Find the Right Fit

Working for a large organization allowed me to participate in many functions of the business, sometimes even outside my traditional job responsibilities.  While my position was not focused on recruiting, I soon discovered that I really enjoyed interviewing and selecting talent for our team. Regularly participating in the interview experience taught me that it’s just as important for a candidate to feel he/she is making the right choice as it is for the organization to hire wisely.  After all, accepting a position is a mutual choice.  With this in mind, we’re sharing some questions we find helpful in interviews – For both interviewers as well as candidates.

For the interviewer:

  • You have, no doubt, studied our web site.  Given what you have read and researched about us, give us your first impressions about our company.  What drew you to apply to ______?
  • You worked at ____ for ___ years.  What is an example of work you were particularly proud of?
  • When you think back over your work history, what are some of the daily activities that you most enjoyed – Those activities you felt excited about, engaged with, etc.? Similarly, in every job there are activities that we do because they’re part of the position, but if we could avoid them, we would.  What are some examples of daily activities you wouldn’t mind avoiding?
  • Tell me about one of your best days at work.
  • This is a position that values (creativity, innovation, problem-solving, thinking on your feet, etc.).  Tell me how you’ve applied (creativity, innovation, problem-solving, thinking on your feet, etc.) to a positive end result.
  • Our associates do not see each other everyday.  Given this distance and separation, what are your suggestions for developing a tight and cohesive team?
  • Change is an integral part of our work and mission.  Talk about your own attitude toward change and give us an example when you managed change well.
  • How would previous work associates describe you as a communicator?  If you were to immediately change one area of your communication style, what would you change?
  • Our associates are expected to learn quickly.  How do you like to learn?
  • Talk about someone who, for you, epitomizes the characteristics of an effective leader.
  • How do you manage stress?
  • What do you need to receive from a company to feel set up for success?

For the candidate:

  • What kind of a person succeeds in this organization? In this particular role?
  • Please explain your onboarding process. What’s in place?
  • I value professional feedback.  Can you tell me more about how I’d receive feedback as part of the first year?
  • Tell me about a recent project you feel was particularly successful.
  • What’s on the horizon for this organization/team/department?  What are some of your future goals?
  • What are the current challenges facing this organization/department/team?
  • If you offer employee satisfaction surveys, where do employees give the company high marks? Where do they indicate areas for improvement?
  • Tell me about how you offer ongoing professional development for your associates.
  • Open and thorough communication is always a challenge for companies.  How do you keep the lines of communication open within teams and departments here at __________.
  • Can you help me understand how much of my time would be spent working with others?  Independently?
  • How many projects at a time do you typically give to your associates?
  • Who are the key partners you work closely with outside this department and organization?
  • What is this team’s/department’s/organization’s philosophy about work/life balance?

Early in my career when I was interviewing for positions, my mom gave me a good piece of advice. She asked, “Can you picture how you’d spend your time?  What would your days would be like?”  Making a professional move, in any case, requires a leap of faith.  But, the interview process, for both interviewers and candidates, is your greatest opportunity to have honest conversation to determine the right fit – For both of you.


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