5 disturbing questions from a recruiter

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Updated on
Jan 25, 2021
Last published on
Dec 1, 2021
5 disturbing questions from a recruiter | Canada Talents - Blog

To prepare for an interview is to prepare for the unknown. Be aware that there is no way to predict what type of questions will be asked during the interview. The questions will vary accordingly to the job, industry, location, and others specificities...

Usually, interviewers start with ice breaker questions. It could be about the weather or your way to the interview. Then the interviewer might start with preliminary questions, you can refer to our post “What Questions Should You Expect During a Job Interview?” to get comfortable with those.

At some point, the recruiter will go a little deeper and ask you some unexpected questions. One thing that would help you prepare to answer challenging questions would be to place yourself in the hiring manager’s mindset: what if you were in them shoes?

What does the hiring manager expect from an interview?

Keep in mind that when you attend an interview, the hiring manager wants to hire you, he hopes that you will be the right fit for their position and company.

From a business perspective, interviewing and recruiting is time-consuming, the best option would be to go forward with your application. Be confident in your interview, remember that they choose you out of all the applicants to come in for an interview!

Still, the interviewer has to make sure you are the best person for the job. People are complicated, they are more than the sum of their expertise and experience and the manager needs to assess you as a whole through an interview.

The hiring manager’s objective is to gather information to predict how likely you are to perform in this position in the future. The hiring manager will have to decide if your skills (what you can do) and your will (what you want to do) would be a match with his position and company.

Here are a few examples of what could be asked during the interview:

The best manager you never had

“Describe the best manager you never had”

This could be followed by: “Describe the worst manager you ever had”

By asking this question, the hiring manager hopes to get an understanding of what constitutes a productive environment for you and whether if he can provide it to you.

Be honest, ideally, you want your future management to be as close as the idea you have of good management.


“Tell me about a time when you felt recognized for your contributions”.

This could be followed by What kind of rewards are most satisfying to you? How does this affect your performance?

A good answer will show the hiring manager emotional maturity and that you have an understanding of your contribution to the company.

If asked this question, share what makes you happy as a recognition. This would be a good tool for your future manager to know, and praise your good work in the future.

Talking about your last company

“What is your general impression of your last company?”

This would tell the hiring manager about your attitude towards management, your job, your peers… It could tell him if you would have either a good or bad attitude once a member of the team. One thing that recruiters have in mind is that people who complained about past employers will likely persist in the habit regardless of who is in charge.

Keep your answer as positive as possible!

Career Success

“What do you think it takes to build a successful career at a new company?”

When asking this kind of question, the hiring manager seeks an understanding of how realistic your commitment, focus, and team spirit to achieve your professional goals could be. How much effort will you put in to achieve your goals? Are those goals realistic?  
Some research or questions about the company and its organizational structure could help you see your next steps in this company. Most successful people know what they want and how to get there.

Professional growth

“What have you done to become more competent/effective in your work?”

This could be followed by: “What books have had the greatest effect on your business life?”

This would be the time to share about the steps you’ve taken to become better at work, to tell if you received any promotions... Talking about a book you’ve read would definitely be a plus. Reading is nearly always done on personal time, therefore it would demonstrate a commitment to your career.

Get ready with some references that could be interesting to share in an interview (depending on the position and type of company).

A good attitude

When going to the interview, your objective is to give the recruiter no alternative but to hire you. The recruiter will pay attention to your body language, tone of voice and the entire gestalt of your response.

What recruiters wouldn’t tell you: depending of the position and work atmosphere, they are a few types of people that hiring manager are looking to uncover; power-hungry people, people who never admit their mistake, people who blame others when things go wrong… The way you present yourself can tell a lot about you. Most hiring managers would be looking to hire manageable, positive team player.

Anyway, one advice to success in an interview would be to be yourself. An interview should be a win-win situation; the interviewer is looking for someone who would match with the position requirements and fit its company’s culture - and you should be looking for employment in a corporate culture that would fit you. This would be the ideal situation. Don’t lie.

To get more advice on how to prepare for your job interviews, don’t hesitate to come and meet our volunteers at our next CONNECTWorking. You can also become one of our members and schedule a Face-to-Face meeting to receive more tips for your job search.

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5 disturbing questions from a recruiter

Carole Auvinet has many years of recruitment experience both in France and Canada. She moved to Canada in 2016 and has been living in Toronto and Vancouver. She loves helping people understand cultural differences and reach their career goals.