If you’re like most hiring managers, you ask questions during an interview to gain insight into an applicant’s thought processes, communication style, experience, and skill level. Their answers are key factors you use along with other information to make good hiring decisions. Clearly, the questions you ask are critical.

But what about questions candidates ask you during the interview? What clues do they offer about the candidate’s work ethic, personality, and communication style, and how do those clues help you make the best hiring decisions for your team?

First off, it’s important to recognize the difference between a candidate who is actively seeking an employment change and one who is only mildly interested in learning about your opportunity. It will impact the questions you ask as well as the ones they ask you. (See posts about passive candidates because they require a different approach.)

Generally, an active candidate who does not ask questions during an interview reveals a lack of preparation that could indicate limited commitment or work ethic. Also, the appropriateness of certain types of questions depends on the candidate’s phase in the process. Knowing when to ask them (or when not to) can show a candidate’s ability to exercise good judgment and make good decisions. For instance, candidate questions about compensation and benefits typically do not belong in the early interview phase. Questions about the role, however, are appropriate at any phase and indicate a candidate’s focus and interest in the opportunity.

Candidates who ask questions about management structure, advancement opportunities, and policies for escalating problems, demonstrate a direct communication style and assertive personality—no wall flowers here. Candidates who probe into company vision, market share, and plans for future growth take a broader perspective—a strength for many roles requiring a big-picture approach. Candidates who ask specific questions about technologies and processes indicate an attention to detail that can be vital for certain types of roles.

As your recruiting partner, JCSI assists you in benchmarking your ideal candidate profile and developing prescreening questions to determine experience, competencies, communication skills, and attitude, so we send you applicants who meet your requirements. This information is a vital part of the process, but it does not eliminate the critical role interviews play in making good hiring decisions. The questions candidates ask you offer another tool for gaining valuable insight into your applicants. As part of its consultative talent acquisition services, JCSI can help your hiring managers develop their interview skills, so they can better discern who will be the best fit for the role and the team.

For more information about how JCSI can help your team refine its interviewing skills, contact us at https://www.jcsi.net/contact-us.