The Best Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

As a Communication Coach, there are a few common questions I am asked. One of the most frequent is, “What are the best interview questions to ask candidates”?  Today, we’ll dive into the best interview questions and the meaning behind their power.

The first step in the hiring process is to make a list of the non-negotiables you are looking for in a new team member.  If you need inspiration, make a list of the organization’s core values.

Here are some examples of common workplace values:

Integrity: Acting with honesty and professionalism, and respecting company policies.

Collaboration: Working with colleagues and teams to meet joint goals.

Accountability: Taking responsibility for actions and decisions both in team and individual projects.

Social responsibility: Integrating social and environmental solutions to business operations.

Innovation: Implementing new ideas to improve the business.

Customer orientation: Maximizing and maintaining customer satisfaction.

During your hiring process, values-based interview questions will help you understand:

  • Whether candidates’ priorities align with your goals
  • What candidates prioritize in the workplace
  • What drives their behaviors at work (we ALWAYS ask for candidates to complete a DISC behavior assessment as part of the interview process)

Below is a comprehensive list of the best interview questions to uncover a candidate’s values:

  • Have you ever faced an ethical dilemma at work? If so, what was the issue and what did you do to resolve the situation?
    • The answer will tell you if the candidate is trustworthy and respectful of company policy.
  • If tomorrow was your last day on Earth, how would you spend it?
    • Understanding how you would spend your final hours offers valuable insight into a person’s core values.
  • Describe a situation where you were facing a technical issue and your normal troubleshooting method wasn’t working. What did you do?
    • This will tell you how innovative the candidate may be and if they are able to implement new ideas.
  • To date, what has been your proudest accomplishment at work?
    • Do they refer to a solo-mission or a team effort? This will tell you if they have a collaborative mindset.
  • What would your co-workers say is the best / worst thing about working with you?
    • Their answer will show you the level of arrogance in the candidate.
  • How would you rate your ability to take direction from others?  Share a time when it was difficult for you and how you handled it.
    • Accountability comes in all forms and taking direction from others is necessary in a team environment.

Just as important as knowing what interview questions to ask a candidate, you should also know the red flags.  Here are the most common red flags:

  • They can’t support their arguments. During job interviews, most candidates will claim they are “good team players” or having a “strong work ethic.” But if they can’t give you examples that prove these values, they might be simply floating buzzwords to impress you.
  • Their values don’t match the position’s requirements. Employees with an out-of-the-box way of thinking might be great fits for a product development or marketing team that seeks to engage new customers. But, they’ll likely be hard to retain in a process-driven company or team.
  • They seem inflexible. New hires could (try to) adjust to your way of working, as long as they’re willing to do so. If, however, they have strong opinions that don’t match your core values, that’s a red flag for your future collaboration.
  • They show signs of arrogance. Being negative toward criticism and/or demonstrating a bossy attitude are indicators of people who prioritize their own values over others’. These people mightn’t comply with your company policies in the long run and end up creating a toxic work environment.

If you would like more interviewing tips or need more interview questions to ask candidates, let us know.  We are always happy to help!

To learn more about how to improve your team culture, contact me today at or 214-755-0955.  For more information about our Team Culture Camp programs, visit

About the Author…

Tracy Civick is a speaker, author, and coach who focuses on strengthening corporate culture, empowering teams to practice effective communication, and creating profitable workplace environments.  With over a decade of team development experience creating unity, compassion, and success, Tracy has a passion for teaching individuals how to elevate themselves both personally and professionally. 

Published by Team Culture Works

We teach teams how to use DISC COMMUNICATION tools to improve communication, eliminate gossip at work, and increase productivity.

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