As you prepare to interview prospective candidates, you probably have a list of things you want to tell them and ideas of how best to get the measure of each person before making a decision to hire. But no matter what industry you work in, you should ask every candidate these six questions that will truly help you get to know who they are as people and as potential employees.

What’s important for you in a job? 

This question gets to the heart of the candidate’s priorities and tells you where his focus lies. Does he talk the most about succeeding in his position? Learning more? Working with others? Work-life balance? Hitting his goals? Whatever the answer, that will give you an idea of whether this person’s values coincide with those of the company, as well as whether he’ll have a good cultural fit.

Tell me about a time when you had to overcome a major obstacle that stood in the way of you accomplishing a goal or commitment. 

The candidate’s answer will inform you how she deals with setbacks and what she does to overcome them. This also gives you insight as to what she defines as an obstacle and how she connects with her co-workers. You’ll see how she approaches problems and what methods she uses to solve them.

How do you handle working with a difficult colleague? 

The answer to this question tells you whether the candidate can manage functional working relationships regardless of personality. Listen to whether he attempts to deal with it himself, whether he chooses to get management involved, and whether that’s the best decision or not. Does he manage to get the job done regardless of contentious colleagues? This will give you insight as to how he deals with stress as well.

How will you add value in 30-60-90 days? 

From your end, seeing how a new hire does after 30, 60, and 90 days gives you an idea as to how she will work out in the long term. Asking this question of the candidate allows her to promote her skills and demonstrate how she will make the company better in specific ways. Look for specifics and see how much research she has done on the company to be able to confidently answer the question.

Tell me about your greatest achievement at work. 

Again, this gives the candidate the time to shine and promote his accomplishments. It also tells you where his priorities lie, whether in helping land a new client, dealing successfully with a difficult customer, or reaching a personal milestone.  It shows you where his values lie and what he considers an achievement.

What prompted you to apply for the job/what interested you most about this position? 

This may get surprisingly honest answers, partially because a number of candidates don’t think about how to best answer the question. It tells you where the person’s heart lies and if she has an interest in the position based on how it fits with her skills, the opportunity it affords her to shine in a new atmosphere, or, sometimes, whether she truly understands why she wants the position. It really answers the unspoken question, “Why do you want to be here and not somewhere else?” The answer will help you see what motivates this person and where her focus lies.

Interviewing candidates can be nerve-wracking on your end of the desk as well. Visit PrideStaff to discuss other ways of vetting quality candidates.

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