Recruitment Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

Recruiters will always endeavour to get the most out of their first face-to-face interview with candidates as this...

Which interview question teaches you the most about a candidate?

Recruiters will always endeavour to get the most out of their first face-to-face interview with candidates as this will help them assess the individual’s aptness for a role. And for this reason, recruitment consultants should consider the questions that they use to prompt candidates during an interview. Indeed.com explains that, because recruiters have time restrictions when interviewing, it is important to use time wisely and gather as much information as possible in a short time period. The site explains that these questions should be thought-provoking, provide plenty of room for explanation and give consultants an insight into the individuals cognitive reasoning. And this helps employers avoid the financial weight of a poor hire.

With this being the case, are there certain interview questions that recruiters should lean towards? Recruitment Grapevine ask some of the experts and they weigh in below…


Betty Encinales, Managing Director, BeCruit Recruitment

"The CV shows a lot but it is very important that the interview shows recruiters or interviewers whether the person is a good fit in terms of personality and experience. The ‘tell me about your best and worst days at work’ question can tell you a lot about candidates. I love that question because I think it gives them a good space to describe why they perceived one day a good day; whether this was because they sold a product, they achieved a project or because they had a fun day at work with colleagues. Also, if it’s a bad day, it will give the recruiter a good idea of what makes them upset and frustrated. The question will show recruiters the candidate’s personality and what makes them tick."

“The ‘tell me about your best and worst days at work’ question can tell you a lot about candidates”

“We are trying to differentiate this question (by asking what their line manager would say) because their line manager may not necessarily be their reference”


Dan Hawes, Co-Founder and Director, Graduate Recruitment Bureau

“What we’re hoping for is an honest answer, because people are very well rehearsed for lots of interview questions these days, so you have to be clever and come up with searching questions that make people stop in their tracks. One way to get people to give you the best information rather than the information that you want to hear is to ask them something along the lines of “if we spoke to your line manager, how would they describe you?” We are trying to differentiate this question [by asking what their line manager would say] because their line manager may not necessarily be their reference. We are trying to make candidates think that we will actually follow through with it so that they will tell the truth.”


Will Grashoff, Managing Director at OX Seven

“The question I use frequently is: “What is your current work situation?” On the face of it, this seems like an extremely simple and slightly vague question – however positioned at the beginning of a call after the pleasantries works extremely well. I’m looking for the candidate to open up to me, without me leading them down a particular path. It tests the candidate’s ability to form a coherent series of events and tell a story, without me having to prompt them. If a candidate gives a very short, direct answer such as “Working as a marketing manager at the moment”, without going in to specifics, it tells me about their personality and how well they can communicate when put on the spot. It also enables me to identify possible coaching requirements should they get to interview stage (as this question is certainly not a defining factor on competency for a role). However, I do want the candidate to open up to me and talk about their current role, what they enjoy/don’t enjoy, how they got there and why they are looking to leave. Having the ability to think on their feet and structure engaging answers is a useful skill. I don’t believe in asking ‘trick’ or ‘loaded’ questions, so something simple and direct has always worked very well for me.”

“ I’m looking for the candidate to open up to me, without me leading them down a particular path”