6 Winning Interview Questions You Should Ask Job Candidates

By Robert Half December 17, 2014 at 8:00am

It's time to fill that vacancy on your administrative team and the pressure is on to find an professional who personifies the key qualities needed for the opening. Here are six interview questions that can give you insight into a candidate's skill level and demeanor in order to feel confident in your decision.

The interview is your chance as a hiring manager to connect the dots and determine whether a candidate is really qualified to do the job. No easy feat. The right questions can make all the difference, though, in helping you separate the contenders from the pretenders. And you don’t necessarily need to ask tough interview questions.

Here are six interview questions to ask candidates that can help:

1. What do you know about our company, and why do you want to work here?

You’d think with the easy access to information online today, most candidates would do their homework, but that’s not always the case. I once interviewed someone for a job at this staffing firm who didn’t have a clue what we did. Ask this interview question and you’ll find out quickly who is sincerely interested in working for you.

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2. What skills and strengths can you bring to this position?

Did the person just blindly apply to your opening or did they consider how they match your administrative professional needs? Applicants should be able to think critically about how their abilities will benefit your team.

3. Can you tell me about your current job?

This is a great interview question to evaluate communication skills, while gaining insights into an administrative professional’s background that goes beyond their resumes.

4. What could your current company do to be more successful?

This interview question can give you a sense of whether applicants see the big picture at their employers. It may also open up the floodgates to reveal why they really want to leave their current jobs.

5. Can you tell me about a time when you had a disagreement with a boss or colleague and how you handled the situation?

This is one of the more valuable interview questions to ask administrative professional candidates, because you’ll get a sense of their conflict resolution abilities, personality and potential for future problems. What tone do they use when talking about the other people involved? Were they able to handle the situation described appropriately? Did they find common ground? Emotional intelligence is a keenly needed in the administrative profession.

6. Do you have any questions for me?

If candidates have been paying attention during the discussion, they shouldn’t find this to be one of those infamous tough interview questions. In fact, we’ve even written about questions to ask in interviews before, so there’s no excuse for a blank stare in response.

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