14 Candidate Questions

  By Anonymous  |    Tuesday June 27, 2012

Category: Recruiting


How many times has your heart been broken by a candidate that looked good at first and then fizzled as the interview process got rolling? This article provides a template for you or your staff to examine and review when evaluating people. It’s a tool for reducing the amount of time that you waste in pursuing candidates that will ultimately not get hired. These 14 items are things to look for with everyone that you evaluate.

  1. Does the candidate have the skills necessary for the job you are recruiting for? If he does have the skills, are they current or were they used several years ago?
  2. Has the candidate stayed at companies for a reasonable amount of time (2-4 years) or has she jumped around every year? If she has jumped around, does she have valid reasons for doing so?
  3. Has she been at her current company for too long (6+ years)? If so, she may be very resistant to actually leaving (even if she says otherwise).
  4. Has the candidate been a contractor much of the time? If you’re looking for a contractor this is fine but if you’re looking for a permanent employee this could be a snag.
  5. Is the candidate local? Local is always better. Some companies may pay for relocation but more things can fall through with an out of state candidate.
  6. What about his personality and communication skills? Does he have a weak presentation style? Does he sound confident or like a mouse? Do you trust what he is saying or does something sound fishy? Does he speak with pride or does he put you to sleep? Does he sound arrogant? For some highly technical positions it may not matter as much but generally this is a very important area.
  7. Is this a position that will be a step up for her? If not, you need to understand why she would go to a company for a step down or sideways.
  8. Has the candidate worked for quality companies? You can guess that she has some quality skills if she has worked for Oracle, Microsoft, Xerox etc.
  9. Does he have a valid reason for leaving (more responsibilities, not able to expand his skills, unstable company) or is it a questionable reason (“I’m always looking”, “more money”)? Without a valid “wound”, he will be easily swayed when it comes time to walk into his boss’s office and say, "I quit".
  10. How much total industry experience does she have? If the person has the title of “Director” but graduated from college 3 years ago, that’s a flag.
  11. Has the person worked in a similar industry and company size compared with the position you are recruiting for? This is not so important with some technical positions because the skills often transfer between industries. But if you are looking for a Controller for a large law firm, someone who has been a Controller with a small manufacturing company may not be a fit.
  12. Does the person have relevant certifications (CPA, MCSE etc.) for the position?
  13. Are her salary expectations reasonable?
  14. Is the candidate willing to make a decision on an offer with in 24 hours of receiving it?

Having the right answers to any single question above does not necessarily mean the person is a fit and the wrong answer does not necessarily mean the person is not a fit. These questions, when combined, will give you valuable information about a candidate’s marketability. You will save yourself from an acid stomach at the end of a search by soberly assessing a candidate’s skills and interests at the front end of the process.

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