The 20 Key Questions to Ask During a Job Interview to Pick the Right Candidate

Recruiting the best talent is essential for any organization, but identifying if a potential candidate is going to be a success if given the opportunity is always a challenge!

I love interviewing future candidates for different positions in our company  In addition, I firmly believe that it is one of the fundamental functions of the CEO of a company: to choose the right team.

job interview

Someone told me that the Founder of Airbnb always interviewed the candidates until there were 1,000 people in the company…

But getting it right… that’s the hardest part! And we must ask the right questions to identify the skills we are looking for and to discover in the candidate the “intangibles” such as attitude, ambition, creativity, or vision. These questions can reveal whether a candidate is going to be a valuable contributor and whether they will be involved in the company culture.

And before asking, the smile and the look transmit many messages…! His past experience is very easy to see on the resume, but his attitude… That’s why I focus much more, from the beginning, on getting to know the person than on his past experience.

I launched the question on LinkedIn and Twitter about what are the best questions in a job interview, to find out if a person is an ideal candidate and the response from my professional contacts has been overwhelming.

Body Language

In this post, I will try to summarize the answers I have had to the 20 essential questions that will help us to know more about the candidate and get it right!

1. What is the best thing that life has given you?

It’s usually a good tease…! To get started. And to know what her fears are, her shame and her laziness… In other words, her brakes!

2. Describe your best day at work

Think back to your best day at work, that day you went home thinking, “I have the best job in the world. I love what I do.” What did you do that day? When a person is doing a job that he likes, he will be happier and more engaged.

3. What is the most professionally risky thing you have ever done?

If you need a creative person, they have to be willing to take risks. So I look for the light in people’s eyes when they talk about the risky things they’ve done. When someone can’t even answer this question (which happens often), that person isn’t cut out to work at a startup.

4. Tell me about the last experience you liked the most with a client and why.

We look for people who have great intuition and an obsession with the details, but who also have an opinion and a point of view. And who understands that customers are the blood that gives life to companies!

5. If you had an infinite budget, what would you invest in the company and how would customers notice it?

You see values, vision, strategy…

6. Why do you want to join our company and do this job?

We need to know what you value most about our company and what really motivates you.

7. What are you going to contribute to our company?

Here we will see if the interview has been well prepared. If you have done your homework researching what you intend to achieve with your hiring.

8. Have you been lucky in life?

Luck is something that attracts me, that’s why I love to hire optimistic people who tell me that they have been very lucky in life because they always take the positive out of their experiences.

9. If you were given the opportunity to decide what to work on, what would it be?

Not for what you studied, not for money, not for where life has taken you. That is something you always wanted to do and for some reason, you didn’t do.

10. What will you do specifically to come every day motivated and with an attitude of improvement? Do you know?

I am of the opinion that people have to come motivated from home. Especially in startups. We need people who do not lose faith in the face of difficulties, and who are persistent and positive, we do not need ashes that sink at the slightest.

11. How do you imagine your life and your work in 5 years?

It is important to perceive if he is aware and convinced of his ability to build his scenarios and if he is really going to be involved in the future of the company, and if he sees it!

12. How would you communicate your job change to your current company? What would you do on your last day of work before coming to work at our company?

That way we’ll know when the day comes how he’ll leave us…if he leaves us one day! And if he knows how to say goodbye to the teams with which he has collaborated!

13. What kind of people do you like to work with?

With the answer, we will see your values ​​and what you most admire about the teams.

14. How would you correct an attitude or behavior in a person who is not getting results?

Knowing how you are going to act in a bad moment with those who may depend on you is essential.

15. How would you recognize the effort and results of a colleague or collaborator of yours?

It is about knowing if you will know how to motivate your team. That is part of the ATTITUDE.

16. What was your worst client? What happened?

Tell me about a situation where you disagreed with a client. Or that you could not keep what was promised!

17. Tell me something you think you’re right about and hardly anyone agrees with you.

This is always asked by Peter Thiel, the Founder of Paypal and an investor in Facebook, Linkedin, etc…” He comments on it in his book “From Zero to One“. This is how he selects the most innovative talent.

18. What does your mother think of you both good and bad?

Mothers are the ones who really know us… Put it to the test!

19. What mistakes have you made in your professional life and what have you learned from them?

It helps me to see the capacity for self-criticism, control, and analysis.

20. If we tell you that you are not selected this time, what are you going to do the next day?

If he struggles to convince us that he is the best candidate, that he has a terrible desire to join the company, to get the job… it is because he does not give in to the “no’s”.

Knowing if a candidate is going to integrate well with the company’s teams and values ​​is essential. But as Google says: now, you have to look for people who are not good at answering planned questions but who are capable of asking themselves and asking many new questions! Those are the ones who discover new paths! And something very important: not everyone can live in any ecosystem. Like a lion, no matter how much it is, it can’t live in the Arctic…!

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