Interview Questions You Should ALWAYS Ask

For today’s blog post, the M3 team decided to put together a list of some of our favorite interview questions to ask to candidates. Whether we are interviewing for a CEO or a Customer Service Representative, these are the questions we rely on to really understand who our candidates are.

We always suggest developing questions based on the candidate, the position and the company but these are questions you should be asking every candidate no matter what you are interviewing for. We’ll explain why below.

Why are you looking to leave your current position or why did your last position end? Their answer can tell you A LOT and this is a question that can either reveal a red flag or a rockstar. Are they looking to leave because they don’t get along with their manager? Are they badmouthing their current company? Pay attention to the answer – the last thing you want is to hire someone who might turn around and bad mouth your organization. If they have left under suspicious circumstances or their story isn’t adding up, be sure to ask if they would be willing to provide a reference to confirm their reasons for leaving.

When was the last time in your career that you felt fulfilled and excited to come to work? What were you doing? Want to find out what motivates the candidate? Ask this question. Not only does it give them an opportunity to talk about something they love, but it helps you to understand how they might fit into your organization. Were they an HR Manager that loved working with benefits, but didn’t love employee relations so much? This tells you a lot about the type of position that they would excel in with your company.

Can you tell me about a time you took on a task outside of your job description? How did this come about and what was the outcome? If a candidate is really struggling to come up with an example or flat out says they aren’t willing to take on anything outside of their explicitly assigned tasks, this could be an issue. It tells you they may not be a team player or aren’t willing to learn new things or go outside of their comfort zone. In business, nothing is ever completely black and white – at times employees may have to help out in other areas. If you come across a candidate who can provide great examples, this signals potential for growth and commitment to the success of their company. If they volunteered to take on something new, even better!

If your current company counter offered, would you consider it? A candidate certainly has the right to entertain a counter offer from their current company, but it is best if you know before hand that you might run into this. That way you can continue your interviews with other candidates and if your top choice ends up accepting a counter offer, you’re not back at square one.

Tell me about your greatest accomplishment in your current position. What was the impact to the company? Give the candidate an opportunity to show off. We very often run into exceptional candidates who just don’t know how to brag about themselves. Sometimes these candidates are the ones with the greatest accomplishments, from cost savings to making processes more efficient.

Can you tell me about the size and scope of your work? This is important especially if the position you are looking to fill is on a larger scale. Let’s say you need to hire someone to manage payroll for 3000 employees. This is drastically different than someone managing payroll for a smaller group of 50 employees. This becomes a factor especially when looking at financial positions when you consider budget sizes, revenue and reporting. This is not to say someone from a smaller company background can’t do the job – it is just good to know so you can be aware of where the learning curve might be and prepare.

Can you walk me through each one of your career moves? Career progression is critical to cover in an interview and the reasons for leaving one company to go to the next can be telling. Remember, what you see on the resume is not always what it seems. Were they recruited out of their company because they were successful and well known in their industry? Did they want to leave a large corporation to follow their passion to work at a not for profit? Were they a successful IT Manager that had to take an entry level position to get back into the workforce after spending time raising a family? Sometimes the career progression has a larger story to tell and it is important to give your candidates an opportunity to share.

Looking for a basic list of interview questions? Email us at and we would be happy to share our basics with you. 

Questions? Our Talent Acquisition team is always here to help with any hiring related questions or respond to your comments. Contact us at (315) 624-2210 to learn more! 

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