Beyond Resumes and Qualifications: The Ultimate Guide to Interviewing for Candidate Abilities

To get a good sense of a candidate's abilities, hiring managers need to ask more than just standard questions about their resume experience and qualifications.

This guide breaks down eight categories of questions that managers can use to get insights into different aspects of a candidate's background and personality. The categories include things like technical abilities, culture fit, and hobbies, and each one has specific questions designed to help managers understand if the candidate will perform well in the role and fit into the company culture.

It's important to note that hiring managers don't need to ask every single question in each category. Instead, they can pick and choose the ones that are most relevant to the specific job and company. By tailoring the questions to the organization's needs, managers can get a better understanding of each candidate and make an informed decision about who to hire. So, whether you're a seasoned hiring manager or new to the process, this guide can help you ask the right questions and find the best person for the job.

Role Competencies:

Asking candidates to briefly walk through their experience and about their last job are essential in assessing the candidate's background, experience, and skills. The following questions can help evaluate a candidate's qualifications:

  • Can you walk me through your experience?
  • What are some of the roles you have held in the past?
  • Can you describe your most recent job?
  • What were your key responsibilities in your last role?
  • Can you share some of your major accomplishments in your previous positions?
  • What did you find most challenging about your previous job?

Culture Fit:

Assessing a candidate's motivation, communication style, work preferences, and management approach can help determine their fit for the organization's culture and the job role. The following questions can help identify potential issues affecting the candidate's job performance:

  • Why do you want to work for our company? What are your expectations?
  • Let's talk about communication. What do you think are the keys to being a good communicator?
  • What activities energize and excite you?
  • What motivates you to work every day?
  • Walk me through your perfect workday.
  • What stresses you out?
  • Tell me about how you direct and support less experienced staff and/or others around you.

Past + Next Steps:

Asking about a candidate's motivations, job satisfaction, expectations, why they left their last job, why they should be hired, and their current compensation package can provide insight into their motivations, job satisfaction, and expectations. The following questions can help determine if the candidate is a good fit for the company culture and values:

  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Is there anything that would prevent you from starting a new position within a reasonable notice period?
  • Please walk me through your current compensation package (Base Salary, Bonus, Stock options, benefits)

Technical Abilities:

Questions related to a candidate's technical capabilities, industry knowledge, the future of the business, media buying, lead generation platforms, and competitors can reveal their potential to contribute to the organization. Understanding their experience with relevant tools, technologies, and processes provides insight into their ability to quickly ramp up and start contributing to the team. Similarly, asking about the future of the business, media buying, lead generation platforms, and competitors can reveal a candidate's industry awareness and strategic thinking abilities.

  • What tools, technologies, or processes have you worked with in the past that are relevant to this role?
  • How do you keep up to date with the latest industry developments and trends?
  • What are some of the biggest challenges facing our industry and how would you approach them?
  • How do you stay on top of lead generation platforms and tactics?
  • What are your thoughts on our current competitors? How do you think we can gain an advantage over them?

Know Yourself:

Questions that assess a candidate's personal qualities, self-awareness, and motivation can help determine their cultural fit and ability to work well with others. These questions provide insight into their problem-solving skills and ability to learn and grow in the role. Additionally, understanding their aspirations and definition of success can help determine if their goals align with the organization's mission and values, making these questions just as important as technical skills and experience.

  • What is your biggest strength and how have you used it in the past?
  • Tell me about a time when you received feedback that challenged you. How did you respond?
  • How do you approach difficult conversations or situations?
  • What motivates you to do your best work?
  • What are your long-term career goals?
  • How do you handle mistakes or failures in your work?

Self-Directed / Effective:

Questions that assess a candidate's ability to work independently, handle stress, and navigate change are important in determining their self-directed/effective competencies. By asking about their approach to supervision and strategies for avoiding burnout, hiring managers can gain insight into their work style and compatibility with the company's culture. Additionally, questions about overcoming obstacles and setbacks can demonstrate problem-solving skills and adaptability, with effective candidates providing examples of how they faced challenges in the past and overcame them, demonstrating resilience and determination.

  • How do you manage competing priorities and deadlines in your work?
  • Describe a time when you had to adjust your work style to meet a specific goal or deadline.
  • What strategies have you used to stay focused and productive while working remotely?
  • How do you approach conflict or challenging situations with coworkers?
  • What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in your work and how did you overcome them?
  • How do you prioritize tasks and projects to ensure that deadlines are met?

Analytical/Decision Making:

Asking about a candidate's past work experience can provide valuable insight into their problem-solving skills and decision-making style. Questions like "What task or project do you believe you excelled at in your last position and why?" can reveal their strengths and areas of expertise. Similarly, asking about a situation where they had to make a complex decision or analyze a large amount of data can demonstrate their ability to handle challenging tasks and think critically. Additionally, understanding the types of decisions they make rapidly and those that take more time can provide insight into their work style and approach to problem-solving.

  • Tell me about a time when you had to analyze a large amount of data. How did you approach it?
  • What task or project do you believe you excelled at in your last position and why?
  • Can you walk me through your decision-making process when faced with a difficult choice?
  • What kind of decisions do you prefer to make quickly versus those that require more time and consideration?
  • Describe a situation where you had to make a difficult or unpopular decision. How did you handle it?

Balance/Hobbies (Ordering Loves):

Asking about a candidate's hobbies, interests, and passions can provide insight into their personality, work-life balance, and potential cultural fit for the organization. Passionate employees are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work, making it essential to assess whether a candidate has a genuine interest in the role and the organization. Knowing about a candidate's outside interests can also help create a more comfortable and conversational atmosphere during the interview, allowing the interviewer to get to know the candidate better and identify commonalities. Ultimately, these questions can provide a more holistic view of the candidate and their fit for the organization.

  • Tell me about your favorite hobbies and interests outside of work.
  • What do you like to do for fun?
  • What types of books or movies do you enjoy?
  • Do you have any travel plans coming up?
  • How do you prioritize your personal life with your professional life?
  • What are your long-term career aspirations, and how do they align with your personal goals and interests?

Take your talent acquisition and recruitment efforts from routine to remarkable with TalentSum 360. For more information on how TalentSum 360 can unlock the full potential of your talent function, get in touch with our team today.

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