Recruiting & Hiring Blog for HR Professionals

6 High-Impact Interview Questions for the Most Qualified Candidates


Does your interview process push candidates to effectively showcase their abilities? If top candidates are often turning down your job offers, it could be because you’re not challenging them enough during the hiring process, including your interview questions.

“Top candidates routinely dislike standard interviews because they find them tedious and predictable,” says Dr. John Sullivan on “Most interviews are simply not designed to allow a top candidate to show off their capabilities, ideas and innovativeness.”

For exceptional candidates in particular, your interview questions should be focused on determining how a candidate will perform at your company, as opposed to historical situations. You need to know how they're going to perform, how they work and how they’ll be able to tackle strategic problems within your organization.

If you're interviewing top candidates for a high-level position, you need to be sure you're hiring the very best. You need to know how they're going to perform, how they work and how they’ll be able to tackle strategic problems within the organization.

To get you started, here are six high-impact interview questions you can ask top candidates: 

1. How will you identify problems and opportunities on the job?

To get this insight, your interview questions should allow top candidates to demonstrate how they will solve the problems they will face in the role at your company.

2. What trends do you foresee for our industry in the next three to five years? How do you anticipate businesses to change as a result?

If you’re in a fast-paced industry, employees will need to be able to anticipate changes and evolve just as quickly. Ask questions about the candidate’s ability to foresee trends or changes in the industry to gauge forward-thinking abilities.

3. What are your strongest capabilities that make you a top performer?

The standard interview question, “What are your biggest strengths?” may be fairly predictable for some job seekers, but asking them to identify why they’re the very best can push them to differentiate themselves even further. 

4. What steps would you take to become an expert in an area you’re unfamiliar with? Inquire about a candidate’s ability to learn and pick up new subject areas quickly—this will also help you determine if the candidate can adapt to new work environment and business processes.

5. Based on what you know about your company/department/team, what changes would you make if you were in charge? 

Top performers likely have the skills, drive and ability to help drive your business forward. They may also be able to pick up on inefficiencies, potential issues and problems that could be holding your business back. And for someone who you might hire for a leadership position, you need to be able to determine if he or she has the skills to identify and solve real problems.

6. If you were to start tomorrow, what would your plan of attack be for the first 90 days? If you’re interviewing a top performer or trying to fill a high-level position, you can bet a lot will be expected of these candidates once they are in the role. You may need them to start contributing as quickly as possible. To give you confidence in their abilities to get up and running, ask about the steps the candidate would take to be successful early on in the position.

In the eBook, “100 Interview Questions You Didn’t Think to Ask,” we share even more high-impact interview questions you could ask your most qualified candidates. Click here to download the eBook and access more questions you could use to get valuable insight on your candidates—ultimately helping you make the best hiring decision for your business.

Free Download: Interviewing Job Applicants: 100 Questions You Didn't Think to Aslk

Topics: Hiring Process, qualified candidates, interview questions

This is disclaimer text. We’ve shared these tips to help educate you on social media employment screenings and considerations for your business — this information should not be construed as legal advice. But if your company chooses to screen applicants on social media or want to explore the topic even further, consult with an attorney for advice related to this screening tactic.

Photo credit: photographer via website

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