From a Recruiter’s Viewpoint Vol. 4

In this Issue:
The Nine Question, Twenty Minute Interview

For those candidates who get past the initial screening, an interview consisting of nine basic questions will allow you, the client, to gain a clear picture of whether or not the candidate is suitable for the position. Indications of a person’s character, drive and competence can be gleaned from listening carefully to their answers. When you put this information together with impressions of their personality, ability to express themselves, and social presentation, your odds for a successful hire will increase dramatically.

1. Of the jobs you have held, which one did you like best?

If their preference is for a job in no way related to the one you have to offer, you may have a problem only a short time after hiring them.

2. How did you get each of your positions?

Shows resourcefulness, loyalty, “stick-to-it-ive-ness”, and perhaps, dissatisfaction with a given position. It will also show career direction.

3. What are your short-range goals for the coming two years?

A definite plan allows the interviewer to see if their goals coincide with the position. A person without a plan lacks maturity.

4. If you could do anything in the world, what would you choose to do?

See how what the person “really” wants to do matches the job responsibilities you can offer them.

5. Why are you interested in our company? or alternatively, Why are you interested in leaving your present job?

This question is an attitude indicator. If they have researched your company, that is a sign of maturity. If the answer is “money,” watch out.

6. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your spare time?

Gives you a view of their outlook on life and their aptitudes. Competitive versus individual sports, family oriented interests, etc. all tell you a lot about the person.

7. What are your long range goals? Where do you want to be in ten years?

This answer can give you insight into the potential to be tapped, career consistency and potential frustration with lesser roles.

8. What are your major assets and major weaknesses?

One who can identify and correct their behavior has shown insight and thought in self-improvement. Well thought out assets indicate a person’s self-confidence and can help you assess whether their strengths can be fully utilized in the position you are offering.

9. How have you changed over the last five years?

Shows a person’s progress, both in their career and in their personal life. To see if their own assessment matches what you can offer them, follow-up with, “How would you like to change in the next five years?”


Beyond technical competency and previous experience, the ultimate decision making factor is the chemistry between the employee and the manager. This series of questions will allow you to see the potential fit between you and the candidate.

Next Issue:
How Best to Work With Your Recruiter

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