Mergers & Acquisitions Advisory

A Neumann & Associates, LLC

July 3, 2018

Interview Questions to Really Find Out About Your Candidate

By Achim Neumann

When recruiting, there are many companies who prefer to rely more heavily on the history, experience and references of a candidate, rather than their interview technique. Such an approach is easy to understand given the fact that some poor candidates can shine in an interview situation whereas a genius could struggle with a social situation which requires them to talk about themselves. Interviews however do form a very important part of hiring new team members and there are some questions which you should be asking that will tell you all you need to know about the type of person they are. A team is a perfect blend of characters, and through asking the following questions, you can get right to the heart of the person before you.

Why Are You Here?

Many will ask things like “What makes you want to work for us?” but a more direct and pertinent question would be to ask why they are here. The question implies the journey that the candidate has taken prior to sitting here for the job, be it positive or negative, it is also slightly accusatory which immediately puts the candidate in either attack or defend mode. Questions like these are far better when trying to draw the person out, rather than asking a question like their motivation for working with you, a question which does nothing more than invite plaudits about the company.

Are You Able To Tell Me A Joke?

Some recruitment experts suggest that as an ice breaker, you should ask your candidate to tell you a joke, and it works very effectively. Three outcomes will arrive from this question, the first being that they say no, they can’t, the second would be that they can, and the third would be that they can’t, but they will try anyway. The key is to look at the situational awareness of the candidate and push them to a point where they may feel uncomfortable, to see how they react.

Tell Me About What You Do In Your Free Time?

You probably already know everything about the candidate from a work and educational perspective, so this is your chance to dig a bit deeper into their personality. Asking about someone’s free time gives you a window into their life, which you can then use to make an analysis on their suitability for the job. The more quirky or exciting the pastimes of your candidate, the more creative and potentially well rounded they could be to you.

Could a Giraffe Beat a Tiger in a Fight?

Curveballs like this one really prod the candidate and puts them in a position where they may not feel all too comfortable. At first they may think the question is a trick and that they shouldn’t answer, then they may jump to a conclusion, but it is those who delve deeper into the question that you should be looking out for. A simple question like this may sound humorous but the way in which it is answered can tell you a lot about their problem solving abilities.

Don’t stick to the same formula during interviews, scratch beneath the surface and get creative to really see what a person is like.

About A Neumann & Associates, LLC

A Neumann & Associates, LLC is a professional mergers & acquisitions and business brokerage firm having assisted business owners and buyers in the business valuation and business transfer process through its affiliations for the past 30 years. With an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, the company has senior trusted professionals with a deep knowledge based in multiple field offices along the East Coast and has performed hundreds of business valuations in its history. The firm’s competitive transaction fees are based on successfully completing transactions. For more information, please contact A Neumann & Associates at 732-872-6777 or

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“I had been in touch with Karin and Gary from A Neumann & Associates regarding some opportunities and was looking forward to meeting with them. Hence, when they organized a seminar in Princeton, NJ, I was quick to sign up. The seminar was very informative as the team walked the attendees through various scenarios and referenced real life buying/selling situations they had been through. The sessions by Gary, Karin and Achim were crisp and focused and brought clarity to potential seller and buyers. I strongly recommend the team and look forward to continue working with them.”

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