The Best Interview Question Ever

PictureWhat’s the best interview question to get behind the mask?

Gaining insight into a candidate by means of an interview is a fairly artificial activity, when you think about it. As a recruiter who’s been active for a long time, I’ve read lots of articles and books with titles like, “The 37 Must-Ask Interview Question,” or, “How to Ace Every Interview.” I have to admit, I’ve seen some real stumper interview questions that I’m sure were designed to burrow deep into the candidate’s psyche. (And that I’m glad I never got asked!).

But if I had to pick just ONE question to ask in an interview that will do more to uncover strengths, weaknesses, risks, and more, it would be a simple one.


  • Why did you go to this particular college?
  • Why do you like programming?
  • Why did you take the job at your current company, compared to other places you interviewed? (Oh, you didn’t┬áinterview at other companies? Why?)
  • Why do you want to change to a new company?
  • Why are you interested in what we’re doing here?
  • Why did you leave your last two jobs?
  • Why did your team make these particular architectural and design choices?
  • Why do you have a six-month gap in between jobs here?

  • Why didn’t you anticipate that particular outcome in your career?
  • Why will hiring you be a good decision for us?
  • Etc. Etc. Etc.

If you’re hiring someone, ask them, “Why?”
If you’re being interviewed, make sure you know “Why?”