Two Interview Questions For Every Candidate

Posted: November 29, 2015

There’s a title that stopped us right in our tracks – Two Interview Questions For Every Candidate. Only two?

Of course there are many questions you need to ask your potential employees. This article from LinkedIn Pulse defines the two most important. Are you a bold enough leader to ask these tough questions (and hear the answers)?

What do you think – would these two questions help you find the right employee?


Having a good fit employee quit shortly after hiring hurts not only because of the wasted time and effort, but also because their resignation might have been prevented if their leader asked the following two questions during one of their interviews.

1. What am I going to say or do, intentionally or unintentionally, that would cause you to quit?

2. What will you say or do, intentionally or unintentionally, that would cause me to fire you?

Yes, those are very direct questions. They aren’t openers. As with any selling situation, an interview is a leader’s version of a sales meeting, order and set up matters.

Before asking those questions the following must happen:

• You built rapport with the candidate so they are comfortable answering questions that require them to share information that makes them vulnerable.

• You discussed with the candidate performance expectations both during their onboarding and after and they were comfortable with those expectations.

• You received their consent to ask direct questions by saying something like, “may I ask you a couple of direct questions?”

Once you’ve set up the “quit/fire” questions you must ask the “quit” question first because it shows vulnerability, a leader’s greatest strength, and it takes the pressure off your candidate.

When interviewing remember Sandler’s “rule of 3 plus,” which states “it often takes three or more questions to get to the truth.” Both the “quit” and “fire” questions are first questions which prompt further questions once your candidate responds.

For example:

• Interviewer – what would I say or do, intentionally or unintentionally, that would cause you to quit?

• Candidate – umm…. micromanaging.

• Interviewer – which means?

• Candidate – constantly asking me for updates on projects after we agree to a deadline.

• Interviewer – thanks for helping me understand. “Constantly” is how often?

• Candidate – more than twice per week.

• Interviewer – makes sense. So if we set a check-in schedule of once or twice per week to update me on a project, you’d be okay with that?

• Candidate – yes, I would.

Beware of a candidate who answers “nothing” to either question. “Nothing” is a major red flag that indicates a candidate will say whatever they need to get hired.

Unsaid expectations are unmet expectations. Create clarity around what would cause your relationship to end before hiring and you’ll lose fewer good fit employees.

To read the full article click here.

If you’re struggling to find the right employees, or you need help interviewing candidates, let us know. We can help.