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5 Interview questions that work for any role


The world’s most high profile recruiters, including James Caan and the hiring team at software giant Hubspot, regularly share the interview questions that have worked best for them.

These questions are designed to be role-agnostic, so you can use them in any executive recruitment scenario. The other great thing about these questions is that there are no right or wrong answers; they’re designed to reveal something important about the candidate.

Here’s a selection of the world’s best interview questions for you to try out for yourself.

Who would be your ideal boss?

This question is formulated to give an insight into how the candidate likes to work, whether they thrive on pressure and how they like to interact.

If I called your previous boss and asked them what one thing irritated them most about you, what do you think it would be?

It’s hard to get a candidate to do genuine self-reflection in an interview as they’ll be anxious to make a good impression. By bringing in an absent third party and inviting the candidate to speculate, you give them an opportunity to be more honest than they might have been comfortable with and you might get some interesting examples of how they improved.

How will you transform this role?

This one reveals a candidate’s appetite for convention-breaking. Most candidates will have prepared responses for how they will fulfil a role, and the competency based questions asked earlier will also glean a lot of the ‘hows’, but this takes it a step further.

What is one professional experience you would not wish to repeat?

Understanding a candidate’s anxieties and dislikes is a good way to determine cultural fit and their chances of success. Most candidates will turn this into an exercise in self-praise, but if you pay careful attention to the examples they give, you can determine a lot about their character.

Is it better for a project to be perfect and late, or good and on time?

An absolute killer question. Neither response is correct, but again this will help determine cultural fit. It’s also a good way for certain industries (for example, finance, law and health) to spot candidates with a high appetite for risk, something which isn’t always a benefit.

Tool: Workable’s Executive recruitment interview question template provides a framework for creating questions that are relevant for your business, but that dig deep into the important characteristics executives need to have.

This is an exert from the Executive Recruitment Toolkit. Download your FREE copy today for more pro-tips and hiring hacks that make the recruitment process simpler, less expensive and faster.