Ask These 7 Interview Questions to Find Your Next High Achiever

UPDATED: May 22, 2023
PUBLISHED: December 8, 2016

Having a solid team to support you and help move the company forward is one of the keys to success. But how do you find and retain top talent for your business?

Related: 6 Questions Hiring Managers Should Ask in a Job Interview

It starts by asking great questions during the job interview. Seven business leaders from around the world—members of YPO—reveal the qualities they look for when hiring new team members.

1. What’s your personal brand?

A potential hire’s online persona is important because it gives you a more complete picture of who they are—their passions and soft skills become more evident. It’s not just about the résumé anymore; it’s about your personal brand.

—Sandi Hokansson, president and country manager of Adecco

2. What is one thing that drives you to wake up in the morning?

Think of questions that are outside of the box to give you key insight into who this person is and what type of culture they will succeed in.

—Jilliene Helman, CEO of

3. Are you entrepreneurial?

Find out if they already are self-starters, motivated and driven, which are difficult skills to teach.

—Jessica Mah, CEO of inDinero 

4. When did you start working?

When you sacrifice play for work to achieve a goal or to get something you really want, such as your first car, that builds character muscle and work ethic. There is an undeniable correlation between someone who has always worked for what they have and “A” players in the workplace.

—Richard Skidmore, CEO of Timberlane

5. Do you like to get involved?

When I’m hiring at the senior level, the fact that someone has the right cultural fit, is a good communicator and likes to get involved is just as important as having the competency to do the job.

Nik Basran, managing director of The Authentic Food Company

6. Will you take ownership?

I’ve been blessed to have employees who treat the company like it’s their own, so when we go through changes, I know everyone has the company’s best interests at heart.

—Brett Rose, CEO of United National Consumer Suppliers

7. Will you challenge my ideas?

Most people hire those who let them stay in their comfort zone or don’t challenge their authority. But the only way to move forward is to ensure you hire people who are smarter and more knowledgeable than you are. They will challenge you to be a better you.

—Harjeev Kandhari, founder and CEO of Zenises

Related: 4 Qualities of Breakthrough Employees

YPO is the premier chief executive leadership organization in the world, representing a global community of leaders committed to the shared mission of becoming "Better Leaders Through Lifelong Learning and Idea Exchange." YPO today provides more than 24,000 members in more than 130 countries with access to extraordinary educational resources, alliances with leading institutions, and specialized networks designed to support their business, community and personal leadership. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people around the world and generate USD6 trillion in annual revenues. For more information, visit