The 3 Key Questions Employers Should Ask During an Interview

If you’re an employer, the interviewing process is a short but vital window in which to glean as much information as you can about a candidate. Your questions need to focus on what’s the most important as you make a hiring decision. As far as determining what’s “important,” an article published in 2014 on LinkedIn really summarizes it well. There are only three key questions you need answered by a candidate during an interview:

1. Do you have the skills, expertise and experience to perform the job?
This question has to do with ability (can you do the job?).

2. Are you enthusiastic and interested in the job and the company?
This question has to do with motivation (do you want to do this job?).

3. Will you fit into the team, culture and company?
This question has to do with suitability (will you fit in here?).

If you’re focusing on the information that’s important, all of your interview questions should point back to these three questions. An employee who meets these standards has all of the qualifications and potential you need.

There are different ways to approach this interviewing technique. We’ve put together some basic questions that can help point you in the right direction, broken into the three categories (note that the candidate’s responses may overlap as far as which category they fall into).

• Explain how your current skills will contribute to the position and this company’s mission.
• Tell me the story of your employment history (beyond the resume).
• Describe a time at work when you encountered a significant problem and solved it.

• Why are you interested in this position?
• What are your career goals and how will this position help you reach them?
• What is your proudest professional achievement?

• Why did you leave your previous employer/why are you considering leaving your current employer?
• Describe your ideal work environment, including the type of boss you would have.
• What would previous coworkers and supervisors say about your work ethic?

Another important question, related to all three categories is, “What questions do you have for us?” This is almost a no-brainer, but sometimes you can learn more about a candidate from the questions they ask you than from the questions you ask them. You may even consider asking this closer to the beginning of the interview so you can immediately know more about where they’re coming from.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it should give you enough information to sketch a good picture of your candidate. Once you’ve done a lot of interviews, you should grow more comfortable with tailoring questions to specific positions within your company.