Kavaliro Blog


Help! What Do I Ask in an Interview? | Advice for Hiring Managers

Interviewing sounds like a simple process in theory. A candidate and a hiring manager sit down to have a discussion about the candidate’s experience, the job they’re being considered for, and then they ask each other questions to fill in the details. This helps to see if it’s a good fit on both sides. Easy, right? But what are those questions that help illuminate everything in between? Over our next series of blogs we are going to try and help provide an answer to: "What do I ask in an interview?"

This blog is specifically dedicated to hiring managers and focuses on what to ask to uncover the personality and soft skills of the candidate.

What do I ask in an interview?

Kavaliro is an expert in interviewing. Our team of recruiters, IT professionals, HR managers and account managers complete hundreds of interviews each week. When hiring internally for our team, we prefer to start over the phone with our internal recruiter and then complete additional interviews in person with the manager and team members. We spoke with a handful of our senior managers to ask them some of their favorite questions to ask in an interview and why. Each question is thoughtful in its' own way and opens the door to learning a lot about the candidate.

Motivation +/-

Almost unanimously listed as the best interview question was: “What motivates you?” All managers want to know about what motivates a candidate both positively and negatively. Asking about motivators “allows the interviewer to determine what motivates the candidate in their everyday lives and a slight insight into the character of the candidate based on their response, assisting in assessing culture fit,” said Andrew Johnson, Director of Recruiting in our Charlotte, NC branch.

Other versions of the motivation question are:

“Tell me about a time in the last week when you’ve been satisfied, energized and felt ultra-productive at work, what were you doing?”

“What makes you angry?”

“What career/academic accomplishment are you most proud of?”

Jessica Hixson, Director of Recruiting in our Jacksonville, FL branch, explained her logic. “I seek individuals who carry a sense of pride in their work and beam from wins (no matter how big or small). This cultivates a more driven, successful work environment with a positive influence that is contagious to a team.”

Emotional Intelligence

Almost every job in the world involves dealing with co-workers, bosses or direct reports. A candidate’s emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills are paramount to their success with any company. At Kavaliro, this is one of our greatest priorities. Tim Harrington, Managing Director- West, oversees a team in Sonoma County California; he explains further…

“I’m a huge fan of asking questions that puts the candidate on the spot to be brutally honest about where they thrive, how they deal with conflict and what motivates them, while also showing whether or not they have empathy, which is a core element of emotional intelligence.”

When asking these types of questions, there are not really right or wrong answers, the interviewer just needs to be listening for how they answer the questions.

“Did you create friendships that lasted while working at your previous job? Tell me about that.”

“Who is the best manager you’ve ever had, why?”

“What characteristics do you take away from how you grew up? Your family, your community, your friends”

“Why should we hire you, as opposed to another candidate with the same exact skills?”

To see more interview questions, keep an eye out for future blogs in this series! If you are a hiring manager in need of more assistance, feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation.

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