checklist. The following questions (with answers) will help you to keep track of the queries that interviewers are most likely to ask you.

Most Likely Interview Questions That Potential Employees Face

Question:- What has been your greatest accomplishment at work till date?

Variation:- What’d you consider achievement or attainment given your job position? On what parameters would you base your perspective of achievement?

Inference:- What or whatever the job applicant says will give the interview panel a fair idea of the core values or principles that he or she regards as very significant. The parameters of assessing ‘accomplishments’ or ‘achievements‘at workplaces might vary from organization to organization and what one deems as attainment may vary from person to person. Answering this behavioural question will reveal the candidate’s perspective about accomplishments.

Question:- Do you consider yourself a self starter?

Variation:- How often would you turn to your boss or immediate superior for advice or support?

Inference:- This question will help establish how self-driven a candidate is. If the working environment in your concern is very challenging and fosters self-development and empowerment, then a candidate who is self-directed will be able to add value to your organization in the long run. He’ll also be able to achieve success by realizing his full potential. On the other hand, a candidate who is not confident of his abilities and constantly looks towards his boss for support and guidance will not fit with the organizational culture of a firm that promotes empowerment.

Question:- Tell us about a situation or occasion when you had to confront major hurdles? How did you overcome them?

Variation:- If you had to face a similar situation in the position you’re applying for, would you approach it or tackle it in a different manner?

Inference:- How deftly the candidate answers this situational question will let the interviewers form an opinion about the interviewee’s track record as far as his previous assignments or jobs are concerned. In fact, this is a multipronged question that brings out the potential employee’s man management skills-as to how he interacts with his colleagues and superiors, his attitude or approach towards problem-solving and so on.

If the candidate is apprised about the different tasks or activities that he’ll be expected to perform on a daily basis, then he may be able to give instances of having performed similar duties in his past occupations. Concentrate on his narration about how he handled challenging tasks or chores particularly the intangible aspects as many individuals excel in answering such situational posers than they’d on the actual job.

Question:- What sort of work environment would be most conducive for you?

Variation:- Do you think the organizational culture of the company you’re applying to will bring out your best? How does the job profile of the position you’re applying for syncs with your long-term career goals?

Inference:-The employer or the interviewer will be able to find out whether the candidate has applied for the incumbent position out of motivation or just for the heck of it. There are many factors that motivate an individual to apply for a certain job position other than the evident ones. It could because of personal reasons (the last job was not stimulating enough or the candidate had outgrown it) or general factors.

The company’s philosophy or missions and visions might appeal to the candidate. Or, it could be that the company’s products or services hold a special place in his heart and therefore he’d like to work and become a part of such an organization. An answer with a personal touch is indicative of trust and faithfulness whereas a response that signifies affinity with the establishment is suggestive of a sense of belonging and allegiance.

Question:- What made you apply for this position?

Variation:- Why are you considering leaving your last job?

Inference:- The response would be symptomatic of the candidate’s ethics, core values, short and long term career goals, and his or her expectations from the company or employer. The reply will throw light on the interviewee’s motivational aspects and what is it about the vacant position that prompted him to apply in the first place.

Question:- If you were hired instantly, how’d go about on your first day at the job?

Variation:- What tasks would you give priority to in case you were employed right now?

Inference:- This behavioural question will help you to have a constructive idea of whether the candidate will be able to demonstrate his problem solving skills that are required for the job. It’ll also help the recruiter to ascertain whether the candidate will be able to take a stand during a pressure cooker situation when a decision needs to be taken in a split-second.

Question:- What is your take regarding the products or promotional campaigns of our company?

Variation:- What is your opinion about the growth prospects of the company you’re applying for?

Inference:- These are sort of rounding up questions that help the human resources manager or employer to end the interview in a courteous manner. At the same time, asking these questions is a way of letting the candidate know you’re open to probity yourself and that you’d appreciate the interviewee having or showing interest in your concern.

Asking these questions to the candidate would mean that you’re willing to reverse roles and go for a two-way dialogue. If the candidate’s has a more or less fair idea about the organization and the industry or sector it is involved in, it points that he has done his homework well. On the other hand, if he doesn’t open up it would mean that he has applied as a matter of routine and he must be appearing in many other interviews simultaneously.

There are many other questions that you can ask a potential or prospective candidate. These posers will help you come to a concrete conclusion whether he or she’ll be able to adapt himself or herself with organizational goals and work culture.          

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