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5 Best Interview Questions to Ask Potential Employees —And What Their Answers Reveal Here's how to get the most out of your interview time and get a strong sense of who your candidate really is.

By Entrepreneur Staff

Key Takeaways

  • Job interviews are an essential way to determine if the candidate will align with the company's culture
  • Ask questions that determine both their skills and their behavior.
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The job interview is one of the best ways to determine if a candidate will mesh with the company's culture and add to its long-term success. Sure, they might look stellar on their resume, but a lot can be revealed when a candidate is asked pointed questions about their background and working style.

Some human resource managers screen candidates, asking a few preliminary questions over the phone before bringing them in for a formal interview with managers. Others save time by turning to AI-powered platforms such as CandidateView, which allows them to ask prerecorded questions and view applicants' answers via video. Still, others skip the pre-screening process altogether and go right for person-to-person interviews out the gate.

Whatever your interview process, you want to ask questions that give you a clearer view of the candidate's work ethic, values, and personality. While there are no guarantees that any candidate will be the perfect match, here are some of the best interview questions to boost your chances of finding an employee who will strengthen your workforce.

Related: Avoid Costly Hiring Mistakes With These Five Essential Tips

Cultural fit

A good cultural fit means recruiting employees whose values and shared behaviors align with your company's. As the saying goes, fitting a square peg in a round hole is tricky. So why force it if it's not a good match?

During the interview or a video-based pre-interview, be sure to ask a few questions that dive a bit deeper into the candidate's past experience navigating other work environments.

Ask: Can you tell me about a time when your workplace had a great culture? What did management do to foster that? Now, tell me about a time when the workplace was toxic? What do you think management did wrong?

By posing two contracting cultural scenarios, you will better understand what the candidate believes makes a good work environment and what breeds disharmony.

Management style

Whether you're hiring someone in a junior-level or management role, it's helpful to understand how they prefer to be managed. Some employees like the autonomous, hands-off approach, while others thrive with clear objectives and guidelines.

Ask: How you best like to be managed? Describe the ideal manager for your personality style.

The answer will help determine if the candidate will get along with the specific manager or department. For example, if they prefer a results-based manager who doesn't care how they do their work as long as they get it done, they may not fit with someone who is more hands-on.

Self-awareness

Introspection is a vital skill for any employee because it reveals an ability to be honest about one's strengths and weaknesses—and helps them make better decisions. For example, if an employee knows they struggle with public speaking, they might improve those skills or delegate the task to another employee.

Ask: If you had to weigh in on your challenges, what areas would you want to work on to improve?

The answer reveals several important things: It helps you determine if a candidate can self-reflect, and it gives you some insight into their strengths and weaknesses. Beware of the candidate who says they have no challenges. Everyone has room to improve, and people who don't think so are probably not being honest with themselves.

Related: The 10 Communication Skills Every Entrepreneur Must Master

Conflict resolution

Unless you're working in Barbieland, there will always be challenges in the workplace. How an employee deals with these hurdles can be the difference between harmonious conflict resolution and a train wreck. During the interview, hone in on specific challenges the candidate has encountered and what they did to resolve them.

Ask: Tell me about a conflict you faced at work and how you dealt with it.

Listen for clues on how they relied on their skillset to resolve the issue. Did they take a conscientious and considerate look at the situation first? Did they manage to stay calm? Did they collaborate with others to find a solution? These are some of the C's you want to look out for.

Related: Here's What Hiring Managers Should Focus On to Find Their Next Great Employee.

Detail oriented

Employees who pay attention to the details tend to produce work more aligned with your needs and require less supervision and hand-holding. There's an old standby question, a classic but a goodie, that can help you determine right off the bat if they're detail-oriented.

Ask: Why do you want to work for our company?

When you ask this question, you get a better understanding of how well the candidate prepped for their interview. Their answer tells you if they've researched your company and what product or service you sell. If they've done their homework, it's a good indicator that they pay attention to details.

Related: Here's What to Expect in a Job Interview in Today's Job Market

Entrepreneur Staff

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor

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