10 most frequently asked questions by candidates and new employees

Malique Steenbrink
May 29, 2018
min read
Table of Contents
This blog post is not about the most frequently asked question from the HR side of the interview, but instead we’ll turn things around and look into the questions coming from the candidate’s perspective.

You ask, we answer?

In the current market, the roles sometimes seem to be reversed, making us wonder who is actually the 'candidate'? Questions go both ways, and candidates/employees come prepared with solid matters they want have clear before signing up with a new company. Questions like who you are, where did you go to school or what was your last job… Are becoming more and more passé.

Following up our previous discussion on the importance of the 'cultural fit', we now take a look at what makes a candidate consider a long-term relationship with your company - the future. Possible new colleagues look at the purpose, goals, way of working and the team. Do they see themselves working at your company and being happy for a long time?

Questions from the candidate

Not every target group has the same questions, therefore not every candidate has the same questions as well. But these next 10 questions are ones every person wants to have answered before saying 'YES' to a new job. Some of these questions have answers that should be given before the job interview. We’ll give you some tips on how to process those answers in your various platforms -  on the career site, the vacancy text, a video, a pre-hire app or in a conversation / chat with a colleague.

1. Who is your ideal candidate and to what extent do you see me in it?

This question is usually asked during the job interview, but there are many examples of companies that place an 'ideal candidate description' in the form of a 'must have' or 'nice to have' lists in the vacancy posting. Having a preliminary video call before being invited to a face-to-face interview is also becoming more popular.
Be as transparent as possible, also in this first phase, and show clearly when you are (or aren’t!) eligible for the job.

2. What is the reason that you are looking for a new colleague?

Are you looking to expand the team or to replace someone? Is it long term or is someone on temporarily leave? Be clear!
It is important for candidates to know why an organization is looking for new colleagues.
Have you grown explosively? For some people that could be an additional reason to consider your company. If someone is looking for a temporary (interim) position, seeing this detail immediately may give them an extra reason to respond. Indicate those things clearly and directly in the vacancy posting or let a colleague record a short video with such reasons and share it on social media.

3. What are the most important soft skills for this job?

Soft skills are often difficult to express when it comes to 'job requirements'. It is something you must experience from each other. Using certain tooling or learning patterns is not the same as how we communicate with each other and how one reacts in certain situations.
We are increasingly moving from 'who am I and what can I do' to 'how do I behave as ...'.
In my opinion, soft skills can be tested best with a specially designed assessment. From personality and learning ability to the 'mindset test'. This is often very important for the candidate, namely knowing ahead if and how they 'match' with the company culture.

Rituals Appical EN

4. What do you think is the best thing about working at your company?

A strange question? No not at all! 'Practice what you preach' is a given here. If someone in the company cannot explain why it is that she/he work there,
It shows that person has never took the time to think about this or they don’t really like their job or company so much.
If we assume that we are all committed to our jobs, it is also safe to assume we could talk about them passionately. Not being able to answer this question quickly and naturally can make the candidate think twice before joining the team. On your 'career site', advertise why colleagues like working for you. Be it with a testimonial, a video, a photo with a quote -  you name it! The possibilities are almost endless, you’ll just need some input and a candid story from the heart of your employee!

5. What is your main UPS (unique selling point) compared to the competition?

Every company has to deal with competition. As a new team member, it is therefore not surprising to ask what the UPS of the company is, but also what are those of the competitors. In that way you quickly know how are you different (and better) and what role will the new hire could play in this.
Display your UPS openly on your website, and make sure to mention what each team’s UPS is. The drafting of a persona, for example, helps a lot to make this clear, and to indicate why working with your organization is so much better compared to the competition. If you rather not have the UPS displayed on the website, you can opt to do present this in the pre- & onboarding phase through an app for example

6. What does my future team look like and what role do we have within the organization?

Aside from the content of a new job, it is just as important to know in which team someone will work. Do someone from the direct team joins for part of the job interview?
Too familiar, the candidate with their new team and role, include a team description in the vacancy description and use photos or a video to show what you’re all working on. As candidates will check out the company on social media, they also want to check out their possible new colleagues. Think about yourself - before going to a business meeting, how often do you check the person in advance via LinkedIn? To us, this is quite a similar situation. Think about what information you want to share during the recruitment procedure, and which will fit better during the pre- & onboarding parts.

7. How does a working day look like?

A good vacancy text is one, a clear job description is two, but that still leaves the candidate wondering - how exactly does a work day with you look like? The best way to learn this is from the teammates themselves. That is why it is highly important to include 'a day in a life' video when posting vacancies. A direct colleague who tells how he/she ended up at the company, why they like the work so much and what the milestones are within the team. Consider, for example, what would be a good a tip for a possible new colleague to determine whether or not to apply. In addition to the content-based video, mood-videos are a great tool for introducing the organization's’ culture.
Ask your employees about their daily routines, how and why the roll into work every morning and show your teams various background, both private and professional.

Achter de schermen recruitment NS

8. What do you do for the personal and/or professional growth of employees?

Growth opportunities within the company are important - don’t overlook them. Do you have, for example, an academy? Training programs? or any other permanent growth platforms, or does the employee have any influence on themselves? Does the employee have a personal training budget? Could they attend external courses? Show these significant 'perks' in your 'career site', in the vacancy posting or mention them in a video. This is useful information for all employees, but even more so for millennials. Various studies show that growth opportunities rank within the top 5 reasons for considering taking a new job.
Here you can read a good example of why YoungCapital now also wants to 'disrupt' the training market.

9. Can I already connect with colleagues before the application process?

This question can easily be covered by giving candidates the opportunity to chat with HR or with someone from their direct team. Don’t immediately think of a formal job interview, but rather of having a cup of coffee, a Skype conversation or an invitation for a meeting or an (in-house) event to get to know the company and potential colleagues. Candidates often want to talk about future projects, the tools and programs they will work with if flexible working is really ‘allowed’ and development opportunities. Other than formalities, candidates like to check the expectations and are curious about real stories from a current employee.

Appical vacancy Homerun
10. What are the biggest challenges the company is facing currently?

More than anything we do, the purpose is what matters the most. Success stories are great reads for (potential) new employees, but so are obstacles and challenges. What is going well? What do we want to achieve? Where do we think we need further reinforcement? Sharing this also provides insight into the added value a new colleague can bring in. Perhaps they will soon start a new project? Maybe they have that much to offer. So how to answer this question? Share a challenge in a question through social media, or create a quiz to gain new insights and show people that you are looking for new colleagues.

Moral of this story? Get under the skin of the candidate and your new colleagues a little more often. Dig deeper. Wonder what questions they have and how can you answer them in the earliest stage possible stage.

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