Measuring Candidate Aptitude

Can They Do the Job? Measuring Candidate Aptitude

Published on June 4th, 2022


The biggest question you must answer regarding candidates for your positions is - are they able to do the job?

Generally, you must evaluate if they have a performance history that will let him or her function in the position and hopefully perform outstandingly.

Although a quick scan of their resume may rule out several applicants, you will always want to go beyond the resume to discern the truth about a candidate’s abilities.

In their current and most recent jobs, what were their basic responsibilities? What did they achieve in these positions? Has their experience and success prepared them adequately for the position you are attempting to fill?

Although you can certainly wait until you are interviewing to examine a candidate’s abilities, you can both weed out unqualified candidates and even discover a hidden gem in the screening process using AI-enabled evaluation tools and processes.

Regardless of if you are evaluating a candidate's abilities in the screening or interview process, you should start off with questions that are easy to ask and easy to answer. This helps the candidate to relax and warms them up for harder questions that get through to the hidden truth.

You will also want to start with questions about some of their previous positions rather than jumping right into their current position. The past is less threatening for candidates than the present, so beginning with questions about earlier jobs will get truthful, straightforward answers.

As you move to their present position, you will have established a pattern of honesty that is hard for the candidate to break and easier for you to identify if there is any deception in play.


Basic Responsibilities

The first sequence of questions examines the key areas of a candidate’s functional responsibilities. You will gain insight into their skills, specialized knowledge, and their relative strengths and weaknesses.

- When did you join the company?

- What was your title when you started?

- What was your starting salary

Together, these three questions help to demonstrate to the candidate that you intend to get specific answers to specific questions. Your candidates will realize that you expect and have the tools to get the facts.

Now you can go deeper:

- What were your three most important responsibilities in that job?

- What special skills or knowledge did you need to perform those duties?

These questions demand the candidate think deeply about their answers, as they now know you are about to extract not only their functional background but also get deep insights into the depth of their understanding of their role.

At this point, qualified and interested candidates will be an open book and be willing to share even more about their abilities, so you can be confident asking even more probing questions:

- What judgment calls did you have to make in these areas?

- What was the most important project you worked on at that job?

- What achievements are you most proud of in this particular area?

- How do you feel about your workload at that company?

- How did you divide your time among your major areas of responsibility?

Of course, you do not need to ask every question listed above. You simply want to probe deep enough to make an informed assessment of your candidate’s abilities as they relate to the basic responsibilities of your position.


Every job has important communication aspects that go beyond the basic responsibilities. You will want to assess each candidate’s ability to communicate their work with you as their hiring manager, their team members, and others with whom they interact,

- How important was communication and interaction with others on this job?

- What was more important in this job - written or verbal communication?

- What was the most complex report you ever had to write?

Next, you can examine how well they communicate with management:

- How many levels of management did you interact with?

- What was your communication about?

- What level of management are you most comfortable with?

- What levels are you most uncomfortable with?

- Tell me of a project where you interacted with different levels of people above and beneath you.

- How did you handle this in each direction?

These questions will reveal a great deal about your candidate’s maturity in working with different levels of the organization and reveal where they may need help to perform their responsibilities.


There are very few if any, positions that don’t require working effectively with others. You will want to assess your candidate’s abilities in this area as well.

- Who caused you the most problems in executing your tasks?

- Who were you most comfortable working with?

- Who were you least comfortable working with?

Again, you can go very deep in your candidate assessment by asking more probing questions:

- Have you made unpopular decisions?

- Whom did these decisions affect?

- Why did the situation arise?

- How long did it take you to make the decision?

- How do you feel you handled it?

- What did you learn from this event?

At this point, you should have a solid understanding of your candidate’s abilities. You can go further, of course, and gain insights into how they see how their abilities have affected their career:

- If you went to your boss for a raise, why would you be doing it?

- What will your boss say when you resign?

- Why are you leaving the company?

- Why have you changed jobs so frequently?

- What if you learned from your jobs that helped you grow?

- In what ways has your job prepared you to take on greater responsibilities?

Now you can wrap up and begin to measure their interest as you transition to evaluating your candidate’s willingness to do the job:

- Why are you interviewing with us?

- Why did you apply for this position?

- What do you know about our company?

- What do you expect out of this job?

- What do you like best about this job?

- What do you like least about this job?

- How would this job help you reach your long-term goals?

- What will your references say?

About HireQuotient

At HireQuotient, our AI-powered business skills assessments help you assess candidate abilities regarding their basic responsibilities, communication, teamwork, and much, much more to enable you to hire the right candidates better and faster.

Our chatbot-powered skill assessments are built around realistic work scenarios, ensuring candidates answer structured questions based on the provided data and generate insights into each candidate’s job-specific skills and business competencies.

In addition, our powerful, simple, and easy-to-use dashboards allow you to create customized workflows for effortless operations, view detailed analytics for making data-driven decisions, and seamlessly integrate into your existing candidate automation flow

Learn more about how HireQuotient can help your organization power up your people analytics. Just visit to schedule a demo today!

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