Important – and Telling – Interview Questions to ask a Candidate for Hire

Posted in Insight

Interviewing can be hard, both for the interviewee and also the interviewer. To interview well on either side is really a skill, and there are no second chances to make a first impression. Looking for some interesting insight into the mind of a candidate? We asked some of our most experienced recruiters what their must-ask questions are.

Riviera Director Jason Hann recommends seeking out information on some of the more challenging aspects of work, such as when things don’t go as planned. The question: Tell me about a recent failed project – were you the leader or part of the team? What happened and what would you have done differently?

When asking about a failed project, Jason says he is looking for humility and solid self reflection, as well as the critical thinking it takes to learn from mistakes. If the candidate is a leader and can’t think of a failed project, they probably lack the experience it takes to help build and lead teams because every leader has plenty of failed projects!

Jason also recommends asking: What are you looking for in your next challenge?

When asking about what is appealing to a candidate about their next challenge it’s an opportunity to discern if they’re going to be a “roll up the sleeves and do whatever it takes” kind of leader or if they’re just looking for a “perfect situation.” The latter group are often less likely to jump jobs, but if someone expresses a passion for building teams, solving for specific problems or being more involved in product development, it’s often a sign they are lacking fulfillment in their current situation and are ready for a new challenge.

Partner Sam Wholley reaches beyond just work experience and asks about life experience with one simple question: What is the hardest thing that you’ve had to do, or that has happened to you in your life, and what did you do to overcome it? The answer shows the level of grit a candidate has, as well as what they are willing to do when they need to be successful. On the technical side, Sam also likes to ask senior candidates to tell him some of the best technical management advice they have gotten from a mentor and how they have put that into action – as senior leaders, in engineering, or any field, we should be able to put the wisdom of mentors to work for us.

Riviera’s approach to hiring is “right person for the right job.” Ask questions that will show a person’s true colors and motivations and you are far more likely to make that “right” hire.