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  • Writer's picturePGAA Tax

Quality Interview Questions, Quality Hires

The quality of interview questions that you use during the hiring process is a direct reflection of the company and your tax team. Typically we think of interview questions as a means to identify the most qualified and suitable candidate for the position. But expert interview questions set up the candidate to be at ease, so the candidate shares experience, skills, knowledge, and personality traits naturally. Getting the most out of an interview is a skill, and asking the right questions to elicit the information you seek needs forethought and a strategic interview structure. Pro-tip: think back to when you interviewed for your first role in this tax department. What questions did you remember? What resonated with you? What piqued your interest in the job?


Well-crafted interviews should feel like everyone is welcome to be themselves. Interviewers should open the floor with authenticity. This will put the applicant at ease and invite them also be authentic. Well-crafted behavior-based questions can help elicit detailed responses from candidates and provide valuable insights into their thought processes, problem-solving abilities, and how they handle difficult situations. The goal is to leave the interviewer with a sense of who that applicant is and how they would interact with the team in a work setting.


Also, the company is being interviewed too. Effective interview questions create a positive and engaging experience for the candidate, making them feel connected to the interviewers, the mission, and the company. If the interview questions are relevant, thought-provoking, and tailored to the job requirements, it makes the candidate feel valued. It demonstrates the company's commitment to finding the right person for the job. Make sure every applicant leaves feeling impressed by the quality of their interview experience. People remember how you make them feel more than anything else.


On the other hand, poorly designed interview questions or a disorganized interview can lead to a vague or incomplete interview process, making it challenging to gauge the candidate's qualifications and culture fit accurately. This can result in a poor hiring decision or bias if not everyone is on their A-game.


Another pro-tip, if you are lucky enough to have too many qualified candidates: Listen for indications you have a potential long-term hire on your hands(here are a few tells):

  • Job history: A candidate with a history of staying with their previous employers for several years is likely to continue to be a long-term hire. If they have a pattern of job-hopping, it may indicate that they are not committed to staying in a particular role or company. Be sure to ask why they moved jobs if they seem like a hopper.

  • Personal values: Candidates who share the same values as the company they are applying for are likelier to stay long-term. For example, if the company values environmental stewardship, a candidate who prioritizes that in their current life and work is likely to thrive in the company culture.

  • Career goals: Candidates with clear career goals and aspirations aligning with the company's mission and vision are more likely to stay long-term. If the company can offer opportunities for growth and development in line with the candidate's career goals, they are more likely to remain committed to the company.

  • Culture fit: Candidates who fit well with the company culture are likelier to stay long-term. If they feel comfortable with the work environment, their colleagues, and the company's values, they are more likely to stay committed to the company.

  • Skills match: Candidates with the necessary skills and experience are more likely to stay long-term. If they are a good fit for the position, they are more likely to be satisfied with their work and feel fulfilled in their role, making them more likely to stay with the company.

By asking great questions (especially ones where someone can tell a story), the candidate forgets they are being interviewed and feel like they are in a conversation. This will elicit more honest answers and give the interviewers a more authentic snapshot of who the applicant is. Good interviewers likewise are also honest and engaging. This helps the candidate mirror that energy and follow suit.


Best of luck on your hiring season to our network of tax professionals. Be in touch if you want to get A+ candidates on your interview schedule!

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