ABC’s of Hiring #29 – For Hiring Managers: The Only Interview Guidelines You’ll Ever Need

For Hiring Managers: The Only Interview Guidelines You’ll Ever Need

Interviewing skills are crucially important to the hiring process. Every hiring manager needs to be trained to select the best people for the job at hand. Mistakes can be costly.


Below is a comprehensive list of exceptional questions to make the process easier.


Review their resume


  • What are your responsibilities?
    • How does their experience relate to your job requirements?
  • Why have you changed jobs in the past?
    • What motivated them to make each move?
  • What have you accomplished in each position/company you have worked for?
    • Can they quantify their impact and understand where it is reflected in the P&L?
  • How would you characterize your style of management?
    • Would that style be effective in your company?
  • Ask about any breaks in employment or things that look unusual on the resume.
    • Can they provide a logical explanation?


What is your current boss’ title and what are their duties?


  • Candidates tend to be factual about their boss’ duties and cannot then exaggerate their own duties if asked this question early.


Tell me about the people you hired in your last job. How long did they stay? How did they work out?


  • This will give insight into the candidate’s hiring capabilities as well as management style and competence.
  • Probing is proper to discover exceptionally strong or weak performance.


What do you consider the single most noteworthy accomplishment in your present job?


  • This question allows a candidate to substantiate the details of an impressive resume.
  • It also lets you see through a smoke and mirror resume.
  • Lastly, it allows you to identify a sleeper candidate that might otherwise be missed.


What do you think it takes for someone to be successful in this business?


  • While this is an indirect way of asking about the candidate’s strength and weaknesses, it also shows whether they have an understanding of what is required to be successful.
  • Probe the response for how the candidate measures up to their own expectations.


What specific things did you do in your last job to improve your effectiveness?


  • This question lets you see the candidate’s motivation and willingness to excel.


Tell me how you make important decisions.


  • This provides insight into how the candidate will perform on the job.


What are some of the things your present company might have done to be more successful?


  • A perceptive answer to this question indicates a candidate with strategic vision who takes a comprehensive view of their job.
  • A candidate who struggles with this question shows a lack of depth.


When you are under pressure to get something done, how do you get the people around you to help?


  • This provides insight into their management style and allows you to assess the potential cultural fit with your organization.


What can you tell me about our company?


  • This is another way of asking why you want to work for us.
  • It also reflects positively or negatively on the candidate depending on whether or not they have done their homework.


What risks did you take in your last job, and what was the result of taking those risks?

  • This question tends to separate the run-of-the-mill candidate from those who possess outstanding managerial talents.
  • Highly successful people tend to take more risks than average individuals and can readily articulate the details.


Think about something you consider a failure in your business life, and tell me why you think it occurred.


  • You are looking for big failures, as people who set high goals and objectives also have big failures to match.
  • Less lofty failures tend to coincide with a risk-adverse manager.


If I were to talk with people you’ve worked for, what would they likely say about you?


  • People, who are good, know they are good.
  • People who shrug their shoulders have a low level of self-awareness.
  • This also provides the basis for comparing the candidate’s self-perception with their references’ opinions.


Ask the candidate to identify the 3 or 4 things about their current job that — if they had the power and authority to change them — they would change to create the perfect job for themselves.


  • The answer to this provides key insight into their motivation to make a change, their value system, their priorities and their likely cultural fit in your organization.
  • Probe for specificity and clarity.


Are there any restrictions, circumstances or conditions that would prevent you from changing employers, relocating as required, working extended hours or traveling?


  • This question avoids legal issues regarding disabilities, marital status and other potentially inappropriate discriminatory questions.
  • The answer tends to provide insight into any issues that will need to be resolved before a successful hire can be achieved and avoids surprises later in the process.


How are you currently compensated?


  • Salary establishes the value of the candidate in the marketplace.
  • Make sure to include bonus, commission, stock options, car allowance and any other financial benefits the candidate is paid.
  • Ask when they are due for their next merit increase.



The purpose of the interview is to get to know the person in depth as quickly as possible. Asking the right questions minimizes the risks of hiring the wrong person or relying on your gut feel. There are three critical questions that must be answered after the interview:

  • Do they possess the skills necessary to do the job?
  • Do they have the required experience to perform well in the job?
  • Does their management style and value system show a cultural fit to your company?


This guideline provides the right questions to ask to optimize your efforts in making a successful hire.


Bob Harrington Associates has been in the executive search business for 20 years and can help you find the best people for your business.


Best Regards,


Bob Harrington CPC
Bob Harrington Associates






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