The Not-So-Known Interview Questions Every Hiring Manager Should Ask

The job market can feel like you’re navigating the ocean without a map. With the impression that the odds are stacked against you to find excellent talent to build your team, the role of a hiring manager has never been more critical. Identifying and attracting top talent requires not just a thorough understanding of the job requirements but also an insight into the candidates' motivations, aspirations, and cultural fit. We’re about to make your next interview with a potential candidate the best one yet. Staffing professionals like those here at Ascendo know how to go deep into the “why” questions that are invaluable during interviews. We’ll also divulge additional questions that can be used as complements to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the candidate's profile. Through this practice, hiring managers will gain the tools necessary to make informed hiring decisions that align with their company’s goals and culture. Trust us when we say its not always about how you ask a question its about what you’re asking for?

The Power of Understanding Motivation

Asking a candidate why they are seeking a new opportunity does more than just scratch the surface of their job-seeking journey. It opens a window into their professional desires, expectations, and, most importantly, their motivations. This question allows the hiring manager to really know whether the candidate's reasons for leaving their current role are proactive, such as seeking growth or new challenges, or reactive, such as escaping a negative work environment. Understanding this motivation is necessary for determining whether the candidate will thrive in the new role and contribute positively to the company culture.

Here's a list of questions you should ask your next potential candidate to get to know their motivations:

  1. What drives you to get up and go to work every day? This question helps understand what basic motivations keep the candidate engaged and productive.

  2. Can you describe a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career? The response will highlight what the candidate values in their work and what they strive to achieve.

  3. What made you apply for this position? This question directly addresses the candidate's reasons for considering the role and can reveal whether they've done their research and are genuinely interested in what your company offers.

  4. How do you define success in your career? Understanding a candidate's personal definition of success can help you determine whether it aligns with the role's objectives and the company's values.

  5. What learning opportunities are you looking for in your next role? This seeks to understand the candidate's drive for personal and professional development.

Aligning with Company Goals and Culture

A candidate's answer to why they are seeking new opportunities can immediately signal their potential alignment with the company's objectives and values. For instance, a candidate motivated by continuous learning and growth is likely to thrive in an organization that values development and offers ample opportunities for advancement. Conversely, a candidate primarily motivated by salary might not be the best fit for a role where reward comes through recognition and career progression rather than financial incentives alone. This alignment—or lack thereof—can be a decisive factor in the hiring process.

Ask these questions to know if your potential candidate is a match with your company culture.

  1. What's your preferred work style? Are you more of a team player or an independent worker? Compatibility with your company's collaborative culture or the need for autonomy in certain roles can be gauged through this question.

  2. How do you stay updated with industry trends and continue your professional development? A candidate's commitment to learning and growth shows if they're likely to contribute to innovation and continuous improvement within your company.

  3. What aspects of our company culture attracted you to this position? This question tests whether the candidate has done their research and genuinely resonates with your company's values and mission.
  1. Can you share an example of how you've handled feedback or criticism in the past? Understanding a candidate's receptiveness to feedback and ability to adapt based on it is crucial for a culture that values continuous improvement and personal growth.
  1. What do you believe are the most important values a team or company should have? The candidate's answer will highlight their core values and if they match with your company's ethos.

Insight into Career Aspirations

Beyond motivations, career aspiration questions shed a light on the candidate's future career goals and ambitions. It invites them to articulate how they see the role fitting into their broader professional journey. This insight can help the hiring manager evaluate whether the position will fulfill the candidate's expectations and how their career goals can contribute to the company's long-term success. It's an opportunity to gauge ambition, commitment, and whether the candidate has a realistic understanding of the role's potential for growth and development.

Here are several thought out questions that can help you gain information into a candidate's professional ambitions and future plans:

  1. What are your long-term career goals, and how do you plan to achieve them? This question helps gauge the candidate's ambition, foresight, and whether they have a realistic plan for their professional future.

  2. Where do you see yourself in five years? Asking about a specific timeframe encourages candidates to share concrete goals and shows how they envision their career progression.

  3. What skills or experiences are you looking to gain in your next role? This question reveals what the candidate is prioritizing in their career development and how they wish to grow professionally.

Additional Key Questions for Hiring Managers

To complement the insights gained from understanding a candidate's motivations, career aspirations and compatibility with the company, here are several other questions that can help you as the hiring manager build a fuller picture of the candidate's suitability for the role:

  1. How do you prioritize your work? Understanding a candidate's approach to task management can indicate their organizational skills and ability to meet deadlines.

  2. What do you expect from your manager? This question can uncover the candidate's preferred management style and whether it aligns with the company's leadership approach.

Making an Informed Hiring Decision

The information collected from these questions, especially when combined with the nuggets of information from asking about their reasons for seeking a new opportunity, provides a 360 view of the candidate's professional profile. It enables you as the hiring manager to make more informed decisions, not just about the candidate's ability to perform the job today but also their potential for growth and contribution to the company in the long run.

During the search for the ideal candidate, hiring managers have a plethora of tools at their disposal, but few are as revealing and multifaceted as the questions we laid out. This inquiry, alongside other strategic questions, offers a deep dive into the candidate's motivations, aspirations, and potential fit within the company. By carefully evaluating the responses, you can significantly enhance the hiring process, ensuring that you not only fill the position but also enrich the team and company culture. As the job market continues to evolve, the ability to discern the nuanced motivations and aspirations of candidates will remain a cornerstone of effective hiring.

Need help finding top talent? Connect with us here at Ascendo to get on the fast track to finding your next hire!


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