5 Questions to Ask a New Hire in an Interview

It is important to choose the right questions to ask when hiring. Here are a few. Do you use them in your protocols?

Candidate Experience

Cindy Boisvert

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


During the interview, the ability to predict performance or what the candidate can accomplish in the job, is almost impossible.

If you want to increase your chances of getting to know the candidate as thoroughly as possible in an hour, you need to ask the right questions.

While you (awesome recruiter, you!) certainly have your own pre-established questions for the position, here are 5 questions that will help you learn more about your candidates. No doubt about it!

They say you only have one chance to make a good impression. Well, I say you only have one chance to ask a new hire the right questions in an interview. Here we go!

Question # 1 – Let’s start with an overview of your resume

I know – that’s not a question! But this statement is essential to begin any interview. It is one of the key stages of recruitment (and here are 6 more steps for an effective recruiting process).

Before doing anything else, analyze your candidate’s CV to understand their experiences and achievements. Pay attention to gaps in the candidate’s resume, and to areas in which details are lacking.

Yet, resumes with a lot of information still don’t mean you are in a better position! Just try and pinpoint relevant information that you can further explore later.

The candidate will certainly have much more to say about his/her resume than the 2-3 pages of information on their paper.

So come prepared!

Question # 2 – What drains you of the most energy?

If you’re like me, you’ll find questions like “do you have leadership skills and give us an example” pretty dreadful.

First of all, those are actually two questions in one, even if they address the same subject.

Do your candidates know what it is to have leadership skills? Do you have the same definition or understanding of those skills?

Or perhaps they do have a very good general idea of their leadership style, but won’t be able to come up with a specific example. By forcing your candidates to dig deep to find a concrete example, you might end up with vague answers that leave you hanging, or even with stories that are completely made up.

And we don’t want that!

The answer to a question like “what drains you of the most energy?” will likely be more spontaneous and truthful. The candidate may even reveal an aspect of their personal life that will help you understand and predict his behavior in the workplace.

Question # 3 – What is your ideal type of manager?

Usually, this kind of question leads to a true and spontaneous response, where you’ll find out about the candidate’s expectations towards a manager.

We all have this ideal manager in mind. But our definition of what that implies differs from one person to another. I’m sure your definition of an ideal employee differs from mine, right?

There’s a reason for that.

We are all built differently and have our own preferences with regards to our coaching, creation, support and freedom needs.

While some prefer a manager who is very organized and who will closely monitor their projects, others prefer someone who will give them latitude and autonomy.

As a manager, it is important to know as early as the first interview if your new hire is a fan of employee empowerment or not!

Some of your candidates’ answers might even be rather amusing, and you’ll be able to find out if a sense of humor is one of their personality’s hidden aspect!

Question # 4 – What would you do differently?

By the time you reach this question in your interview, you’ll most likely have already learned a thing or two about your candidate. It will enable you to assess the ability of candidates to question themselves.

If there is nothing your candidate would ever do differently, then we have a bit of a problem. Life is not about having regrets! But it’s important to learn from our mistakes and be able to recognize when things haven’t gone the way we were expecting them to go.

The answer you will get will often refer to a situation where people are faced with conflict.

Is your candidate able to find a positive “twist” in an adverse situation in their professional past? Does your new hire have the ability to find innovative solutions to try to avoid unpleasant situations that might occur if you were to hire her?

Question # 5 – What have you improved upon the most over time?

Now that’s an interesting question to ask towards the end of the interview! By doing so, you will be able to confirm the candidate’s development and degree of actualization.

The answer might highlight aspects that require caution, or that could have previously drained energy from your candidates. And they might even admit that there are still things they can improve upon. How humble!

Some Extra Tips To Make The Most of These Questions to Ask a New Hire

Above all, it is important to listen to the person sitting before you. Avoid only thinking about the upcoming question in your interview guide.

Do not pay attention only to words, but analyze their non-verbal cues as well (gestures, the tone of voice, etc.). Are there conflicting messages between the body and verbal language?

Remember that you are conducting an interview and are trying to get to know your candidate’s personality dimensions as well as you possibly can.

And most importantly: whatever the range of questions that make up your interview, never base your decisions on a single source of information. That can be pretty risky.

And there you have it: 5 questions to ask a new hire in an interview. I hope you have other questions handy, as it would be very hard to get to know someone only with these 5 questions.

This is a job interview, not speed dating 😉 But I can assure you that if you ask these in the process, you’re on the right track.

Whatever the case may be, try to be more objective than subjective. Make sure you validate the information using different evaluation methods (i.e. psychometric test, CV, interview, references).

What are you waiting for? Add these questions to your interview guide!

What Questions Do You Ask Potential Hires In An Interview?

How do you get a grasp of the individual applying for a position in your company? How do you assess what kind of person and employee they can be for your team and organization?

Leave us some advice in the comments below!

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