40 Questions You Should Be Able to Answer About Your Hiring Process

Before a job candidate becomes an employee, there are questions they should be asking you, their potential employer.

Some are questions they’d actually pose to you. Others, like #35, are rhetorical questions they’ll ask themselves.

The more questions you can answer throughout this process, the more successful the employee will be.

The First 10 Questions

We begin with a set of very high-level questions one would ask when trying to decide whether they want to join a particular company:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you make/sell?
  3. Why should I work there?
  4. What is the corporate culture like?
  5. What kinds of people work there?
  6. What skills are necessary for success?
  7. How competitive is your total compensation package?
  8. What is your company’s reputation, and are you an ethical company?
  9. Where are you located?
  10. What will having you on my resume mean for me in the future?

The Second Set

The next 10 represent questions one might ask if they’re interested:

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  1. How can I learn more?
  2. Where can I find your financial data?
  3. Where are you located? Where can I find your open jobs?
  4. How do I navigate your website?
  5. Where can I hear from current employees?
  6. What current corporate-wide initiatives are taking place?
  7. Have you dealt with any major shake-ups, scandals, litigation, etc.?
  8. How is your organization set up (reporting structure)?
  9. What is this company most proud of? What is their heritage?
  10. Who is your customer?

The Third Set

These questions ask very specific questions about your company’s interviewing process:

  1. How do I bid on a job?
  2. What kind of interviews do you conduct?
  3. How do I get to the facility? Where do I stay?
  4. How much detail can I find in your brochures/website?
  5. How can I get more detail about the topics that interest me?
  6. How much information do you require from me, and when do you want it?
  7. Where can I find detailed benefits information?
  8. How will you compensate me for leaving my current situation?
  9. How competitive is your relocation package?
  10. Who in your company knows I’m interviewing? Is this job search on the radar screen of senior leaders?

The Fourth Set

The remaining questions represent the hesitation so many job-seekers feel upon recalling past recruitment horror stories:

  1. When will I hear back?
  2. How many interviews will I have? How many return trips?
  3. What will drive my compensation package? Will you be flexible or tell me “That’s what it pays, take it or leave it”?
  4. If this isn’t a fit, will you respect me by telling me in person?
  5. Will your background process treat me with dignity?
  6. How long will it take to get my reimbursement?
  7. Will you value my time?
  8. Will you pressure me into a decision?
  9. Did you only introduce me to people you thought I’d like?
  10. Will I feel like you respected me at the end of the process?

Believe it or not, I’ve got 60 more questions (all 100 will be in your November Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership). Those 60 questions cover the onboarding process, how an employee can add value once hired, how they can prosper as leaders, how they can leave their mark on the organization, and how they can attract more great employees.

Answering the 40 questions above, however, should keep you plenty busy for the time being!

He started his career as a research chemist in the laboratory. Now, Michael Kannisto has tried to apply a similarly disciplined and science-based approach to the fields of recruiting and talent management. His long-term interests include employment branding, multiple generations in the workforce, and using Six-Sigma methodology to improve recruitment outcomes.

His current passion is the development and use of mathematical models to predict future staffing and development needs (a remarkably more accurate form of “workforce planning” than what is traditionally employed). Call it predictive modeling, call it “big data” ... but the information sitting in your HRMS right now has the potential to change the way you think about talent forever.


5 Comments on “40 Questions You Should Be Able to Answer About Your Hiring Process

  1. Hi Dr. Kannisto,

    I read your article with interest. I must say that I agree with most, but disagree with a few of your questions. Numbers 1, 2, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, and 23 are, in my humble opinion, the responsibility of the candidate. The prepared candidate will have conducted research on the firm they are interviewing with. While number 8 can go either way (and I will cede the point that it is good to hear what the representative of the firm will say), this is information that is obtained through the process of discovery by the candidate. While I make every effort to provide directions to the firm, it is easily gotten via a google or yahoo map search.

    There are tools available that make finding information about a firm easy. Vault, Hoovers, and D&B are great tools for researching a firm.

    My concern is that we are doing too much for candidates, and should expect some initiative on their part.

    I welcome all thoughts on this topic.


    Steve Guine

  2. I tend to agree to a certain extent. When I am recruiting I try to learn everything I can about the client and their culture so I am informed. I am just a very thorough person.

    We were always taught to research the company before hand etc. However, today’s society is the ‘me, me, me generation’ thus we tend to spoon feed them everything. It is ‘what can you do for me’ for the younger client. So we provide them everything just as they for the most part have been provided everything their whole lives.

  3. This list is a good start, but how you arrive at the answers may determine your success. For example, if you ask HR, a manager and a co-worker to all answer the questions about the job, you are likely to get different results. The key is to synthesize the answers into a pattern that is most likely to find a successful candidate. Using a tool like the Predictive Index PRO you can build an effective consensus.

    Steve Waterhouse

  4. Good article, good questions, and good replies, especially by Steve. For whatever reason, the final 10 questions turned mostly to closed-ended questions, instead of open-ended.

    The biggest issue I see is not whether a person CAN answer these questions, but WILL they answer these questions. Most HM’s and HR people tend to volunteer little info, and try to wrap up the interview shortly after their questions are answered, which has generally been the proper interview model. However, the really great interviewers today realize that they must incorporate discussion about themselves, the company, and the job in order to create more interest for the most outstanding candidates. Great candidates have many choices, and interviewers who fail to court the best candidates, and fully answer all concerns they may have, will not be hiring the best candidates.

  5. Thanks Jim,

    One of the issues that any interview presents is that of the mask worn by the candidate. Most of us adjust out behavior in some way and are often least like ourselves normal in an interview. This is why you hire a person and then wonder where the person you interviewed went! Studies have shown that few of us are capable of seeing through the mask on our own.

    Using a behavioral assessment tool gives you additional insight that might only have been gained after months of working with a person. It can open up a line of questions that can get to the heart of ‘job fit’. Tools like the Predictive Index and others can even show you how the person you are interviewing differs from the person inside.

    Most of us who represent these tools are happy to let you try them. If you do, you may find that the effectiveness of your interviewing improves dramatically.

    Steve Waterhouse

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