Talent Acquisition

What’s the Number One Interview Question to Ask?

We all have one. That killer question that nobody else has thought of. The one that will tell you everything you need to know about that candidate. The one you wished you were asked when you were being interviewed. There are some that will stay with you forever and you hope your candidates will too.

We’ve asked our panel of recruitment experts their one interview question they never fail to ask.

Leela Srinivasan

I love to ask candidates, “Tell me about the last piece of constructive feedback you received, and what you did as a result.” It helps me understand the candidate’s opportunities to improve that their boss or co-workers have identified in the past. It exposes their humility and self-awareness (or, sometimes their lack of it). It gives me a window into how they generally process negative feedback and approach self-improvement. If they choose something too far back in the past, I ask them to give me another, more recent example. We should all constantly be learning from our mistakes.

Leela Srinivasan, Chief Marketing Officer at Lever.

Amy Volas

What are you seeing in the market that excites you/why and on the flip side of the coin what’s happening in the industry that concerns you/why?


Amy Volas is Chieftain of Avenue Talent Partners.

Lars Schmidt

“What’s the best part of your job?” It’s a simple question, but the answers can really illuminate a candidate’s drivers and shed light on things traditional interview questions might not. Understanding what’s important to candidates will help you gauge how your opportunity aligns with their value drivers and things that make them happy

Lars Schmidt is the Founder of Amplify.

Chad MacRae

Recently, I’ve been asking: What makes you laugh? The question lightens the mood, and it helps me assess the fit with the hiring manager and team.


Chad MacRae is the Founder of Recruiting Social.

Stacy Zapar

My favorite interview question is one I always ask and encourage my hiring team to ask as well. At the end of each interview (phone and in-person), I ask “Is there anything additional that didn’t come up today that you think would be helpful for me to know?” You’ll be amazed at the information you gather. Relevant project work, competing offer deadlines, background check concerns, visa issues, awards and achievements, etc. The open nature of the question allows all sorts of information to come out that will help you make a much more informed decision. It’s also great for candidate experience because no one will leave the interview feeling that there was something important that was left unsaid. Try it and let me know how it turns out for you!​

Stacy is the Founder of Tenfold & The Talent Agency.

John Feldmann

“If chosen for this position, how will you evaluate your own success?” If the candidate’s answer focuses on continuous learning, contributing in a team environment or adding to the company’s bottom line, it’s a good sign. If their answer involves salary or promotions, it’s an indicator that they’re less concerned with what they can contribute, but rather what the company can do for them. Even if their priorities are salary and promotions, they should at least be clever enough to emphasize different priorities for the interview.

John Feldmann is a writer for Insperity Recruiting Services.

Maren Hogan

“Why do you want to work here?” You already have all the technical details about their skills, experience, background, etc. from the resume. Dig into what interested them to come to you. Was it money? Perks? Culture? Were they inspired by your mission or did they hear what a great place it is to work? These details will let you know they’ve done the research and actually want to work for you because they saw something they like, not just because there was a slot open

Maren Hogan is CEO and Founder of Red Branch Media.

Craig Fisher

“Why would you want to work with me?”.  Anyone can research a company.  But a shrewd candidate will equally research the interviewer.  Business is about relationships.


Craig Fisher is Head of Employer Brand, CA Technologies, and Allegis Global Solutions.

Erin Wilson

What do you want? Just like that. I have spoken to more than 20,000 job seekers in my career. Almost 100% of those conversations started with this question. I believe the only thing that matters is what you (the jobseeker) wants. As we proceed and you perhaps have other interview activity, my job is to advocate for you yes but above all support the best decision for your career whether that is my organization or another. In order to objectively guide you, I need to know what you want — at the core.

Erin Wilson is Founder and Talent Engineer at

Will Staney

The best interview question to ask is one I have asked many times before, “Is it better to be perfect and late or good and on time?” The idea behind this question is to understand someone’s motive and if they’re paralyzed by perfection or if they understand when good is enough. You can always tweak something to make it better, but at some point you have to pull the trigger and ship whatever it is your building out.

Will is the Founder & Principal Consultant at Proactive Talent Strategies.

By Ushma Mistry

Editor & Content Strategist at Link Humans, download our new eBook now: Measuring Employer Brand: The Ultimate Guide and check out our latest product The Employer Brand Index.