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CHEAT Questions That Uncover

SHEET Who A Candidate Really Is

By opening up a conversation about a deeper story — beyond the job opportunity at hand — you
can build a case as to how the candidate’s story does or does not mesh with your organization’s
culture. Here are questions to ask to evaluate culture as well as skill fit.

1 How did you get into this role?

Why Ask This Question?

Open-ended questions like this one offer insight into the ‘why’ of someone’s professional
value proposition.

2 What makes you excited about your job again after a tough day?

Why Ask This Question?

Everyone has tough days: this question prompts the candidate to explain how he or she gets
through them, and hopefully still delivers on his or her mandate.

3 Who has had the greatest influence on the way you do your job now?

Why Ask This Question?

Surfacing a candidate’s most powerful influences helps provide some valuable context about
the source of their inner drive.
Cheat Sheet Questions That Uncover Who a Candidate Really Is

4 If you had to design your perfect next role, what would that look like?

Why Ask This Question?

In an interview, a candidate is likely to characterize the role they’re interviewing for as their
perfect next role, but by paying attention to the specific aspects of the job they highlight,
you can identify the aspect of the job that appeals to them most and determine if that works
for your organization.

5 What makes you the best choice for this opportunity versus the other
people with whom I am speaking?

Why Ask This Question?

Prompting a candidate to offer a clear value proposition statement helps clarify if this person
really is or isn’t the right one for this role.

6 Where do you go or what do you do when — in the middle of the


workday — you need to decompress from stress?

Why Ask This Question?

Managing stress amid the swirl of work activity can be challenging for some people.
How they articulate their destressing solutions illuminates a candidate’s abilities (or
inabilities) to manage stress. This can be particularly important for high-pressure roles.
Cheat Sheet Questions That Uncover Who a Candidate Really Is

7 How do you handle a situation where a teammate isn’t holding up his


or her end of a group project?

Why Ask This Question?

This question gives you insight into a candidate’s first instinct. Pay close attention to
whether they say they would meet with that teammate in person to look for solutions or
whether they say they would contact their manager. Then determine if their response
aligns with your team values.

8 Where do you access information when the Internet is down?

Why Ask This Question?

A think-on-your feet question like this can elicit a variety of interesting, even light-hearted
responses, all of which can tilt the conversation in new and creative directions.

9 How do you help make the company money?

Why Ask This Question?

Whether the position is for a sales role with a clear path to revenue or for an administrative
assistant whose supporting cast role only indirectly impacts revenue, every job pays for itself
in some way. How the candidate connects the dots articulates to the interviewer whether
they understand how their performance and the company’s financial goals intersect.