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Are you asking the right interview questions?

You have just finished interviewing a qualified candidate for a senior level job opening that you’ve been trying to fill for months, but you’re still not sure if the candidate is “the one”. You find yourself mulling over the decision for a few days post-interview and thinking more about the candidate’s answers to your standard interview questions. Did you ask the right questions? Were you able to learn enough about the candidate? Will the candidate fit into the company culture?


Don’t worry, you are not alone. In fact, many hiring managers with these interviewing challenges, especially when it comes to senior level positions. These positions tend to be more difficult to fill because the interview involves assessing hard to evaluate traits such as learning style and ability, leadership style, work ethic, and cultural fit. These ‘soft’ skills are just as important as their technical qualifications when it comes to selecting the right candidate.

How to prepare the right questions to ask:

Adding behavioral questions are key. The thought behind behavioral based questions is that past performance is the best predictor of future performance. Be careful to avoid questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Focus on questions that will allow the candidate to discuss their prior experiences, successes, motivations, and learning opportunities. This will give you a clear idea of their communication style, direct experience, decision making and provide more information about their soft skills.

Examples include: “Tell me about a situation when you had a client that was interested in your product, but would not agree to the terms and conditions; how did you handle it?” or “Walk me through a time when you rolled out a new initiative, the steps you took from start to finish, along with how you handled any pushback from stakeholders?”

Finish the interview with more information than you need so you can make the best hiring decision. When the interview is completed you want to make sure you have a strong idea of what type of employee they will be, their work and communication style, their aptitude to learn and whether they will be a good fit in your organization.


If you believe the candidate is a good fit, but you are not ready to make a hiring decision, with their permission, check references with at least two prior supervisors and learn more about them through their feedback and perspective. Ask questions about the employee’s preferred management style, motivation, opportunities for growth and improvement and what advice they would pass to you to ensure the candidate would be happy, thrive and be successful in their new role if offered the position.

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