Interviews are the most important tool for judging the potential worth of a candidate. Asking the wrong questions – and failing to ask the right ones – may mean you miss out on the ideal addition to your team.

Why are you the right person for the job?

This is a fantastic question because it allows candidates to answer however they see fit, providing an insight into their personality and working style. Some may provide a list of qualities and tell you how they fit the position, whilst others may concentrate on passion for the industry. Consider how their answer fits in with your current team and your business goals as a whole.

What do you know about our company?

Candidates that display knowledge about your company show more prepared. Good preparation skills are essential to any job and reveal discipline and realism. If a candidate hasn’t bothered to find out about your organisation, your strategic goals or your products and services, do you really want them working for your team?

What are your biggest weaknesses?

This is an interesting question; be prepared for a wide range of answers. The content is less important than the candidate’s willingness to accept their imperfections and commit to either improving or working around them. If the candidate doesn’t address how they deal with their weaknesses, don’t be afraid to follow up. People that find it hard to address their own weaknesses in business may find it hard to adapt to the company’s values and ideals.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Candidates with strong professional aspirations often display drive and enthusiasm that can really benefit your business. Look for candidates that have a good working knowledge of the industry and can identify relevant opportunities that may relate to their own careers. You can also follow up and ask for their ten-year plans, or even drop it down and ask for the next two to three years. Again, the content is less important than their direction, motivation and ability to identify opportunities.

What do you like to do in your free time?

When hiring employees it’s important to consider their place in your team. Will they fit in socially, or will they clash with current members? Finding out what candidates do in their free time can help you decide whether they will integrate successfully with your current team. Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions about why they do what they do – many interviewers are understandably stoic, but this does not help them get to know a candidate.

Do you have any questions about the position or our company?

This is a great leading question that allows candidates to find out relevant information; they may ask where you see the company in five years, how you feel the industry is changing or why you’re recruiting for the role. You’re looking for engagement and interest.