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What can you tell about a candidate from the questions they ask?

What can you tell about a candidate from the questions they ask?

How should I approach recruitment during a recession?

It's usual to consider a job candidate's worth from the answers he or she gives you in response to your questions. But, here's a thought. What can you tell about their suitability from the questions they ask you?

An interview should be a two-way street, after all. So just how much consideration do you currently give to the questions coming back at you?

A candidate with no questions should really cloud your estimation of their interest and ability to engage. Or, perhaps worse still would be a candidate who asks the wrong questions:

  • “Questions? No, you've answered them already.”
  • “What does your company do?”
  • “What's your company's website address?”
  • “What's the holiday allowance?”
  • “How often do you give salary increases?”
  • “How much overtime would I have to work?”

When you next ask for the candidate's questions and queries, listen carefully. The questions you hear can give you an in-depth knowledge of the true calibre of the candidate…

These questions will tell you the candidate is genuinely interested in becoming part of your team and has done their research into the position and the company:

  • “Knowing my qualifications and experience, do you have questions or concerns about my ability to perform the job?”
  • “ If I were to be the successful applicant, w hat are the top 3 priorities you would like to see me accomplish and how quickly?”
  • “What does your company value most highly? How do you think my work could help further these values?”
  • “Your company released a new product last month that hasn't received great press. What has the internal reaction been to this?”

These questions will tell you the candidate has mapped out a career path and is highly motivated to follow it:

  • “How would you describe your corporate culture?"
  • "Would you say from what you've seen so far that we would be a good fit for each other?”
  • “How important is the function of this position to upper management?”
  • “What is your company's plan for the next five years and how does my position fit?”
  • “What provisions are there for ongoing training and further skills acquisition?”
  • “What career progression within the organisation would you say this job entails? "
  • “How will my performance be measured and by whom?”
  • “When top performers leave, what are the main reasons given?”

Thoughtful questions such as these emphasise that the candidate is taking as active a role as you in the job selection process. They demonstrate resourcefulness, motivation, intelligence, knowledge, qualifications and engagement.

Above all, they show that they know how to make informed decisions, a sought-after skill for any job.

And as a final thought, do you actually know the answers to all these questions? Exploring the answers will give you a deeper understanding of your company and help you ensure the job candidates you choose from now on are an even better fit.

Discuss this issue on The Employer Forum.