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10 Essential Questions Every Hiring Manager Should Ask During an Interview

As a hiring manager or recruiter, your primary goal is to determine the best possible fit for your organization's open positions. The interview is a crucial step in this process, providing a valuable opportunity to delve deeper into a candidate's skills, experiences, and personality. This post outlines ten essential questions you should ask to ensure you're thoroughly evaluating potential hires.

1. Can you describe a situation where you faced a significant challenge at work and how you handled it?

This question allows candidates to showcase their problem-solving skills and how they react under pressure. Their answers can provide insights into their ability to think critically and adapt to challenging situations.

2. How do you handle feedback and criticism?

Understanding how a candidate handles criticism and feedback can offer a glimpse into their emotional intelligence and their ability to grow and learn within your organization.

3. What motivated you to apply for this position?

A candidate's motivation for applying can tell you a lot about their passion for the role and their alignment with your company's values and objectives.

4. Can you tell me about a time when you took the initiative to improve a process or approach at work?

This question reveals a candidate's proactivity, their innovative thinking, and their potential to drive improvement within your organization.

5. How do you prioritize your work when faced with multiple urgent tasks?

This question is designed to evaluate a candidate's time management and organizational skills.

6. How have you handled a disagreement with a team member in the past?

Conflict resolution skills are critical in almost every role. This question allows you to assess a candidate's ability to navigate interpersonal relationships and work effectively within a team.

7. Can you describe a significant achievement in your career and what made it meaningful to you?

This question gives candidates the opportunity to share their proudest moments, shedding light on their career motivations and what they consider essential for success.

8. What are the first three things you’d do if you got this position?

The response to this question can demonstrate a candidate's strategic thinking skills and their understanding of the role.

9. Can you tell me about a time you failed at something and how you handled it?

How a candidate handles failure can be just as important as how they handle success. This question can reveal their resilience, adaptability, and willingness to learn from their mistakes.

10. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Although it's a common question, it can provide valuable insights into a candidate's ambition, career goals, and whether they envision a future with your company.


The interview process is an opportunity to dig beneath the surface of a candidate's resume. By asking these essential questions, recruiters and hiring managers can gain a deeper understanding of each candidate's skills, experiences, and potential fit within their organization.

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