4 Essential Interview Questions for Finding Your Ideal Hire 

The key to unlocking successful hiring lies in conducting interviews that reveal a candidate’s true potential and overall fit within the organization.

Beyond the typical questions, there is a treasure trove of inquiries that can uncover valuable insights. These are the best interview questions you can ask candidates for better hiring results.

General Interview Questions 

General interview questions are broader and can be asked across different industries. These questions are great conversation starters that help you understand a candidate’s background, career goals, work style, communication skills, self-awareness, and ability to articulate their thoughts and experiences effectively.

Here are some examples of the best general interview questions to ask candidates and why:

1. Tell me about yourself.

The candidate’s self-introduction often highlights their key strengths, achievements, and unique qualities. The response to this question can spark follow-up inquiries and discussion points, allowing you to delve deeper into specific areas of interest that other targeted questions may not cover.

2. Why are you interested in this position?

By asking why a candidate is interested in the position, you can gauge their level of enthusiasm and genuine interest in the opportunity. Candidates who express genuine interest in the position and clearly understand its requirements are more likely to be committed and engaged in their work.

By understanding why they are interested, you can assess their potential longevity in the role and their likelihood of staying within the organization for a significant period.

3. Why are you leaving your current employer?

Asking candidates why they are leaving their current job allows you to gain insights into their career aspirations, job satisfaction, work ethics, and priorities.

This allows you to gauge their expectations, work preferences, and factors contributing to their overall job fulfillment.

It can also help you determine if the position you’re offering helps them become more successful while enjoying their stay within the company.

4. What’s an accomplishment you’re proud of?

Candidates’ professional accomplishments can reveal their motivation, drive, and determination. Their ability to identify and discuss meaningful achievements mainly indicates their capacity to set goals, overcome challenges, and deliver results.

It allows candidates to showcase their strengths and demonstrate their unique capabilities. This, in turn, helps you evaluate their fit for the role, potential for success, and ability to contribute to the organization.

5. What do you know about this company?

A well-prepared candidate will often take the time to research the organization, its products or services, its industry, and its mission, vision, and values.

This allows you to gauge their level of preparedness and interest in the position. Their response can spark further discussions about their understanding of the industry, their thoughts on the company’s direction, or how their skills and experiences align with the organization’s goals. It also allows you to evaluate their:

  • Critical thinking skills.
  • Ability to connect their expertise to the company’s context.
  • Potential contributions they can make.

6. What are your long-term career goals?

Knowing a candidate’s long-term goals allows you to assess their potential for growth and advancement within the organization. It provides insights into their future potential and the possibility of them taking on more significant responsibilities.

This can help with succession planning and talent development initiatives within your company.

7. What’s your salary expectation?

If the exact salary can’t be posted for various reasons, at least include the salary range in the job description. If you have a predetermined compensation range for the position and it aligns with the candidate’s salary expectations, discussing this earlier in the process can help ensure alignment and prevent wasting time for both parties.

If the candidate’s salary expectations are significantly higher than the available budget, it may be more efficient to have this discussion later. If you’re open to negotiation and have some flexibility in terms of compensation, asking about salary expectations can provide an opportunity to discuss potential adjustments or additional benefits that may be offered to the candidate.

Pair Your Questions With Behavioral, Situational, and Technical Questions 

While general interview questions provide valuable insights, combining them with other question types provides a deeper perception of their capabilities, such as behavioral, situational, and technical questions.

This can help you comprehensively understand a candidate’s qualifications, skills, competencies, and overall suitability for the position.

1. Behavioral Interview Questions

These interview questions help you understand how candidates have handled specific situations in the past, giving you insights into their problem-solving abilities, decision-making skills, and interpersonal dynamics.

Asking About the Past 

The underlying principle behind behavioral questions is that past behavior is often a good predictor of future behavior. They help you assess a candidate’s fit for the role based on real-life experiences. Some examples include:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to meet a tight deadline.
  • Can you describe a situation when you had to deal with a difficult client or customer?
  • Share a time when you had to work with a co-worker who was not pulling their weight.

Dig Deeper 

Depending on the candidate’s initial response, you can dig deeper and ask follow-up questions to gather more insights. For example:

  • What were the specific steps you took to address the situation?
  • How did you handle any obstacles or challenges that arose during that time?
  • What did you learn from that experience, and how did you apply it to future situations?

2. Situational Interview Questions 

Situational interview questions help simulate real-world scenarios, allowing you to assess how candidates would approach specific challenges and make decisions on the job. Here are a few examples of situational questions:

Situation 1 

Imagine you have a tight deadline and multiple tasks to complete. How would you prioritize your work and ensure timely delivery?

Situation 2 

You receive negative feedback from a client about a product or service. How would you handle this feedback and address the client’s concerns?

Situation 3 

You are leading a team project, and one team member consistently falls behind schedule. How would you handle this situation to ensure project success?

3. Technical Interview Questions

Technical questions can be used to assess a candidate’s knowledge and skills in a specific technological domain relevant to the job they are applying for. Here are a few examples of technical questions for different fields:

Depending on the level of expertise required for the role, you can vary the complexity and depth of the technical questions. For entry-level positions, focus on foundational knowledge and basic concepts. For more senior or specialized roles, delve into advanced topics and expect more in-depth responses.

Software Development 

  • What is the difference between a class and an object in object-oriented programming?
  • How would you handle an exception in a Java program?
  • Can you explain the concept of code refactoring and its benefits?

Data Analysis 

  • What are the main steps involved in the data preprocessing phase of a machine learning project?
  • How would you handle missing values in a dataset?
  • Can you explain the concept of feature selection and its importance in predictive modeling?

Additional Tips for a Successful Job Interview Process 

In addition to asking the strategic interview questions, here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:

1. Create a comfortable environment.

Make the candidate feel at ease during the interview by creating a welcoming and professional environment. This includes providing a comfortable seating arrangement, offering refreshments if appropriate, and being friendly or attentive. If you’re meeting for a virtual interview, make sure you’re in a quiet space with minimal visual distractions.

2. Listen attentively.

Pay close attention to the candidate’s responses and actively listen to what they are saying.

  • Maintain eye contact
  • Nod to show understanding
  • Avoid distractions

3. Be consistent and fair.

Treat all candidates fairly and consistently throughout the interview process. Ask each candidate the same core questions to ensure a fair comparison and evaluation.

4. Take notes.

Document critical points and observations during the interview. This helps recall details later and make informed decisions during the candidate evaluation process.

5. Provide clear information about the next steps.

Before concluding the interview, let candidates know about the next steps in the hiring process and when they can expect to hear back from you. This helps manage expectations and keeps the candidates informed.

6. Give-and-take.

Remember that interviews should be a two-way street. Candidates will also likely have questions for you as an employer. Be prepared to provide information about the company, the role, growth opportunities, and any other relevant details to help candidates make an informed decision.


Embarking on the workplace transformation journey is no simple feat, but it all begins with the individuals you choose to hire.

As a nonprofit organization, Peak Performer‘s hiring process prioritizes individuals with disabilities and chronic medical conditions. We believe that disability knows no boundaries, and recruiting professionals with disabilities ensures a more inclusive workforce in today’s business landscape, where DEI has become a hot topic among organizations initiating to diversify and transform their workforce.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you build a diverse workforce.