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5 questions to ask an interviewee



As you progress through your engineering career you may one day find yourself on the other side of the interview table. You’ll be the one asking the questions. But what should you ask? Ensuring you cover all aspects of a candidate’s experience and qualifications as well as figuring out if they will be a good fit for your team is a real challenge. But asking these 5 questions can make solving that challenge much easier…
Which of your skills makes you the most qualified for this job?

1. Which of your skills makes you the most qualified for this job?

To even have gotten their foot through the door, it’s likely your candidate has already provided evidence that they have the necessary qualifications and certifications that they need to do the job. But by asking them to explain their skillsets in depth and highlighting which of these they see as their key strength will reveal whether or not they have the appropriate understanding of everything the job entails. For example, if they highlight a skill that’s impressive – but completely irrelevant to the job you’re interviewing them for – then that’s a serious indicator that they’re not on the same page as you about the major duties of the job (which can lead to problems further down the line).
What is the professional achievement you are most proud of?

2. What is the professional achievement you are most proud of?

There’s the old saying that you’re only as good as your last job, but asking a candidate what they consider to be their career highlight can give you an excellent insight into where their strengths lie, and how they may perceive the job that they are applying for. This question also has the benefit of being a positive one. It offers the candidate the opportunity to expand upon and talk about something they are proud of, therefore boosting their confidence and helping them to settle their nerves for the remainder of the interview.
What is your working style?

3. What is your working style?

Whilst you don’t necessarily want to build a team in which everyone behaves the same way, you also don’t want to add a new team member who works in a radically different way to everyone else. So, it’s important that you ask the candidate about their working style. Do they prefer to work independently or is team collaboration a key part of their working method? Do they perform well with a lot of direction or do they perform better under their own self-direction? 

Establishing these preferences during the interview stage will help you gain a better understanding not just of if they are a good fit for the job, but for the wider team too.
If you got the job, what would be the first thing you would tackle?

4. If you got the job, what would be the first thing you would tackle?

First of all, this question will help evaluate whether the candidate really does have a clear understanding of the position they will be responsible for. If they say they would prioritise a task that is only a peripheral or irrelevant part of the job, then this should raise some red flags. Alternatively, if they say they would first tackle something which is a core part of the job, then you can have confidence that they have grasped the essential parts of the role. 

This question will enable both yourself and the candidate to expand beyond the generalities of the position and gain an insight into how the candidate would perform in practice rather than just theory. This is a question which is particularly useful to ask during later interview rounds when you are having to choose between the final candidates.
What excites you most about this job opportunity?

5. What excites you most about this job opportunity?

There’s a reason that the phrase ‘hire for attitude, train for skill’ is so well known. It’s because it tends to work! Asking the candidate what excites them most about the job opportunity is a crucial way of gauging their enthusiasm for the job. A high level of enthusiasm will generally translate into excellent work and greater levels of longevity with your company. If you want to expand upon this question, considering asking the candidate what initially attracted them to the position? Why did they apply? What makes them most excited about the prospect of working there?

Not only will you gain a clearer understanding of how engaged the candidate would be as an employee, but you’ll also gain an insight into what aspects of the job most interest them- helping you to define and set future goals and performance metrics.

Do you want to be the one asking the interview questions?

This is by no means a complete list of questions to ask interviewees, but we hope it provides a good starting point to thinking about what information and insights you want to gain from interviewing a candidate.

If you’re not already in a position to be the one asking the interview questions, then why not consider a new job? Explore Fircroft’s comprehensive range of technical and engineering job vacancies today!
Recent Comments
Wow! I have never learnt another dimension to it, interesting
Ukandu Precious, 13 July 2019
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