Why do recruiters ask these questions?


Whether you are on an interview for a job in accountancy, finance, IT or Construction, apart from the job specific questions you may expect questions that will enable a recruiter to know you better and find out if you are a good fit for a company and team.   


Today we asked Priority Placements Recruitment consultants to share their favourite non-job-specific interview questions and the reasons for that. Here’s what they have revealed:


“What is your greatest achievement and why?”

Joanna Binder – Sales & Marketing roles


My favourite question is “What is your greatest achievement and why?”

First of all, it takes a candidate into a good place: feeling of happiness and pride, they relax and open a bit, at least in most of the cases. Secondly, it allows them to elaborate on the way they achieve the success which tells a lot about what is important to them, how they organize their work and what their strengths are. And finally, it shows the candidates life view: whether their glass is half full, if they are motivated and can appreciate their own achievements.


“Your employee has a problem and is coming to you for an advice. How do you help them?”

Aneta Brigati – IT


If it’s an IT senior/team lead/management position I may ask a competency question, for example:

Your employee has a problem and is coming to you for an advice. How do you help them?

If he will just send him away to search help somewhere else or tell that he should know this – not good. Busy Manager? That’s normal but he should say: “if that can wait few minutes I will be with you in a 5” or something similar.

If he will just tell him an answer/what to do – better.

If he will ask what is the problem and say “let’s sit for a moment and we can solve this together” – the best. That means that he is a team player, he will guide his team and teach them to think, not only give them answers.


“What gets you up in the morning?”

Shane Collins - Accounting, Financial Services,Executive Search


I like “What gets you up in the morning?”

I find the answer gives a good insight into what motivates an individual, what is important to them, and their values.


“What would be the three things your current/previous manager would say about you?”

Dorothy Kavanagh - Accounting, Finance, HR & Office Support


I like using “What would be the three things your current/previous manager would say about you?”. It first of all gives a quick insight to their attention to detail (if they only give 2, lack of attention) and what kind of answers they would give in a client interview, if they do or don’t use examples to back up anything they may say. It also gives a good insight to how they got on in their last/current role and whether they can say themselves clearly.

A lot of people say hard working and attention to detail but unless they have a clear example of this it’s just something to say rather than a good interview answer which shows why the candidate is a good candidate and also the person for the job.


"Why are you interested in the job?"

Julian Chambers - Accounting, Financial Services, Executive Search


Employers want to feel you can fit in the company and its culture. It shows they have done research on the company and the job is exactly what they have been thinking about as a next step in their career. Employers want to see enthusiasm and a genuine interest in the role.


“What are your strengths/weaknesses?” and “Have you any questions for me?”

Lorcan McGeough - Construction, Engineering, Supply Chain & Procurement


I think that asking strengths and weaknesses offers a good insight into a candidate’s perspective. Not only their strengths and weaknesses, but also if they have followed up to make any improvements on their weaknesses. I like giving the candidate the opportunity to turn a weakness into a strength and see if they pick up on it.

I also find that asking “have you any questions for me?” is very useful. If they have questions, no matter how arbitrary or simple, you know that they are invested and have spent some time preparing for the interview.