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According to 87 percent of industry leaders, improved retention of employees will become a critical or high priority in the next 5 years.

But if hiring is your responsibility, you know how difficult it can be to narrow down a candidate who will be in it for the long run.

When every individual walking through your door is on their best behavior, rambling off rehearsed answers they found on Google, it’s a challenge to see the true colors of how one will fit with your culture.

Here’s our take. It’s time to throw out questions like:

“Tell me a little bit about yourself.”

“What’s your greatest weakness?”

“Sell me this pen.”

Let’s put those questions in a box and trade them in for a new set of questions. Questions that will guarantee the candidate’s facade will drop and you will be able to immediately get a sense for their work ethic, motivation, and character.

What are these questions, you ask? We cracked the code so you don’t have to. Here are five questions that will give you hyper-vision during your next interview.

Question 1: "Which is your favorite page from our website and why?"

Ask Instead Of:

“Why do you want to work at this company?”

What Will You Find Out?

An ideal candidate will be scouring your website before the interview for clues into your culture, structure, and core values.

(Bonus points if they checked your LinkedIn profile, too.)

Honestly, even without this question, you will probably be able to gauge whether or not a candidate did appropriate research.

But in this question lies the real test: Can they give you a detailed answer of which was their favorite page and why?

If they can, the benefits here will be twofold.

First, you’ll have an idea of what they’re interested in and what about your company resonates with them. You’ll know they took the time to get to know your company’s values. Secondly, you’ll get a general idea of the time individuals spend on the site and a clearer picture of what’s working on your site for recruitment purposes.

Red Flag:

Does the candidate stumble and seem unsure of what to say? Aside from showing they didn’t prepare well,  chances are they’re not very interested in the role and inquiring more about their commitment to the job may be a good route to take.

Question 2: "How have you used Linkedin during your job search"

Ask Instead Of:

“How did you find us?”

What Will You Find Out?

Asking them about how they’ve used LinkedIn in their job search is a great opportunity to learn about their outreach process.

Have they approached potential employers and turned these into interviews or calls? How much proactive networking have they done?

First, you’ll find out how serious they are about their job search.

Secondly, as an SDR, it’s very similar to what they will be doing on the job. You’ll begin to understand how comfortable they feel reaching out in a professional setting, and this will help you see if they will actually make the calls that need to be made.

Red Flag:

Their job search is limited to finding openings on job boards, applying online and being contacted for interviews, with no other networking taking place.

Question 3: "What is an SDR and why is the role important"

Ask Instead Of:

Why Do You Want This Job?

What You’ll Find Out:

Can they explain what an SDR is and the importance of the role? In this industry, turnover is high. We believe part of this turnover is due to miscommunication between interviewers and interviewees during the onboarding process.

Aligning and understanding the candidate’s expectations with the day to day reality of the job can help you understand if they’re a good fit for this job.

This can also be an opportunity to find out more about what the candidate finds exciting about the job. Keep in mind that this would be a great time to see what questions your candidate has about the position in addition to their understanding of it.

Don’t be afraid to talk about the realities of the day-to-day to make sure your candidate has the proper work ethic and professionalism to succeed.

Red Flag:

The candidate can tell you very little about what an SDR is, or their understanding of it is misguided. While they shouldn’t be punished for misunderstanding, it’s important to clarify their understanding to avoid that candidate quitting 3 months into the position as a result of that misunderstanding.

Question 4: "What are you going to do when you leave this interview to ensure you stand out from the crowd?"

Ask Instead Of:

“How Do You Overcome Challenges?”

What Will You Find Out:

This question can catch candidates off-guard and will require them to think quickly about what they’ll do. Pay attention to how they respond, their creativity and attitude and if they follow through after the interview. Following up is a key factor in an SDR’s success and seeing it in action can give you a better understanding of the candidate before moving forward in the hiring process.

Red Flag:

Although this is an atypical question, an SDR who struggles to come up with a strategy for follow-up on the spot might not be a great fit for the role.

Question 5: "What things do you spend time learning about in your free time?"

Ask Instead Of:

“Tell me a little bit about yourself.”

What You Will Learn:

Constant learning is invaluable on a personal and professional level. Candidates that are self-starters and seek to expand their skill set can bring a lot of positive momentum to your team.

Can they explain to you how they’ve gotten good at that skill? Did they have specific goals or a defined plan to improve their skill? A constant desire to improve and learn shows a good sense of self-awareness, a key quality top SDRs have.

Red Flag:

You immediately get the sense that they are not hungry for knowledge.


Interviewing is more than having a job description available with a checklist of skills and experiences to go over. Investing time on the right questions will help you uncover the details that go beyond traditional requirements and assess overall candidate quality to help you make the best hiring decisions.

Even armed with these questions, hiring can still be a challenge. There’s a general talent shortage across all positions and when you do find the talent you need, it’s unlikely they’ll stick around for much more than a year.

We’ve recently launched a tool that leverages the expertise of an innovative recruiting platform combined with the expertise of the world’s leading sales development firm.

Find your next top SDR with Alleyoop Hires. The only solution on the market to uncover hidden talent, digs beyond the traditional paper resume to determine what motivates your candidates and who has the grit to succeed at your company.  

Find out how the right team can help you maximize sales and get the right results.

See a demoRead DiscoverOrg Case Study