4 Interview Questions to Find Your Perfect Candidate

The interview process is long, time-consuming, and expensive, and this is all before you even get to onboarding and training. Naturally, it makes a lot of sense to determine whether or not a candidate is the right fit before you bring them on, but knowing how to recruit the best talent is easier said than done. Luckily, we’re here with four questions to ask in the interview to help ensure the candidate will be a great fit for your team.

Can You Tell Me About a Time You Overcame a Professional Challenge?

Inquiring about a candidate's encounter with a professional challenge and how they navigated through it sheds light on more than just their problem-solving capabilities. 

Listen for:

  • Difficult situations
  • Capacity for innovation
  • Teamwork
  • Resilience

Encourage candidates to dive into the specifics of a situation where they found themselves at a crossroads. What was the challenge? What steps did they take to address the issue, and what was the outcome?

Look for stories that highlight a candidate’s ability to collaborate with others to overcome obstacles. This is an excellent indicator of their teamwork and communication skills. 

While it’s essential to hear about the successful resolution of a challenge, understanding a candidate's thought process, their approach to teamwork, and their ability to learn from experiences provides a comprehensive view of their problem-solving skills and resilience. This question, therefore, is not just about what they did, but how they did it and what they learned, offering a holistic view of the candidate’s professional maturity and potential fit within your team.

How Do You Prioritize Your Work When Dealing with Multiple Deadlines?

Navigating the challenge of multiple deadlines requires a strategic approach to work prioritization and time management. This question probes into a candidate's ability to efficiently organize their workload to ensure the timely completion of tasks without sacrificing quality. Effective prioritization is a skill that distinguishes high performers in any role, reflecting their capacity to discern what needs immediate attention and what can wait.

Candidates should ideally articulate a systematic approach to managing their responsibilities, possibly highlighting how they assess the urgency and importance of each task.

Listen for specific tools or techniques they use:

  • Digital planners
  • To-do lists
  • Project management software

Expect to hear about their capability to dynamically adjust their plans. In reality, priorities can shift unexpectedly, and the ability to remain flexible without losing focus is critical. Candidates who demonstrate an understanding of this dynamic, explaining how they recalibrate their priorities based on new information or directives, exhibit both resilience and adaptability—qualities that are invaluable in a fast-paced work environment.

This inquiry into prioritization methods is not solely about identifying those who can meet deadlines but also about finding candidates who approach their work with a strategic mindset, capable of navigating the complexities of modern work environments with agility and foresight.

Which Is Most Important: Money, Recognition, Challenge, Or Stability?

In the quest to uncover a candidate's intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, posing the question about their preference between money, recognition, challenge, or stability offers a deep dive into their core values and work ethic. This question is not merely about choosing one over the others; it’s about understanding the hierarchy of a candidate's professional desires and how these align with the goals and culture of your organization.


Candidates who prioritize money might be highly motivated by performance incentives and tangible rewards. This can indicate a strong drive to achieve and excel in roles where compensation correlates directly with results. However, it’s important to gauge whether this drive for financial reward aligns with the team dynamics and the overall compensation structure of your organization.


Those who value recognition are often driven by external validation and the need to be acknowledged for their contributions. Such candidates might thrive in environments where feedback and accolades are regularly given, indicating a culture that celebrates individual and team achievements might be a perfect fit.


Opting for the challenge as the most important factor suggests a candidate with a growth mindset, someone who seeks out opportunities for professional development and is invigorated by tackling new problems. This preference can signal a fit for roles that are dynamic and evolving, where innovation and adaptability are valued.


Lastly, candidates who choose stability typically seek job security and a predictable work environment. This can be indicative of individuals who value long-term planning and a steady pace, potentially aligning well with roles in established companies with clear structures and consistent workflows.

Engaging candidates in discussing these preferences can provide insights beyond surface-level job requirements, into how they might integrate and contribute to the fabric of your organization. It allows you to envision their potential longevity and satisfaction with the role, ensuring a mutual fit. This question, therefore, acts as a gateway to understanding a candidate's underlying motivations, setting the stage for a meaningful exploration of their fit within your team.

What Motivates You and How Do You Stay Motivated?

Uncovering a candidate’s sources of motivation and their strategies for maintaining it offers profound insights into their personality, work ethic, and potential for resilience in the face of challenges. 

Listen for:

  • Passion
  • Values
  • Milestones
  • Personal and Professional Growth

In exploring how candidates stay motivated, focus on their ability to self-regulate and adapt to changing circumstances. It’s insightful when a candidate discusses setting personal milestones or engaging in continuous learning as mechanisms to keep their motivation levels high. This might include pursuing relevant certifications, attending workshops, or dedicating time to read up on industry trends. These activities not only fuel their motivation but also signify a commitment to personal and professional growth.

By delving into the nuances of what motivates a candidate and their strategies for staying motivated, you gain valuable insights into their compatibility with the role and the organization, paving the way for a mutually beneficial partnership.

Read more blogs on interview tips below:

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